Warriors Face Crusaders on Baseball Diamond

Warrior Gary Juan tosses his bat and heads to first base during the home game double-header against the St. Bernard’s Crusaders on Saturday, April 5.

By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune

Hoopa Valley High School’s Warriors battled Eureka’s St. Bernard’s Crusaders on the baseball field in a home game double header of Saturday, April 5.

The young team, with twice as many freshmen as seniors, and more sophomores than juniors, continues to face off against more experienced teams, and deliver performances that hold promise for future seasons.

Hoopa’s team played their hearts out and looked to be just moments away from great play several times during the opener on Saturday, when errors mixed with unlucky breaks threw things off.

Warriors Manuel Cyr and Justin Van Landingham went charging fast towards an incoming ball knocked their way by

St. Bernard’s Nolan. Both were on target to intercept the ball when they collided at full speed and the ball hit the field a foot away.

Coach Page Matilton said, “They should have called it, but neither one hesitated to hustle for the ball.”

The first game of the day ended with a 14-0 victory for the Crusaders, but after a short break the warriors came back to the field warmed up and determined to show they could do better.

The closing game’s first inning was Relief Pitcher Gary Juan’s time to shine.

Juan quickly struck out two Crusaders, let two walk to dangle some false hope, and then struck out a third before heading to the batting box at the top of the Warrior’s rotation.

Juan delivered a solid hit that sent the ball into the outfield while he sprinted to first base.

Warrior Derek Lee, the next up at bat, followed Juan’s lead and delivered a solid hit to left field before heading to first.

Hoopa’s Joseph Bain struck out and then Pitcher Clinton Kane stepped up to the plate and delivered a few glancing blows, giving Juan time to steal third base and then charge home, before Kane was tagged out at first.

The Warriors pulled ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning, but the Crusaders tied the game 1-1 in the top of the second.

Both teams gave it their all, locked into a 1-1 tie until the fifth inning. St. Bernard’s pulled ahead with a couple of shots to the fence, and pulled ahead to 4-1 before heading back to the dugout.

Hoopa kept the Crusaders from scoring any more points for the rest of the game, but couldn’t quite cross home plate themselves, and the game ended with a 4-1 victory for the Eureka team.

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