By Ray Hamill — The Arcata Tigers will play for a third North Coast Section championship in just six postseasons this weekend after a thrilling victory over Del Norte in Wednesday’s semifinal.
The two Big 5 rivals faced off for the fourth time this season in a highly-entertaining showdown at Arcata High, with the Tigers taking a 2-1 victory on a walk-off base hit.
Playing in front of a large crowd at the new Arcata field, which was hosting just its second playoff game, the four pitchers on both teams combined to allow just nine hits.
Ty Ghisetti reached base on an error to lead off the bottom of the seventh and was advanced to second on a well-executed Miles Oliver sac bunt.
Wilson Medina and Chase Coleman were both then hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out, before Anthony Ebert delivered a clutch base hit past second base to drive in the winning run.
“It was a great high school game,” Arcata head coach Troy Ghisetti said. “I thought that all four pitchers pitched exceptionally well.”
Errors played a part in both Arcata runs and Daniels allowed four Tigers reach on a hit-by-pitch.
“Our hitters stayed within the game plan and they put the ball in play,” Troy Ghisetti said. “And it worked for us.”
The game-winning hit was one of two on the day for the impressive Ebert, with Medina, Ben Lukens and Cedar Cline each also getting a hit.
“I thought Ebert had some really controlled swings,” the Arcata coach said. “I thought the whole team had some really controlled swings.”
Cline got the start on the mound and threw four strong scoreless innings while allowing just one hit and one walk.
Mager threw two innings in relief, giving up one unearned run on two hits and no walks and striking out three, before Lukens came in for the final inning and got the win.
The impressive sophomore gave up one hit and no walks and struck out two.
For Del Norte, catcher Cooper Maxwell finished 2-for-3, while Cole Blackburn and Willie Bommelyn each was 1-for-3.
The Tigers will play Justin Siena in Saturday’s championship game at the Arcata Ball Park on Saturday evening after the Braves defeated Piedmont in the other semifinal.
Game time has yet to be finalized.
Troy Ghisetti and the Tigers won the program’s first-ever NCS championship in 2016 and added a second section crown just three years later.
There were no playoffs in 2020 or 2021.