It's hard to imagine that the first-year Western Nevada Community College baseball team would be playing for first in the Scenic West Conference this late in the season, but that's exactly what the Wildcats will be doing this weekend.
Thanks to previous conference leader Community College of Southern Nevada using an ineligible player and having to forfeit all of its games, this weekend's series between WNCC and Dixie State has become a showdown for first in the Scenic West.
With John L. Harvey Field still not ready for use, the series will be held at a site still to be determined. WNCC will host Dixie State in doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday, both beginning at noon.
With the forfeit wins, Dixie State is now in first at 18-5. WNCC (24-12) is in a virtual tie for second with Southern Idaho. The Wildcats are 18-6 and Southern Idaho is 17-5. The top two teams in the Scenic West will receive a first round bye in the conference tournament.
"Isn't that convenient," said WNCC coach D.J. Whittemore about conference leading Dixie State coming to Northern Nevada this weekend. "As a coach and as a player you want to believe they're all big. This might be a little bigger than any others we've played so far."
Dixie State is the defending conference champion, the 2004 national champion and will move up to the NCAA Division II level next year.
"To have an opportunity to play them for first place this late in the year is an honor for our program," Whittemore said. "We have a special group of guys."
But Whittemore noted there's still 16 games left in the regular season. "There's still a lot of work to be done," Whittemore said. "Our gameplan from the beginning was to be competitive."