Fortuna Huskies sweep Del Norte as regular season winds down; Ferndale girls sweep St. Bernard's; boys come up short

Mark Lourenzo

Beacon Correspondent

The Fortuna Huskies took advantage of home field surroundings and the boys baseball team swept the Del Norte Warriors on Friday afternoon. The Huskies have enjoyed their recent home stand as the Del Norte games were the third straight the teams have played in friendly confines. The Lady Huskies, also at home, had to settle for a split of their double header against the Warriors but maintained their second place standing in league. This midweek (after our deadline) Fortuna will play host to the Arcata Tigers for their final home games of the regular season, then finish up the league schedule at Eureka on May 15. The Ferndale Wildcats girls softball team earned a very important double-header sweep of the St. Bernard's Crusaders on Saturday afternoon. The wins put the Lady Cats in the driver's seat for the league title with just a handful of games left on the schedule. The Ferndale boys were not so lucky when they faced St. Bernard's on the diamond; the Crusaders swept the Cats to maintain the top spot in league.

Game one on Saturday saw the Huskies come from behind in their final at bat to win 3-2 over the Warriors. Fortuna's Zach Zerlang pitched a complete game for the win going 7 innings and giving up just 6 hits and 2 earned runs. The Husky defense played well behind Zerlang as they turned the plays and committed no errors in the game. Nikki Gardner was the offensive star as he went 3 for 4 and his seventh-inning hit drove in the winning runs. Chandler Wilson also had a pair of hits in the victory. Game two saw the Huskies spot the Warriors a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the third inning. The Husky offense came to life and chased the Del Norte starting pitcher while scoring 7 runs in the third frame, later adding 3 insurance runs in the fifth inning. A solid effort in relief got Fortuna's Riley Jones the win as he went 5 and 1/3 innings to finish the game. Senior Kody Ables went 2 for 3 driving in 4 runs, Coleton Betts went 2 for 2 with a double and 2 RBIs.

The Lady Huskies split their two games with the Warriors on the same Friday afternoon. Del Norte nipped Fortuna in the opener by a score of 5-4, the Huskies outhit the Warriors 10 to 6. However, timely hitting and three defensive errors hurt the effort. Courtney Christensen went 2 for 4 with a double and 3 RBIs, Morgan Harwood and Pyper Daniels each had a pair of hits in the loss. The Huskies came back in the nightcap behind a complete game effort in the pitching circle from Harwood. Harwood scattered 6 hits in the game while registering 6 strikeouts. Kait Sigler hit 2 for 3 with a homer and two RBIs, Christensen hit for a stellar 3 for 3 with a double, triple and 2 RBIs. Just prior to our deadline, the Huskies drove across the bridge to visit the Ferndale Wildcats on Tuesday evening and came away with a nice 6-2 win.

It was a competitive game for the two cross-valley rivals, but the Huskies put runners on base nearly every at-bat, scoring runs in four of the seven innings played. Pitcher Harwood picked up the win with a complete game effort, giving up just 3 hits while racking up 8 strikeouts. Fortuna senior Sigler went 3 for 4 at the plate with two doubles and a triple. Christensen hit a homer and drove in 3 RBIs. Emily Lourenzo, Harwood, Merritt Schoenhofer, Daniels and Jasmine VonSavoye each added a base hit in the win. Ferndale's Meagan Earley took the loss but went seven strong innings giving up 9 hits and striking out 3 batters. Earley also smashed a sixth-inning home run and Taryn DeMIlle hit a RBI double in the first inning. Taylor Miranda got the Wildcats other base hit and the game was close enough, but a couple of bobbled balls by the Wildcats defense allowed extra bases that led to extra runs by the Huskies.

The big news for the Ferndale Wildcats softball team was their double header sweep at St. Bernard's on Saturday afternoon. Game one could have gone either way as the Crusaders jumped to a slim advantage early on. St. Bernard's pushed across runs in the first and third innings while Ferndale answered with a single run in their half of the second frame on Ashli Sines' solo home run. Otherwise it was a pitching duel between Ferndale's Earley and St. Bernard's Haylie Del Grande. The Wildcats put runners on base in the fourth inning and two runs scored on a passed ball, wild pitch combination by the Crusaders. Besides the Sines blast, Ferndale's Bailey Collings, Hannah Pichulo and Emma Gomes each stroked a base hit. Wildcat pitcher Earley threw a complete game three-hitter with 7 strikeouts and Ferndale earned their 3-2 win.

Game two proved to be just as close until the Wildcats blew it out in the late innings. The Cats broke through to score two runs in the third inning and led until the Crusaders pushed 3 runs across in the bottom of the fifth frame to lead 4-3 with two innings to play. The Wildcats answered with 7 runs in the final two innings to put away their 10-4 win. Ferndale's Maci Branstetter went 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBIs. DeMille also went 2 for 4 with 2 runs batted in. Sines finished game two going 3 for 4 as did Kelsey Meyers. Gomes followed suit with a 2 for 4 effort and 3 RBIs. As we go to press, the Lady Cats stand at 13-6 overall with a 6-2 league record and will play the Crusaders once again on Tuesday in a pick-up game added to the schedule in Hoopa's absence.

The Ferndale Wildcat boys lost both games of their double header as they paid visit to St. Bernard's. The Crusaders' wins kept them on top of the Little 4 standings. Ferndale starting pitcher Chris Catana had the Crusaders on the ropes through five innings and Ferndale led 3-2 going into the final at-bats, but the Crusaders broke through with timely hits and the Wildcat defense made some untimely errors to result in the 7-3 setback. Catana, Zach Rocha, Cody Allen, Dakota Ward, Wes Shinn, Joey Fuller and Coleman Sturdevant each came through with a base hit, Catana's was a double and Fuller's drove in 2 runs. Game two was all St. Bernard's as the Crusaders hammered out a 9-0 win. Rocha and Wyatt Standley both went 1 for 3 at the plate and underclassman Mason Gossien threw 6 innings giving up 10 hits while striking out four batters.

Photo caption:

Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

Fortuna Husky third baseman Max Betts readies a throw to first base for the out after handling a hard grounder from a Del Norte batter. The Huskies came from behind in both games of a double header for the sweep of the Warriors on Friday.