By Ray Hamill — One local American Legion player has been particularly impressive early in the season, while two young local wrestlers continue to make a name for themselves well beyond the North Coast.
And all three are this week’s Humboldt Sports Athletes of the Week, sponsored by College of the Redwoods Athletics.
Fortuna senior Matt Letter lifted his game midway through the high school season and played an integral role in leading the Huskies to an historic Big 5 and Charlie Lakin Tournament championship double, and he has carried that form into the summer season.
He set the tone on opening weekend, both at the plate and on the mound, and has been a consistent presence for the team through the early going.
But this week he was nothing short of spectacular on the hill against the Humboldt Crabs, holding their star-power collegiate bats scoreless for six straight innings in relief and giving his team a chance to win a marathon 15-inning showdown.
The Eagles would lose the game 4-3, but Letter more than did his part.
And he wasn’t the only local standout this week.
Wrestlers Taylor Bell of Arcata and Colton Schaad of Del Norte were both crowned state champions in their brackets last weekend.
Schaad, a sophomore, won a state title in 16U Greco-Roman, while 12-year-old Bell completed a very impressive triple crown of youth wrestling state titles in the same year, following her recent Folkstyle and Greco-Roman titles with a Freestyle championship.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Humboldt Eagles Baseball
The outgoing Huskies senior threw a game-high 84 pitches in six innings and allowed just two hits and four walks, while holding the Crabs scoreless.
For more on his big performance, see Eagles push the Crabs all the way in 15-inning showdown …
This is the second time this year that the young Bell has been named one of our Athletes of the Week, but that’s what happens when you win four state titles (she also won a Greco-Roman state title in the boys bracket in April).
Her triple crown is a rare accomplishment and she follows in the footsteps of Fortuna’s Tyson Evanow, who achieved the same feat in 2016.
For more on Bell’s big week, see Local youth wrestler clinches rare triple crown of state titles …
Del Norte Wrestling
Schaad had an impressive winter on the mats for the Del Norte Warriors and he’s having an even more impressive spring for the Del Norte club team.
After qualifying for the 2023 US Marine Corps Nationals with a third-place finish in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman at the West Regional championships in March, Schaad followed that with a state championship in Greco-Roman last weekend.
He will try to keep a big year going when he travels for the nationals in North Dakota in July.
For more on his big week, see see Local youth wrestler clinches rare triple crown of state titles …