March 8, 2013 — 

WNC records softball sweep

March 8, 2013 — 

After a horrific start to the season, the Western Nevada College softball

team is starting to hit its stride.

The Wildcats, who started the Scenic West Conference season with eight

straight losses, have won five of their last six including a doubleheader

sweep of North Idaho College, 5-4 and 7-2, Tuesday at Edmonds Sports


The teams continue their four-game series today at Edmonds with a

doubleheader starting at 1:30 p.m.

³It¹s huge,² WNC coach Leah Wentworth said after the sweep. ³We were able to

sustain our momentum from the weekend (3-1 record vs. Colorado

Northwestern). This is the best pitching we¹ve seen all year, and we¹re

really starting to get comfortable at the plate. We¹ve been able to make

adjustments we¹ve been working on.²

Simply put, the Wildcats won this one with the long ball. Homers by Andi Lee

and Sydney Darby (two) accounted for seven of WNC¹s 12 runs in the

twin-bill. The Wildcats also got some strong pitching from Ali Lostra and

Carlee Beck. Lostra allowed just one earned run in her complete-game

performance, while Beck allowed two runs and seven hits in her six-inning


North Idaho took a 1-0 lead in the second thanks to two walks, a passed ball

and two sacrifice bunts.

WNC stormed back with three in the third.

Jenny Quam had a one-out infield single and moved to second when Madi

Gonzalez beat out a bunt. After Darby popped out, Lee hammered three-run

homer to center to make it 3-1.

³It felt good going off the bat,² Lee said. ³ I knew it was going. I was

looking for a base hit, not a homer. I had a burst of energy. I was so


North Idaho cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fifth thanks to an unearned run.

Lostra wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam by retiring Desirae Tinoco on a

soft line drive to third.

The Wildcats went up 5-2 in the fifth when Darby launches a two-run homer

with two outs.

³We¹re starting to come up with timely hits,² Wentworth said.

North Idaho scored twice in the sixth, and both were unearned thanks to a

two-out error by Jen Rechel. Lostra ended the inning by striking out Shelby

Carter on a change-up.

Lostra struck out four, walked two and hit a batter. She made big pitches

when she needed them.

³Ali was a true warrior, fighting through some pain,² Wentworth said. ³Our

goal was three innings and after that it was an inning at a time. She did a

great job going the distance.²

³I¹m real sore.² Lostra said. ³I was focused on defense. The adrenaline

kicked in during the middle and end. Our defense helped. It was a great team


In the second game, Idaho struck first again with two runs in the second,

but it was all WNC after that.

A double by Amber Meyers and a single by Nikki Ragsdale accounted for the

runs and a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the second.

A wild pitch scored Lee to make it 2-1 in the bottom of the second, and the

Wildcats followed that with four in the third for a 5-2 lead.

Quam and Gonzalez both walked. Quam stole second and third, and scored on

the second stolen base when the catcher threw wildly to third. Darby

followed with her second homer of the day. Lee followed with a triple off

reliever Lauren Potts sand scored on a single by freshman Cara McCarthy, who

went 3-for-4.

WNC had a chance to do major damage, but Potts worked out of a bases-loaded

situation to end the inning.

Lee and McCarthy added run-scoring singles in the fourth to make it 7-2.

Beck struck out one and walked three in six innings before turning the ball

over to Lexie Alley, who worked a scoreless seventh.

Carson baseball wins season opener

March 8, 2013 — 

Jace Zampirro and Gehrig Tucker are expected to be key contributors to Carson High’s baseball team this year, and in Thursday’s season-opener against Elko they came up big.

Zampirro scattered five hits over six innings of work, and Tucker reached base twice and scored both of Carson’s runs in the 2-1 victory over the Indians at Ron McNutt Field in the debut of coach Bryan Manoukian.

Carson returns to action today at Reed High School. The Senators meet Fallon at 11 a.m. and then play Reed at 1:30 p.m. Tyler Valley and Chase Blueberg will start on the mound for the Senators.

Manoukian was ecstatic about Zampirro’s 82-pitch performance, which included five strikeouts and zero walks, which is pretty impressive at any point in the season let alone a first start of the new year.

“I thought he was fantastic,” Manoukian said. “Their kid (Dalton Ridgway) was equally impressive. Jace was about seven pitches over (75-pitch count), but he didn’t get tired; his body didn’t look tired. He wanted to finish the inning.

“Gehrig had a great leadoff game. He did his job and guys moved him over and Luke (Maher) got him home and then Cody Schmidlin came up and drove in the go-head run in the fifth.”

Other than the third inning when Elko scored its only run, Zampirro allowed only two runners to reach third base.

“I felt good,” Zampirro said. “I felt a little rusty (early), but after I got out of the first inning I felt good. My circle change and fastball were my two best pitches. I worked on the change a lot in the off-season and it paid off.”

Zampirro got some quick support in the first when Tucker doubled, moved to third on TJ Thomsen’s infield out and scored on Maher’s infield groundball.

