The Arcata Tigers won in dramatic fashion for the third time in a week on Tuesday, as the NorCal baseball and softball playoffs got under way.
The Tigers, who are seeded No. 6 in the Division-III baseball bracket won at No. 3 Chico, 5-3 in eight innings.
However, the other three local teams in action all lost their opening games.
In Division-IV softball, No. 6 Del Norte fell 2-0 at No. 3 Capital Christian.
The win for Arcata sets up a semifinal showdown at No. 2 Central Catholic in Modesto on Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m.
The extra-innings victory over a good offensive Chico team was the third exciting showdown in a week for the Tigers, who were coming off back-to-back walk-off victories in the North Coast Section playoffs.
Noah York had what would prove to be the game-winning base hit in the top of the eighth inning.
With one out, Finn Warner and Ben Lukens got on base with back-to-back walks and they both advanced on a passed ball.
And that would prove to be enough for pitcher Will Mager, who threw three strong innings in relief for the win on the mound.
The Tigers led by a run on two occasions early in the game, but fell behind 3-2 on a Chico double and a home run in the bottom of the fourth.
But the Arcata boys have made a habit of battling back and that was the case once again when they scored the tying run in the top of the seventh.
“This team is gritty,” Arcata head coach Troy Ghisetti said. “They’re just scrapping for everything and they are finding ways to win. They never give up, even after the home run they kept fighting.”
The Arcata pitching also played a key role against a loaded Chico lineup, with Cedar Cline getting the start and throwing five strong innings.
Cline allowed four hits and three walks and struck out six.
Mager led the way offensively for the Tigers and finished 3-for-4, with Warner, Cline and Ty Ghisetti each also getting a hit.
The Tigers will travel straight to Modesto from Chico for Thursday’s big game.
The SB boys, meanwhile, gave up 13 runs in the bottom of the third inning of their game.
Tyler Maples finished 2-for-2 in the loss, while Tyler Hinrichs was 1-for-2, as the Crusaders closed out their season 20-9.
“We were able to win 20 games, we won our league and we won a North Coast Section championship,” head coach Matt Tomlin said. “I’m very proud of our players.”
The Wildcats, meanwhile, battled back from an early four-run deficit and took the lead against Etna with five runs in the top of the fourth.
The home team, however, quickly re-established their lead and held a 9-5 advantage going into the seventh.
The Cats would rally once again with three runs in the final inning, but ultimately fell just short.
Levi Dixon threw a complete game on the mound and pitched well, according to head coach Justin Andersen, but defensive mistakes proved costly for the team.
“Basically we did not do a good job of backing our pitcher,” the coach said. “He kept us in the game.
“But I was proud of the way the kids battled. Their energy level was good the whole game even though we made mistakes. We just ran out of outs.”
Just two of the Etna runs were earned, as Dixon allowed five hits and two walks and struck out six.
Jonah Anderson led an impressive Cats performance at the plate and was 4-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and a run, while Tanner Pidgeon went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs and two RBIs.
Freshman Prescott Langer also made some noise at the plate and finished 1-for-3 with a double and a run and drove in three runs.
Parker Prior, Jarret Smith and Thomas Fergison each also had a base hit for Ferndale.