Ferndale Lady Cats put unbeaten record on the line; Fortuna Husky baseball off to a 5-1 start

Mark Lourenzo

Beacon Correspondent

The Ferndale Wildcats girls varsity softball team will put their unblemished 4-0 record on the line this weekend when they participate in the St. Bernard Crusaders Tournament at Washington Park in Eureka. Up first for the Lady Cats will be the Hoopa Warriors on Friday at 5:15 PM. To date, the Cats have yet to be tested as they have cruised through their four wins by scoring 54 runs, to the opponents' 4 runs scored. Ferndale's Meagan Earley has looked to be in midseason form in the pitcher's circle and the Cats have been hitting the ball hard this spring. In their recent 12-2 win over Fort Bragg, Wildcats hitters Maci Branstetter went 2 for 2 with 2 RBIs, Taryn DeMille and Emma Gomes each had 2 RBIs and Earley batted in 3 runs going 2 for 4 with a homer run. Potential games on Saturday could be versus Big 5 teams as Arcata and Fortuna wait in the wings as possible opponents in the tournament.

Another hot team this spring has been the Fortuna Husky boys baseball team. Off to 5-1 start to their season, the Huskies earned an important 3-1 win versus St. Bernard's last week. Fortuna lefty Bryant Head was lights out on the pitchers mound as he allowed just 2 hits in a complete game performance. Zach Zerlang, Max Betts, Nick Gardner and Daniel Teasley each batted important hits in the win. It is the first time in close to a decade that Fortuna has beaten St. Bernard's on the diamond. St. Bernard's will have a chance to avenge the recent defeat as the two teams will meet again today on the Crusaders' home field. Looking past this week Fortuna head coach Tyson Fisher said league will be tough. "Sometimes we play three games in a week so the pitching has to hold up. But we will be right there," he said.

The Ferndale Wildcats baseball team earned two solid wins Saturday down at Potter Valley. The small schools matchup saw a tight, low scoring contest in game one of a double-header. Ferndale's Chris Catana pitched a complete game, giving up just 5 hits while striking out 6 opposing batters. Catana also created havoc on the base paths as he had 4 stolen bases and scored 3 runs in the 5-3 win for the Wildcats. The nightcap was a wild affair as the Wildcats hung on for a 20-14 victory. Joey Fuller was the winning pitcher in relief, throwing three scoreless innings. Fuller also went 4 for 5 at the plate with two doubles and five RBIs. All in all a good road trip for the ever-improving Wildcats. "The kids played hard and worked through some early mistakes, they are continuing to get better each game," stated head coach Justin Andersen earlier this week.

The Fortuna Lady Huskies took on some tough competition over this past weekend at the Anderson Tournament. Playing four games in two days, the Huskies made up for some lost time in what has otherwise been a light schedule. The weather at the tournament was cold and windy, especially on Saturday. Fortuna lost their opening game 5-2 to opponent, River Valley High out of Yuba City. Fortuna pitcher Morgan Harwood was solid from the circle allowing just 4 hits. However, the Huskies were short of hits themselves collecting just 3 base hits, though Courtney Christiansen had 2 of the 3, a double and a triple. Two bad hop balls in the outfield in the late innings cost the Husky defense in what was otherwise a closely contested affair.

Game two saw the Huskies play better only to face a very good team from Enterprise High School. Courtney Christiansen pitched a complete game giving up just 5 hits, but once again the Huskies were outdone at the plate. Enterprise bunched together timely hits and walks and scored all 3 runs in the third inning for a 3-1 victory. Fortuna got hits from Kaitlyn Sigler and Emily Lourenzo but eight Huskies batters went down on strikes in the contest.

Game three saw Fortuna earn a tidy 4-1 win over Willow High School. Morgan Harwood threw a complete game allowing just 4 hits. Great Husky defensive plays came from Kait Sigler, Pyper Daniels, Merritt Schoenhofer and Nicole Tompkins. Schoenhofer had 2 hits with an RBI and Sigler stroked a single, triple and had two RBIs. In the final game of the weekend, Fortuna faced local foe, the Eureka High Loggers. In a game that saw superb defense and numerous outstanding fielding plays by both teams, Eureka punched through for a 2-0 win. Courtney Christiansen threw another solid game giving up just 6 hits and the game was scoreless until the seventh and final inning when the Loggers pushed across the pair of runs. Fortuna's Callie Hayes, Victoria Meyer joined Christiansen and Daniels in belting out hits. But overall, it was a tough loss for the Lady Huskies.

Photos by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

1. Ferndale pitcher Meagan Earley and the Wildcats are off to a strong start to the season, with a record of 4-0 after their 12-2 road win at Fort Bragg on Saturday.

2. Fortuna High starting pitcher Riley Jones watches his offering sail to the plate as the Huskies played host to the Ferndale Wildcats Saturday at Newburg Park.