Elko tied the game in the third when Joe Bejarano singled, but was forced at second by Chad Schumacher. After Zampirro struck out Cody Kerns, Phil Benevides delivered a run-scoring single.

Carson had a chance to go ahead in the fourth, but came up empty and had a player ejected in the process.

Maher walked and moved to second when Blueberg was plunked with a pitch. Casey Wolfe tried to bunt the runners along, but popped out to the catcher. Charlie Banfield followed with a bouncer up the middle. Elko shortstop Justin Pete fielded the ball behind the bag. Maher tried to score from second base. Pete’s throw beat Maher by a wide margin. Maher didn’t slide and actually jarred the ball loose, but was called out for not sliding and disqualified from the game. His action negated the run.

“Coach (Chad) Eaton and I were surprised that their kid got to the ball,” Manoukian said. “Chad had already waved him home, and when he realized that the kid fielded the ball, Luke had his head down and we couldn’t stop him.

“I don’t particularly like that rule, but the umpire enforced it correctly and made the right call. I’m not upset. I was yelling at Luke to slide. Twenty years ago that’s a great play. That kind of screwed things up because I was going to use Cody to relieve.”

Carson managed to scratch out a run in the fifth, and once again Tucker was key.

The Carson lead-off man walked with two outs and scored on Schmidlin’s two-out single off Ridgway, who allowed five hits in six innings of work.

“I can’t remember not hitting lead-off,” said Tucker. “I just try to get on base and look at pitches for the other guys.”

Tucker, who had a flawless game in the field, made the defensive play of the game in the sixth.

With two outs and a runner at first, Jacob Conklin lifted a shallow flyball to left. Tucker drifted out and made a difficult catch to end the inning. He made nine plays without an error, five assists and four put-outs.

Dominic Norton came on in the seventh, and despite walking two batters, closed the door on the Indians to pick up the save.

WAVE SOFTBALL: Fallon aims for third straight state championship

March 8, 2013 — 

A lot has changed in the last 10 months since Fallon won its second consecutive state title.

Bill Archer, who assisted Tami Peel and then Phil Pinder, is now the head coach after Pinder ended his tenure on a good note. He coached two of his daughters, both now competing in Division II on the college circuit, and brought back two state titles to the Lahontan Valley for the first time since the 1980s.

But for Archer, it’s all about continuing the same recipe that produced back-to-back state championships. Strong pitching, timely and productive hitting and near-flawless defense will once again be critical if the Lady Wave want to three-peat in only their third season in the Division I-A.

“It’s all the same. We’re still teaching the same fundamentals,” said Archer, who’s assisted by Stacey McNair and Brad Dolan. “I think we’re going to continue to have the same success with this new squad.”

And there’s no reason that Fallon shouldn’t be able to get back to the state tournament with the plethora of talent returning.

But if Fallon’s going to repeat again or even advance to the postseason, the Lady Wave will be without one key member who helped coach the program since the 1990s. Former assistant coach John Short is battling for his life as he’s being treated for throat cancer. The next couple of weeks are critical, but Archer said that Short plans on returning to the diamond once chemotherapy allows.

“That’s a tough deal. He told me he wants to stay involved but he has too much going on this year,” Archer said.

Archer said the team is revealing a burgundy ribbon on their jersey, dedicated to Short’s fight with cancer and reiterating his own philosophy with the team to “play like a champ.”

“There’s no better place for him to be on the ball field. It’s tough right now,” Archer added.

But the season must go on for the Lady Wave.

Despite losing the state’s best pitcher in Jill Pinder, Fallon still brings back a strong nucleus of power and defense. Pitching, however, could make Fallon seem mortal from the circle with Pinder out of the equation but don’t count junior Rileigh Ricken, who was the No. 2 starter last year. Archer also has a couple freshmen in his arsenal but said he will have a better feel after this weekend’s preseason tournament in Sacramento.

“She looks OK,” Archer said of Ricken. “She was behind Jill as the No. 2 pitcher and she has good velocity. She has a goal to play at the next level.”

At the plate, senior Danielle Rothery will make a case to be the state’s best player after she came one home run shy of the school’s single-season record and even belted a deep one in the state title game. From behind the plate, Rothery was also dominant in gunning down runners and that experience and leadership could help make the pitching transition smoother.

Aside from Rothery, second baseman Kaysee Archer and first baseman Cady Cordes round out the senior class and were both instrumental in the playoffs.

The junior class leads the team with four returning, including utility player Shelby Lawry, utility and first baseman Jen Connelly, outfielder Gabby Sharpe and Ricken. Shortstop Ali Tedford is the lone sophomore who saw extensive playing time last season in the outfield and gunned down a game-changing runner at home plate at the state tournament.

Six freshmen are on the team, which nearly makes up half of the 14-player roster.

