If the Western Nevada Community College baseball team is going to advance past next weekend in the postseason, the Wildcats will have to do it at College of Southern Idaho.
WNCC finished the regular season on Saturday with another split at Eastern Utah Community College, winning the opener 3-2 and losing the nightcap 8-3.
Community College of Southern Nevada won the Scenic West Athletic Conference regular season title with a doubleheader sweep of Southern Idaho on Saturday in Henderson. CCSN finished SWAC play at 29-11 while Southern Idaho finished second at 28-12. WNCC (31-22-2) finished third at 25-15.
So the Wildcats will open SWAC postseason play on Thursday against Colorado Northwestern at Southern Idaho.
In the opener against Eastern Utah, Stephen Sauer retired the side in order in the first, but came out of the game for precautionary reasons with shoulder stiffness.
"We wanted to make sure he's a 100 percent healty for next weekend," Whittemore said. "I don't think there's anything seriously wrong. We expect him to contribute this weekend."
The Wildcats received an outstanding effort from Dan Grubbs, who pitched 3.2 scoreless innings. Josh Creveling went 2.1 innings and came out of the game in the fourth inning with runners at second and third and one out.
Grubbs allowed a single that scored both runs that cut WNCC's lead to 3-2, but didn't allow another baserunner the rest of the way. He struck out five. Creveling struck out three, allowed three hits and walked one.
"We played a good game and we definitely got an outstanding outing from our bullpen," Whittemore said. "That's something we've been needing and that's a good sign going into the postseason."
WNCC took a 2-0 lead in the third. Brad Carlsen had his eight-game hitting streak stopped, but had an RBI sacrifice fly and Andrew Reid hit an RBI single. The Wildcats made it 3-0 in the fourth in Pat Grennan's RBI sacrifice fly.
Chuck Howard went 1-for-1 with a double and two sacrifice bunts, Andrew Ferguson doubled and Kyle Bondurant, Shepard and Grennan all added a hit.
The Wildcats failed to take advantage of its chances in the nightcap, including leaving the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth. "We left a lot of runners on base," Whittemore said.
Jake Bottari lasted three-plus innings and was charged with four runs. Jeremy Joustra came on in the fourth and allowed all three of his inherited runners to score. He went on to allow two more runs to score as Eastern Utah scored five runs in an inning for the second straight day.
"You can count the number of five-run innings allowed on one hand and we did it twice in two days," Whittemore said.
Joustra ended up allowing three hits and hitting two batters while recording both of his outs by strikeouts. Reid allowed two runs over 2.1 innings.
Ferguson was 2-for-3, Shepard and Thomas Miller doubledd and Carlsen, Reid and Taylor Mieras all added a hit.
On the surface it would appear that WNCC would prefer to go to Southern Idaho, especially since the Golden Eagles' pitching staff is banged up. Adam Urnberg didn't pitch this weekend with a sore arm.
James Wallace has also been battling a sore arm. But Southern Idaho still has two other outstanding pitchers in Jordan Latham and James Wallace and it figures if it all possible all four will be available next week.