Warriors step up to the challenge in baseball and softball

File photo – The Del Norte girls celebrate a recent win at McKinleyville.

Thursday was a good day for Del Norte sports.

With a pair of victories over the Arcata Tigers in softball, the Warriors clinched at least a share of the Big 5 title, while the Del Norte boys split a baseball doubleheader at Arcata to help their push for a North Coast Section playoff berth.

The Del Norte girls won 4-1 and 9-1 to complete a series sweep of the Tigers and closed out the Big 5 with a record of 10-2.

The Eureka Loggers can join them as co-champs if they can sweep their final league doubleheader at Fortuna on Friday afternoon.

If the two teams are co-champs, they will face off in a tiebreaker game at Washington Elementary in Eureka on Monday at 4 p.m. to decide which gets the league’s automatic NCS berth and top seed for next week’s Charlie Lakin tournament.

The Del Norte boys, meanwhile, took a second straight series in league play on the way to closing out the regular season on a roll.

One day after beating Arcata 11-3 in Crescent City to open the series, the Warriors dropped game one on Thursday 9-8 but bounced back to take the rubber game 4-1.

With the split, the Warriors closed out the regular season with a record of 12-11-1 (5-7 in league) and with a better than .500 mark they are guaranteed to be playoff eligible.

But they had to battle.

After starting league play 0-5, the Del Norte boys went 5-2 down the stretch, and they needed a victory in their final game to finish above .500.

“I was real proud of the boys for not allowing the letdown in the first game to get to us,” head coach Brandon Coborn said. 

Photo by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports – Del Norte’s Ethan Thomas in action at Arcata on Thursday.

The Warriors are No. 7 in Division 4 of the NCS, according to MaxPreps, and should comfortably make the playoff field.

Arcata came into the week ranked No. 1 in the division, with Fortuna No. 3 and McKinleyville No. 6, giving the Big 5 a big presence in the bracket.

“We took two games from the top-ranked team in our division, so we’re pretty confident (of making the playoffs,” Coborn said.

Seniors Willie Bommelyn and Ethan Thomas led the way at the plate in Thursday’s opener and each was 3-for-4 with a double.

Bommelyn also had two RBIs and a run, while Thomas had an RBI and a run, while also pitching 1.1 innings in relief and striking out three.

Cooper Maxwell, Cole Blackburn and Brody Mattz each also had a hit in the loss.

Thomas pitched a complete game for the win in game two, giving up just one earned run on four hits and a walk and striking out five.

Collin Tromble and Saxon Taylor each was 2-for-4 with a double, with Taylor quickly getting back on track after seeing a nine-game hitting streak come to an end in the opener.

Bommelyn, Thomas and Mattz each also had a hit.

“The first game was an emotional game, but we were able to stay composed for the second game,” Coborn said. “Thomas did a great job on the hill, and in the second game we did much better job taking care of the baseball.”

Thomas was phenomenal against a very good and deep Arcata lineup over the two days, giving up just one earned run in 9.2 innings.

Taylor also has impressed for the team down the stretch and “has been our unsung guy,” according to Coborn, while teammate Sylas Sampels has been particularly effective on the bases and “helps our offense flow,” the coach said.

After getting in a full schedule of 24 games despite the challenges the weather presented this spring, the Del Norte boys will now have close to two weeks off before opening the NCS playoffs.

The NCS seeds will be announced a week from Sunday.

Categories: baseball, Del Norte, Softball

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