The Western Nevada Community College baseball team should now have a chance to christen its new ballpark with a race for the Scenic West Conference title.
WNCC finished off a four-game sweep at Colorado Northwestern by sweeping a doubleheader on Saturday, winning the opener 7-4 and the nightcap 7-1. The Wildcats scored six runs in the seventh inning to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the opener.
The Wildcats (29-15) are 23-9 in the Scenic West and are in a three-way race for the conference regular season title. WNCC trails Dixie State, who was idle this weekend, by one-half game as the Dixie State is 23-8. Southern Idaho was 21-7 going into its doubleheader on Saturday against Eastern Utah.
WNCC will host Eastern Utah in a four-game series, with doubleheaders to be played on Friday and this Saturday. Friday's doubleheader is scheduled to begin at noon.
Wildcat coach D.J. Whittemore said WNCC's on-campus ballpark, John L. Harvey Field, should be ready for its first ever series this weekend.
"We're very optimistic we'll be playing on our home field next weekend," Whittemore said.
Whittemore said he'll know by Tuesday if this weekend's series will be played at John L. Harvey Field.
WNCC will conclude the regular season at home with what is shaping up to be a huge four-game series against Southern Idaho on May 5 and 6.
"We put ourselves in position for the last eight to mean something," Whittemore said. "It will be huge for us to get some huge turnouts the next two weekends."
The regular season champion will host the conference tournament while the top two teams will receive a first round bye. The third place team potentially faces a first round game against Community College of Southern Nevada, which had to forfeit 24 conference games, but is now making a push to make the conference tournament.
Jerahmie Libke and Kyle Bondurant walked to begin the rally in the seventh in the opener and Brett Mosher singled to load the bases. Humberto Rodarte followed with an RBI single and Thomas Miller belted a two-run double that cleared the bases when Mosher scored on an error on the play.
Pat Grennan followed with an RBI double and after Grennan stole third, Douglas High's Jimmy Pierce drove home Grennan with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-3.
WNCC used every position player in the opener and used pitcher Stephen Sauer as a pinch runner for Bondurant in the seventh. Sauer finished up, allowing a run in the bottom of the seventh.
Chad Riddle pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Starter Josh Brink ran into trouble when he allowed four runs in the fourth. Dan Grubbs got the last two outs in the inning to escape the jam. "It was great team effort, a great team win," Whittemore said.
Mason Tobin pitched allowed one run over six innings to pick up the win in the nightcap. Jake Bottari pitched a scoreless seventh.
WNCC broke the game open when Aaron Greer hit his first home run of the year, a three-run shot to make it 5-0. After a six-month layoff, Greer is beginning to break out as he had a solid weekend at the plate.
"It's huge for us. It's huge to get another left-handed bat in the lineup," said Whittemore about Greer. "I think he's really starting to feel comfortable."