Fortuna girls get back on track ahead of NCS playoffs

File photo – Kylee Fennell

The Fortuna Huskies may have rediscovered their form at an opportune time.

After an up-and-down season on the softball fields, the Fortuna girls closed out the regular season on a high note with a 4-2 win over Eureka on Friday.

And they did it by doing the things that had made them successful early run the year.

The Huskies began the season as one of the hottest teams on the North Coast and won their opening seven games, including a pair of impressive victories over a Hoopa team that would go on to win 18 straight games.

The Fortuna girls, however, were unable to carry that form into the Big 5 where they would lose their opening seven games, including a tough one-run loss to a previously winless Arcata team.

But that loss seemed to spark them and they rediscovered their winning ways late in the campaign with four wins in their final six games, including Friday’s big victory over the Loggers.

With the win, the Huskies improved to 10-9 on the season and they will find out their North Coast Section playoff seed and opponent on Saturday (not Sunday, as previously reported on Humboldt Sports).

The biggest difference late in the season, according to head coach Eric Helms, was playing fundamentally sound defense.

“Our defense was outstanding all game long,” Helms said of the season finale. “Our kids made every play that we needed and came ready to play.

“We’r finishing how we started right now. We’re back on track and hopefully we can carry that into the playoffs.”

Isabel Sanchez

Impressive senior Kylee Fennell pitched all seven innings for the win, allowing three hits and three walks and striking out six.

She also led the way at the plate and was 2-for-3 with a double.

Trailing 0-1 in the second, the Huskies scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning and that ultimately proved to be the difference.

Fennell led off the inning with a double and the Huskies then loaded the bases with back-to-back bunt singles by Zoe Dewberry and Myra Hayes, before a Mariah Smith base hit tied the game.

After a runner was tagged out at home plate on a Faith Helms fielder’s choice, back-to-back walks to Mariah Bravo and Isabel Sanchez scored two more runs to give the Fortuna girls a lead they would not relinquish.

Myra Hayes

Influential senior Libby Johnston also had a triple and an RBI in the win. 

Kira Morris pitched a complete game for the Loggers and also was 2-for-3 at the plate, while teammate Maeghan Hampton was 1-for-3.

The loss for the Loggers secured the Big 5 championship outright for the Del Norte Warriors, who were tied with Eureka for the league lead coming into the final two games.

Categories: Eureka, Fortuna, Softball

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