By Ray Hamill — They may have lost out in the race for both the Big 5 and Charlie Lakin Tournament this spring, but the Arcata Tigers saved their best for last and enjoyed a thrilling playoff run.
The Tigers exceeded expectations when they challenged for the league title all the way to final day of the regular season, and they followed that with an impressive run to the Lakin final.
But they were just getting warmed up, and these players would go on to bring their fans on a playoff trip none of them will easily forget.
After posting back-to-back walk-off wins on the way to winning a North Coast Section championship, they carried that momentum into the NorCal state playoffs, where they took their opening game on the road once again in dramatic fashion, winning 5-3 in eight innings at Chico.
The thrilling ride finally came to an end in the Division-III NorCal semifinals at Central Catholic in Modesto on Thursday night, but the Tigers enjoyed a magical run and were the last remaining local team still playing this year.
And that makes them our Team of the Week, an award sponsored by College of the Redwoods Athletics.
But the accolades don’t end there for the team.
Our Athlete of the Week is Arcata sophomore Wilson Medina, who capped another big season with the walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh inning of last Saturday’s championship game against Justin-Siena at the Arcata Ball Park.
The clutch Medina completed a brilliant comeback from a 4-0 deficit with a base hit to left center that scored Will Mager for the winning run after the senior had reached base on a clutch game-tying double to left field.
All in all, it’s safe to say it was a good week to be an Arcata Tiger.
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Arcata Baseball, Sophomore
Medina won’t easily forget this year’s NCS championship and the role he played in it.
“Medina has been huge for us all year,” Arcata head coach Troy Ghisetti said of the talented sophomore. “His bat is getting better and better and he’s got a bright future in baseball.”
TEAM OF THE WEEK
The walk-off base hit in the championship game was remarkably the second in just four days for the Tigers, who also had beaten Del Norte 2-1 in the section semifinal when another sophomore, Anthony Ebert, delivered in the clutch to break a late 1-1 tie.
“That’s been the character of our team all year,” Ghisetti said. “They find a way to grind it. You’re not out of the game until the 21st out.
“These guys never counted themselves out.”
For more on Medina and the exciting Tigers, see Tigers secure NCS title with another walk-off win …