“They’re all pretty good ball players,” Archer said of the freshmen. “The young talent is going to be exciting. It’s a good mix and the chemistry is going to be good. I think we’re going to be competitive for years to come and our JV squad is going to be stacked with decent talent.”

Pitcher Miranda Ford, infielder Megan McCormick, outfielder Izzy Thomas, utility Kalyn Huckaby, utility Macy Meyers and outfielder Paige Thorne made the team.

For the first time since Fallon left the Division I, the race to state supremacy could result in even more heartache.

Not only is Fallon coming back strong but Lowry will be out for revenge after dropping a 1-0 heartbreaker to the Lady Wave in the state semis. Fernley is the only team in the North to defeat Fallon in the last two years and could pose a problem as the Vaqueros return all of their pitching. Don’t count out Elko or Spring Creek from the Ruby Mountain division, either.

“The kids are excited. I don’t know if there’s pressure,” Archer said about getting back to the state tournament. “It’s going to be more competitive. You look at the teams and where they played tournament ball. Around the league, teams are doing the same. We expect the competition to be greater.”

No. 12 Lobos rally past Nevada

March 8, 2013 — 

The Nevada Wolf Pack learned a lesson about what it takes to be a championship team Wednesday night at Lawlor Events Center.

“They just made the tough plays,” Wolf Pack senior guard Malik Story said after the 75-62 loss to the No. 12 New Mexico Lobos.

The Wolf Pack has now lost six games in a row, nine of its last 10 and 13 of its last 15 to fall to 12-17 overall and 3-12 in the Mountain West with one game remaining in the regular season. The Lobos improved to 26-4, 13-2.

“That’s a veteran team,” Pack coach David Carter said of the Lobos. “That a championship team.”

The Lobos, which have already clinched the Mountain West’s regular season championship, put the game away with a 17-0 run late in the second half. The Wolf Pack took a 56-55 lead with 8:10 to play on a free throw by Story and then didn’t score for the next five minutes as the Lobos went ahead 72-56.

“We obviously showed we could play with them,” said Story, who had six 3-pointers and scored 25 points. “But they just executed their offense.”

Snell scored seven points in the Lobos’ 17-0 run. Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk each scored five points during the run.

“They went inside and we let them get the ball too deep,” Carter said. “When you get the ball right under the basket and can go straight up, you can’t guard that.”

The 6-9 Bairstow and the 7-foot Kirk dominated the Pack inside, combining for 26 points and 20 rebounds. Kirk had 11 points and 10 boards while Bairstow had 15 and 10.

“They didn’t go inside in the first half and I was surprised they didn’t,” Carter said. “I was waiting for that to happen. They went to our weakness, which is inside.”

The Wolf Pack, though, played with a renewed energy. The Pack honored seniors Keith Fuetsch and Story before the game and stayed right with the Lobos for the first 32 minutes.

The Wolf Pack went on 13-3 run early in the second half to take a 50-47 lead on a 3-pointer by Story with 12:20 to play. Two lay-ups by Deonte Burton jumpstarted the run as the Pack controlled the tempo for nearly five minutes. Story and Marqueze Coleman also had a pair of free throws during the run and Devonte Elliott had a lay-up to tie the game at 47-47.

“We got out in transition and got some easy baskets,” said Burton, who otherwise struggled from the floor with 3-of-10 shooting for eight points.

“We just wanted to stay solid on defense, get some stops and get some easy baskets,” Carter said. “We knew we couldn’t make a lot of mistakes against this team.”

The Pack missed all six of its shots during the Lobos’ game-deciding 17-0 run.

“They played good defense, got their hands on the ball, got some strips when we went to the hole,” Burton said.

Story, the Wolf Pack’s all-time leading 3-point shooter (now with 247), tried to keep his emotions in check during his final game at Lawlor Events Center.

“I tried not to think about it,” he said.

The 6-foot-5 guard played well, hitting 6-of-11 from 3-point range and 7-of-15 overall. He scored the Pack’s first points of the night on a 3-pointer just 30 seconds into the game. Fuetsch, the other senior, scored the Pack’s final points of the game on a lay-up with 34 seconds left, bringing the loudest cheer of the night from the crowd of 6,401.

“We fought hard tonight,” Story said.

Story hit a 3-pointer to cut New Mexico’s lead to 19-17 mid-way through the first half and also gave the Pack a 27-26 lead with another 3-pointer with 3:21 left in the half.

“It was a little emotional for the guys,” said Carter, referring to the Senior Night festivities before the game. “They wanted to play well and I think they handled it well.”

Story ended up scoring 49 points (24 against UNLV on Saturday) in his final two games at Lawlor Events Center.

“I appreciate the guys going out there and putting a lot into this game,” Story said. “It means a lot to me. I am also very thankful for the way the fans supported me and supported this team.”

The Wolf Pack finished 10-7 at Lawlor Events Center this season, losing six of eight Mountain West home games.

“It’s rebounding,” said Carter. “You can’t make a run if you can’t get stops.”

March 8, 2013 — 

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