The Yerington High School softball team celebrated a school record-setting season by winning 27 games in 1999. Unfortunately for the Lions, the season ended on a disappointing note when they fell one run short in their all-important final game.
"We were the best 27-6 team that didn't go to state," coach Rod Rundle said Friday morning during first-day action of the season-opening Yerington Tournament. "We beat Dayton three out of four games. We just didn't win the one that counted."
The entire season came down to an elimination game at the division tournament in Reno, in which Lyon County rival Dayton won 6-5 to earn a berth in the state tournament played, ironically enough, in Yerington.
"Is that a motivation for these kids now? I would think so," Rundle said.
The Lions opened with a 12-0 win against Tahoe-Truckee's J.V. squad during the first day of their tourney Friday, then later played Bishop, Calif., to a 4-4 tie in games played at Ed Lowe Field.
The Lions only lost two starters from a team that shared the Division II championship with Bishop Manogue (11-1), and among the returnees are first-team all-division pitchers Amy Sceirine and Sherry Conway. Conway is a senior who will also see time at first base, and Sceirine is a junior who is expected to play some second base.
Also returning are catcher Michelle Sinclair, a second-team all-division selection last year, and Letitia Talbot, a second-team all-division outfielder. Both are seniors.
Talbot, also an all-state basketball standout, is battling junior Kendall Castellani for the starting shortstop job. The two will split time between shortstop and center field in the meantime.
Four other seniors return, including right fielder/second baseman Annalee Hatcher, utility player Aubri Roberson, backup pitcher Erin Vaughn and Shannin Waldaias. Junior Mindy Foley returns to play left field for the Lions.
Two newcomers challenging for spots in the starting lineup include sophomore Brandee Smith at first base and freshman Hillary Vaughn at both third base and backup catcher.
Yerington's junior varsity also split two games against varsity opponents on Friday, beating Whittell 10-0 before dropping a 3-1 verdict to Coleville, last year's 1A state runner-up.
Yerington's varsity plays again today at 11 a.m. against Battle Mountain and at 3:30 p.m. against Mammoth, Calif. The J.V. Lions play Big Pine, Calif., this morning at 8 a.m. and Pershing County at 2 p.m.
Dayton won both of its games, beating Mammoth 5-2 and North Tahoe 9-0. Jennifer Dillie pitched the distance in both games, plus she hit 3-for-4 with two triples and three RBIs. Carrie Kordonowy went 2-for-3 with a triple, double and four RBIs for the Dust Devils.
Dayton plays Fernley at 9:30 a.m. this morning and Truckee at 12:30 p.m.