South Fork Baseball Settles for Second Place in League

Scott Coffelt hit an over-the-fence 345-foot homerun at Hoopa last week [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

South Fork High School’s varsity baseball team won two and lost two last week to wrap up regular season play, finishing 6-6 in Humboldt Del Norte Little Four Conference play, tied with Ferndale for second place.

The Cubs had 34 hits in two games at Hoopa last Wednesday and came away with a 12-3 win in the opener and a 16-7 win in the nightcap.

While head coach Andy Olsen was pleased with the offensive output he would have preferred to have finished both games in shortened five-innings format if the team had been able to keep the ten-run leads it held in each game. “We hit the ball very well, but we couldn’t put them away.” Giving Hoopa credit, Olsen noted that “they have 4 or 5 players who hit the ball well, and they can’t be kept quiet the whole game.”

South Fork also had 2 errors, and Hoopa capitalized for one unearned run in their 3-run fifth. Junior right-hander Scott Coffelt opened the game and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and walking 3 while striking out 4. Junior righty Aaron Etherton came on in relief in the fifth and gave up 3 runs, two earned, striking out 5 and walking one.

Sophomore catcher Cody Wyatt led the Cub attack with 3 RBI on two hits with a run scored. Coffelt was 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI. Sophomore center-fielder CJ Van Meter had 2 hits with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. Sophomore shortstop Cooper Scott had 3 hits and 3 runs scored. The Cubs tallied 15 total hits and were 7 for 7 in stolen bases.

CJ Van Meter applies a tag to a Ferndale baserunner Saturday in Ferndale [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

In the nightcap, lefty Van Meter got the start and was very stingy with his pitches, blanking the Warriors through 3 innings on just 35 pitches, striking out 7 and giving up just one bloop single. Scott came on in relief and pitched three innings giving up 4 runs, only one of them earned, with 5 strikeouts and a walk. Wyatt wrapped up the game, pitching the 7th inning and was touched up for 3 runs on 3 hits.

But the Cubs’ offense prevailed, beating Hoopa ace Cuffy Azamora, who had beaten them at home just a few weeks ago. “Everyone in the league has trouble hitting him,” said Olsen, “he throws a lot of off-speed stuff. We had our best performance against him in 3 years. We stayed back and showed a lot of patience.” Coffelt was 3 for 5 with a 345-foot homerun and 5 RBI. Senior first baseman Ipo Savoie was 5 for 6 with 4 RBI and Van Meter was 4 for 5 with 5 RBI. South Fork had 19 total hits and was a perfect 8 for 8 in stolen bases.

“This is how we should have been hitting the ball all year,” said Olsen.

However, on Saturday in Ferndale, Cub bats went cold and they dropped a double header to the Wildcats, losing 4-1 in the first game and 1-0 in the nightcap.

“I give Ferndale credit,” said Olsen, “they had no errors all day and their pitchers kept us off balance.”

Cody Wyatt pitching at Hoopa last Wednesday [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

It was costly errors in game 1 that spoiled Coffelt’s strong pitching performance, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing just 1 earned run. Ferndale scored 3 unearned runs in the 6th and South Fork could not come back.

“We’re young, and we have to remember when we make mental errors we need to learn from them,” said Olsen. The Cubs couldn’t buy a clutch hit. “We had a guy on 3rd four times and couldn’t get him in.” The Cubs had just 4 hits, with Coffelt scoring on an RBI hit by Etherton.

In game 2, Van Meter pitched another jewel, throwing just 75 pitches in 6 innings, walking 1 and striking out six, but allowing all 3 Wildcat hits and their only run in the 4th inning.

South Fork out-hit Ferndale 6-3, but could not string together their knocks for a run. “We were pressing a little toward the end,” said Olsen.

Before the double header, the league had tossed a coin to determine who would get the second place seed in the new county tournament to be played this week in the event the two teams finished with even records. South Fork won the toss, and is currently waiting to see which Big Five school they will face in the first round of the tourney. Rain outs and play-ins among the big schools of the Humboldt Del Norte League will play a part in the seeding of the tourney.

This Sunday the Cubs will be seeded in the North Coast Section Post Season Tournament, to begin the following week. After the disappointing losses to Ferndale the Cubs are still hoping for at least one home game.

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