Seven H-DN teams to play local NCS playoff games this weekend

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Hoopa’s Nae-Rew Martin and her teammates will play at Fortuna on Friday evening.

By Ray Hamill — Ten H-DN teams remain alive in the North Coast Section baseball and softball playoffs heading into the weekend action, including seven playing here on the North Coast.

And that includes a big all-local showdown in the Division-4 softball bracket, with the Huskies welcoming Hoopa to Fortuna for a Friday evening quarterfinal.

The two H-DN rivals will be meeting for the third time this season, with both previous matchups going to the Huskies early in the season.

The Warriors, however, have been one of the hottest teams in the area since then and would go on to win 18 straight games after those two season-opening losses.

Their only other losses this season both came by just one run against McKinleyville and Eureka and they are 19-4 heading into Friday’s big showdown.

Despite being moved up to Division 4 this season after their recent run of success in the section playoffs, the Hoopa girls have not skipped a beat playing against far larger schools.

They opened this year’s playoffs with a comfortable 10-0 win over Kennedy in five innings on Tuesday while stretching their NCS postseason winning streak to seven straight games.

The Huskies are also coming off a lopsided win in their playoff opener after beating Hercules 28-3 on Tuesday.

It has been an up-and-down season for the Fortuna girls, who opened the spring with seven straights wins, only to then lose seven straight in the Big 5.

However, they have gotten back on track recently with five wins in their past seven games to give them some momentum heading into the playoffs.

Fortuna’s Isabel Sanchez

The Huskies are seeded No. 4 in the bracket, one spot ahead of Hoopa, and one of those teams is guaranteed to play in next week’s semifinals.

First pitch on Friday is set for 5 p.m.

Two other local teams will also play in an NCS quarterfinal on Friday, with No. 6 Eureka traveling to No. 3 Moreau Catholic in Division 3 and No. 5 St. Bernard’s playing at No. 5 Head-Royce in Division 5.

Eureka defeated De Anza 10-0 in Wednesday’s playoff opener, while the SB girls had an opening-round bye.

Rounding out the local contingent still alive in the NCS softball playoffs, Del Norte is seeded No. 2 in Division 4 and will open at home on Saturday against No. 7 St. Patrick-St. Vincent.

Del Norte’s Ethan Thomas

Five other local teams will be in action in the NCS baseball playoffs this weekend, all of them on Saturday.

After a high-scoring 15-10 win at Salesian in their opening-round game, the Arcata Tigers will return home to host Healdsburg at noon.

The Tigers are the No. 2 seeds, while No. 11 Healdsburg will make a second trip to Northern Humboldt in just four days after opening the postseason with an 8-4 win at McKinleyville.

Also in Division 4, No. 1 seed Fortuna will play No. 8 Piedmont at Newburg Park at 7 p.m.

The history-making Huskies are looking to add an NCS title to the Big 5 and Charlie Lakin Tournament double they have already secured.

Rounding out the strong local contingent in the Division-4 bracket, No. 7 Del Norte will travel to play No. 2 St. Joseph Notre Dame in Alameda on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

After ending a six-year playoff victory drought with a 4-0 win over Fort Bragg on Wednesday, the Warriors will try to make it two postseason wins in four days when they take on the Pilots.

Two Little 4 teams will host a semifinal on Saturday in the eight-team Division-6 bracket.

Top-seeded St. Bernard’s will play No. 4 Point Arena at Crusader Field at 1 p.m., while No. 2 Ferndale will host No. 3 San Domenico at noon.

The Crusaders took care of business in their playoff opener with a 13-1 win over Potter Valley on Wednesday, while the Cats topped Tomales 11-0.

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