South Fork Baseball Wins 4 Games, Sets Sights on Post-season

Aaron Etherton on the mound in Laytonville last week. [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

South Fork High’s varsity baseball team scored 29 runs in 26 innings last week to sweep two double headers and bring their record to 10-6 over all, 4-4 in the Humboldt del Norte Little Four Conference.

Traveling to Laytonville last Thursday, the Cubs found a much improved Warrior squad, but managed to win both games, 11-6 and 4-1.

“I give Laytonville a lot of credit for improving,” said head coach Andy Olsen. The home side jumped out in front in the bottom of the 1st inning, scoring twice off Cub right-hander Scott Coffelt who went 1 1/3 innings with 4 strike-outs and 3 walks, allowing 3 total runs. Sophomore Cooper Scott pitched the middle three innings, giving up 2 runs on 2 hits and striking out four. Junior Aaron Etherton finished the game, giving up just one run on 2 hits with a strike-out and 2 walks.

Ayden Butterworth-Bignon was swinging a hot bat last week against Laytonville and Ferndale. [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

It was freshman outfielder Ayden Butterworth-Bignon who catalyzed the offense for the Cubs in game one. “We’ve had a long string of very good 9-hitters,” said Olsen, “and Ayden is becoming the next one in that string.” Olsen says the freshman is strong going to the opposite field and “I can see that he is going to be a very good player for us over the next few years.”

Butterworth-Bignon was 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and an RBI. Sophomore catcher Cody Wyatt and freshman 3rd baseman Kaydon Pogue each had 3 RBIs and Etherton had two. All the Cub runs came in the 4-run second and the 7-run fifth inning.

In the nightcap sophomore southpaw CJ Van Meter took the ball and got the win, going 4 1/3 innings and striking out 4. Etherton finished the fifth inning (Mendocino rules shorten the second game of a double header to just 5 innings), allowing no base runners.

The Cubs had no errors and gave up no walks in the game.

Coffelt and senior first baseman Ipo Savoie each had 2 hits and an RBI in the win.

At home against league rival Ferndale on Saturday the Cubs won the opener 6-2, and the nightcap 8-3.

Coffelt pitched a complete game 1, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits with 2 walks and 6 strike-outs. It was the Cubs’ second errorless game in a row. But it was three clutch hits that won the game for South Fork, as Savoie, Van Meter, and Coffelt each came through with RBI hits with two men down.

In game 2, Van Meter got his second win of the week, and the Cubs had 4 errors he had to pitch around to preserve the win. “We can be a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde team this year,” said Olsen. “It’s just that way when you’re young. A freshman will make a great play one minute and blow a routine ground ball the next.” Van Meter gave up just one earned run, with 6 strikeouts and 2 walks. “He’s been our tough luck loser a few times this year,” said Olsen, but Van Meter’s stats tell the story of his outstanding control. “He’s got just 8 walks in 37 innings. He keeps the ball down and doesn’t get deep into counts.”

Cooper Scott finished the final inning and a third, giving up just one hit.

Cody Wyatt gets the put-out and the second half of a clutch double play on a perfect throw from CJ Van Meter after catching a fly ball in center to nail the tagging runner at the plate. [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Junior Dylan Music has been hitting the ball hard right at fielders all year, but he got a very timely first base hit, a gapper with the bases loaded to get South Fork’s offense going and drive in two runs. Cooper Scott was 3 for 5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Wyatt was 1 for 4 with 2 RBI. Van Meter, Coffelt and freshman Derek Baldwin each knocked in a run. As a team, the Cubs stole 7 bases on 8 tries.

On the day, Etherton went 4 for 7, and Olsen is very pleased with his progress. “He’s smart and fast and works hard. He expects to go 5 for 5 every game.” Also turning in an impressive performance over two games was freshman third baseman Kaydon Pogue. “He was 6 for 7 in chances on the day,” strong fielding on the diamond’s hot corner.

The Cubs have two more double headers this week to round out their season. They will travel to Hoopa on Wednesday and then finish the regular season with a double header in Ferndale on Saturday.

Cooper Scott slides safely into thirds base last week in Laytonville [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Now ranked #3 among North Coast section Division 6 baseball teams, the Cubs are hoping to secure a home game in the upcoming post season tournament to be played starting the week of May 21. Meanwhile, after the regular season concludes, the HDN will host a tourney modeled after basketball’s Niclai event to determine a county champion. The Cubs are hoping to finish strong within the conference and then make a good showing in the first round of the county tourney to up their chances of a high seed going into the section finals.

“If we do what we need to do between now and then, we should be playing well into June,” said Olsen.

First year player Levi Humphrey and four-year veteran Ipo Savoie were both honored on Saturday in their final senior home game.

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