Simply put, it was one of the most dominant and efficient pitching performances ever at John L. Harvey Field.
Cody Hamlin set down the first 13 batters of the game, and finished with a 2-hitter on 64 pitches to help Western Nevada to a 4-1 seven-inning win over league-leading College of Southern Nevada in the first game of Friday’s Scenic West Athletic Conference doubleheader.
The Coyotes, however, managed a 5-4 win in the nine-inning nightcap when Tom Pannone threw out Donald Glover Jr. at the plate in the bottom of the ninth on the final play of the game.
WNC is now 7-7 in conference play, while CSN is 12-2. The teams conclude the four-game series with a noon doubleheader today.
“Definitely the best stuff I’ve had,” Hamlin said. “They came out swinging. I had good movement on my fastball and they were putting the ball into the ground; a lot of groundballs.”
“Cody and Cole (Ferguson, catcher) got on the same page and got things rolling,” WNC coach D.J. Whittemore said. “Southern Nevada is a good hitting team. It’s not like anybody is going to go out and shut them out.”
Hamlin was the recipient of some instant offense, as Conor Harber tripled off CSN starter Joey Lauria and scored on a single by Joey Crunkilton in the first. WNC tacked on two more runs in the third when Tony Roque doubled to center and scored on a single by Harber, who stretched his hitting streak to five games with four hits in the doubleheader.
Harber went to second on the throw home in attempt to get Roque, and then Crunkilton followed with a run-scoring double to make it 3-0.
“I was just sitting on the curveball both times,” Harber said. “I’ve been struggling with that pitch. Coach said CSN was the team to beat coming in, and we were ready to play from the first pitch on.”
“He (Harber) can hit in any spot in the order,” Whittemore said. “He’s a great kid, very coachable. He can really hit.”
Of the first 12 outs recorded by Hamlin, nine were on groundballs. With one out in the fifth, Chad Whiteaker hit a long fly ball to right-centerfield. Donald Glover Jr. appeared to take a bad angle on the ball, and it got past him. Hamlin retired the next two batters to end the threat.
“I did know I had a perfect game,” Hamlin said. “I was trying not to worry about it. Once they got the hit I was glad that I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.”
“The wind was blowing (on the hit),” Whittemore said. “The ball carried.”
The Wildcats tacked on another run in the fifth when Crunkilton was hit by a pitch and scored on a double by Ferguson to make it 4-0.
The Coyotes finally broke through in the top of the seventh after two outs when Morgan Stotts singled and eventually scored on an error by left fielder Matt Barker.
In the second game, Corey Welch hit a one-out homer off Phil Belding for a 1-0 lead. The Coyotes had runners in scoring position in the second and third, but were unable to capitalize.
The Wildcats scored four times in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a leadoff homer by Connor Klein, a run-scoring bunt single by Colby Rice, three errors and two wild pitches from Will Morris.
CSN made it 4-2 in the sixth when Pannone singled and scored on three wild pitches, as Belding had location issues. Belding departed at the end of the inning with four strikeouts and five hits allowed.
Whittemore went to normal Saturday starter Luke Eubank, who quickly retired the first two batters in the seventh. Welch, on an 0-2 pitch singled. Whiteaker followed with a single and Stotts hit a double just inside the third-base line to score both runners and tie the game at 4. Stotts was thrown out at third trying to advance on the throw home.
Each team left the bases loaded in the eighth, setting the stage for a wild ninth.
Whiteaker doubled to right off Austin Richmond and scored on Stotts’ second double of the game to make it 5-4.
Becker walked to open the WNC ninth, but was forced at second by Harber. Whittemore opted to send Harber on a straight steal, and Cody Clark gunned down Harber for the second out. Crunkilton walked and was replaced by Glover on the basepaths. Glover stole second, setting the stage for Klein, who entered the at-bat 2-for-4. Klein grounded a single to right, and Pannone threw a one-bouncer to Clark who put the tag on Glover to end the game.
“Our guys battled to the end,” Whittemore said. “We had a chance to tie the game. The guy made a good throw. Sometimes (on the turf) the catcher can get short-hopped. He got a long hop and the catcher handled it and made the tag.”
CSI SWEEPS WILDCATS
The Wildcats fell to 8-17 overall after losing a doubleheader to College of Southern Idaho, 8-0 and 1-0, Friday afternoon at Edmonds Sports Complex in a Scenic West Athletic Conference battle.
In the opener, CSI broke open a scoreless tie with six runs in the third, and then added one in the fifth and one in the sixth. The game was stopped after six innings on the run rule. Sierra Whitmer allowed two hits and struck out two. Andrea Lee and Cara McCarthy both singled for the Wildcats.
Whitney Carlton had a homer and two singles for CSI, while Avery Schroeder, Kylee Hogue, Lea Hopson and Gabby Stacy added two hits each. Hogue and Carlton had each homered and had two RBIs.
WNC’s Lexi Allen went the distance and deserved a better fate. Of the eight runs she allowed, only two were earned. Six errors, three by Madison Gonzales, led to six unearned runs.
In the nightcap, the Wildcats ended up wasting a sterling effort by Carlee Beck, who allowed seven hits and one run in the extra-inning thriller. She fanned seven and walked three. Of her 106 pitches, 70 were strikes.
The game was a scoreless tie after seven. CSI broke through in the eighth thanks to singles by Carlton, Tyler Wilkinson and Aubrey Whitmer, who drove in the game-winner.
WNC had several chances to break through.
After two out in the first, Alisha Nielsen flied out to right with runners on first and second. In the fourth Lee doubled and was stranded when McCarthy grounded out. In the eighth, Gonzales reached on an error, but Jenny Quam, Jenny Rechel and Sydney Darby were unable to drive her in.
“Carlee threw a great game, and we played well defensively behind her,” WNC coach Leah Wentworth said. “We just couldn’t get the timely hit.”
The teams conclude the four-game series with a doubleheader starting at noon.