Fortuna Huskies look to regroup after Eureka losses; Ferndale Lady Cats look to move up in league standings

Mark Lourenzo

Beacon correspondent

The Fortuna Huskies boys baseball and girls softball teams will be looking to regroup and get back to the win column after absorbing double header, home field losses to the Eureka Loggers the end of last week. A good number of fans turned out for the games in hopes that the Huskies would challenge for the Big 5 lead on the diamond. The girls games in particular had a lot at stake as both the Lady Huskies and the Loggers were unbeaten in league coming in, much to the dismay of the home crowd it was the Loggers that emerged on top of the heap. Meanwhile, on the other side of the river, the Ferndale Wildcats softball team is currently sporting a modest three game win streak. After some disappointing losses, the Lady Cats are back to winning form just in time as the regular season is down to just a handful of league games. The Wildcat boys dropped a pair of games down at South Fork last Saturday but are looking to rebound against league leading St. Bernard's this Saturday.

The Fortuna girls softball team had every reason to be confident coming into their double header matchup against the Eureka Loggers last Friday afternoon. The Lady Huskies were riding a 10-game win streak and had not lost a game in more than a month. On the other hand, the Eureka Loggers were also on their own hot streak and the two teams met last week with Big 5 supremacy at stake. Game one saw Fortuna pitcher Morgan Harwood keep the Eureka offense at bay and kept pace with Eureka pitcher Lauren Stone through five innings. Fortuna scored first with two runs in the bottom of the 1st inning, Eureka came alive with three runs to take the lead after their third at-bat. It was the sixth inning when everything came undone for the Huskies.

The Logger hitters broke through against Harwood and Eureka scored three runs in the sixth and six more in the seventh and final inning. Eureka pitching meanwhile kept Fortuna off the board since the first inning, final score was 12-2. Fortuna catcher Callie Hayes went 1 for 3 with a homer and batted in both Husky runs. Several others came through with base hits as the Huskies totaled seven hits, but four errors by the defense did not help the cause. Game two saw the Huskies send pitcher Courtney Christensen out to get the job done, but the nightcap was a mirror image to game one.

Christensen did a stellar job holding the Loggers down in the early innings. The Fortuna offense scored a run in the third frame to answer Eureka's single run and the game was even after three innings. Even after the Loggers scored another single run in the fourth inning, it was anyone's ballgame at the midway point. Once again the Logger bats made all the noise in the latter innings as Eureka scored eight runs in the final three innings and pulled away for the 10-2 win. Fortuna's Kait Sigler went 3 for 3 with a double, Christensen boomed one of her signature home runs and Hayes had another RBI, but it was not nearly enough. The Fortuna defense again committed four errors. The Huskies will look to regroup on their home field as they host McKinleyville for a single game this midweek, then host Del Norte for a double header this Friday afternoon.

The Ferndale Lady Cats softball team is also a group on the rebound, as they now sport a modest three game win streak. It was an eye-opening experience when the Wildcats were swept in a league double header at Hoopa on April 20. Those losses were followed by a lopsided loss versus the Fortuna Huskies three days later. Since then it has been determined that the Hoopa Warriors have exceeded the allowed number of games played and the Wildcat have new life in their aspirations for a league title. Ferndale swept a double header at South Fork this past Saturday and this just past Monday afternoon the Cats pounded out a big win against McKinleyville.

Down at South Fork the Wildcats jumped out to a 7-0 lead over the Cubs in game one. South Fork to their credit, came storming back and tied the game in the fifth inning. The Cats dug deep and regained the lead in the next inning and hung on for the 8-7 win. Ferndale pitcher Meagan Earley earned the win in a complete game effort. Earley as well as Emma Gomes and Hannah Pichulo each had a multi-hit game. The Wildcats were much more in control in game two as pitcher Meagan Earley came back out and registered seven strikeouts for the complete game winning effort. Wildcat Taryn DeMille hit a two-run homer in the second inning and Maci Branstetter had two hits for Ferndale. Final score read 12-0 in a much more determined result by the Cats.

This past Monday the Wildcats hosted the McKinleyville Panthers for a single game. The result was a resounding 10-1 final score. The Cats hit the ball hard, made some routine defensive plays as well as some not-so routine plays. Ferndale pitcher Meagan Earley threw a complete game that came very close to a shutout. The Panthers broke through in the fifth inning with a couple of hard-hit balls to get on the board. Earley came back out for the final two innings and shut the Panthers down in order. Ferndale right fielder Katrina Senestraro made two circus catches of fly balls that easily could have been hits for McKinleyville.

Ferndale head coach Jeremy Griffith is seeing his team come together as the regular season winds down. "Yeah we have some younger players getting the experience, our veteran players are getting good at-bats and the defense is coming around," said Griffith after the Monday victory. "We are in a situation that we control our own destiny, we win out and we win league, if not then we're going to need some help," described Griffith regarding the Hoopa situation. The Wildcats have a double header at St. Bernard's on Saturday to determine who takes control in the Little 4 league standings.

Photo caption:

Photo by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

Fortuna pitcher Morgan Harwood puts a little extra effort into a pitch as the Lady Huskies hosted the Eureka Loggers on Saturday with first place on the line. Harwood and the Huskies had every reason to be confident coming into the double header as the team rode a 10-game winning streak. However, nothing went according to plan and Fortuna dropped both games by scores of 12-2 and 10-2.