It must be hard to maintain perspective in the Scenic West Athletic Conference with virtually every game going down to the final at-bat.
The frustration could be clearly seen on Western Nevada Community College baseball coach D.J. Whittemore's face after his team sustained an agonizing 3-2 loss to College of Southern Idaho on Saturday at WNCC's John L. Harvey Field. But Whittemore only allowed his frustration to last for a few seconds because in the SWAC, you can't waste any time thinking about what could have been, you've got to move on.
The Wildcats settled for a split on Saturday, beating Southern Idaho 3-0 in the opener behind Cole Rohrbough's complete game, two-hit shutout even though if you can believe, Whittemore said he wasn't at his best.
No. 24 WNCC (8-11-1, 2-4) and No. 17 Southern Idaho (3-3) will finish their series today with a doubleheader beginning at noon at Carson High's Ron McNutt Field.
Even tough WNCC left 11 runners in the nightcap, Whittemore didn't fault his team's effort.
"We played very well in the second game," Whittemore said. "I thought we played better in the second game than in the first."
With the score tied 1-1 in the sixth inning, Andrew Reid singled and moved to second on Chuck Howard's bunt, then went to third with one out on a wild pitch. But starting pitcher Adam Urnberg struck out the next batter. Brad Carlsen followed by lining out to right field to end the inning.
With one out in the seventh, Justin Garcia, who had retired 14 straight, hit a batter and it proved to be costly as Grant Vickers' RBI double gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead. Garcia was also hurt by a leadoff walk in the second, which came home to score to give Southern Idaho a 1-0 lead.
"We expect a lot out of him," Whittemore said. "We can't expect him to be perfect. He's pretty darn close for us."
After allowing the RBI double, Garcia gave way to Dan Grubbs, who hit the only batter he faced. Chris Rickey came on and got a groundball on a hit and run for a fielder's choice, giving the Eagles runners at second and third with two outs.
Rickey then intentionally walked the next batter before giving way to Jeremy Joustra. On an 0-2 pitch, Joustra allowed an RBI single that gave the Eagles a 3-1 lead before inducing a groundball for a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Third baseman Nik Gumeson made what turned out to be a huge play when he robbed Kyle Bondurant of extra bases by making a diving stop of a shot down the line for the first out of the inning. Ryan Simpson followed with a double, Thomas Miller singled and Logan Parsley walked to load the bases, chasing Urnberg.
Jason Oatman came on and struck out the next batter, but hit Reid to make it 3-2. Oatman, though, got Howard to fly out the end the game.
WNCC tied the game 1-1 in the fifth. Andrew Ferguson singled and was replaced by pinch hitter Chad Walling, who was able to go from first to third on MIller's single to shallow left center field.
Parsley followed with a groundball to third and Walling was able to score after he broke for the plate on the throw to first. Miller had three hits as he also doubled and Anthony Garcia doubled for WNCC.
WNCC 3, SOUTHERN IDAHO 0
Rohrbough, who struck out 10, was able to outduel Jordan Latham, who went the distance for the Eagles.
"It feels real good to help us get off to a good start," Rohrbough said. "I was just trying to keep the ball down.
"I was mixing in the curveball every once in a while. I threw a lot of fastballs. I'm not going to do anything different if what I'm doing is helping us win."
WNCC took a 1-0 lead in the first when Bondurant walked, Parsley reached on catcher's interference and Miller reached on an error to load the bases. Bondurant went on to score on a fielder's choice. Miller's home run gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead in the third.
Rorhbough was able to pitch out of trouble in the fourth. He allowed a single and the Eagles went on to place runners at first and second when Howard tried to throw the runner at second and his throw was late on a sacrifice bunt.
Rohrbough uncorked a wild pitch to give the Eagles runners at second and third with no outs. But Rohrbough struck out the next two batters and got a groundout to escape the jam.
"They still have to hit my pitch," Rohrbough said. "The pressure's on them a little bit, too."
WNCC took a 3-0 lead when Carlsen tripled and scored on a wild pitch. Ferguson and Anthony Garcia also doubled.
"Not to take anything away from Cole's performance, but I think he'd tell you that wasn't his best," Whittemore said.
"I guess that's the ultimate compliment to him. He did a great job. He set the tone for us."