Wildcats open season with a win
By Charles Whisnand
Appeal Sports Editor
Las Vegas - Nothing changes with the Western Nevada College baseball
program. The names may change, but the formula for success remains the same.
In the Wildcats' season opener on Friday at Centennial High, Darren Bruhns
became the new hero, while Kevin Schlange was among the veterans who shined.
Both came through with clutch performances in the Wildcats 16-6 win over
South Mountain Community College of Phoenix.
Bruhns went 2-for-2 and reached base in all five of his plate appearances.
He came through with a bases-clearing triple that was the turning point of
the game and also handled WNC's pitching staff well in his first game as the
"I just visualized myself having success," Bruhns said. "I couldn't have
written a better script than this for the first game."
WNC's first six runs all came with two outs. The game-turning rally for four
runs all came after there were two outs and nobody on. Then the Wildcats
scored their final 10 runs on just two hits.
The Wildcats scored their last 10 runs on the strength of nine walks, two
wild pitches, three hit batsmen and two sacrifice bunts.
"The short answer is no, I haven't," said WNC coach D.J. Whittemore when he was
asked if he's ever been involved in a game in which a team scored 10 runs on
two hits. "I think our hitters did a good job staying within themselves and
making their pitchers throw strikes."
Whittemore said he was also pleased with the performance of starting pitcher
Kyle Starratt, Javier Perez and Travis Feiner. Starratt and Perez each gave
up three runs in four innings.
Feiner, who started the game at second, pitched a scoreless ninth inning,
striking out two. With a relatively tight strike zone on a cold early
evening, WNC's pitchers walked just three batters.
"That speaks volumes about our pitchers and Bruhns did a great job,"
Whittemore said. "That was a legitimate strike zone."
Bruhns called every pitch as has always been the case for catchers in WNC's
The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead in the first on Logan Odom's two-out, two-run
single after Andrew Reid had singled to load the bases. After South Mountain
took a 3-2 lead in the third, WNC mounted a four-run rally in the bottom of
the third that came after there were two outs and nobody on.
Feiner singled and Bruhns followed with his three-run triple. Schlange
followed with an RBI single to make it 6-3.
"That was the difference of the game," said Whittemore, who said he thought about Bruhns, "maybe he can walk in a run. Then he rips the first pitch for a triple."
WNC scored three runs without a hit in the fifth to take a 9-3 lead.
Schlange made it 9-3 with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt that scored
Marshall Kinnebrew. Logan Parsley almost made it 11-3 with a mammoth two-run
shot in the inning, but his 400-foot drive down the left field line was just
Schlange said he should benefit from his experience last year with WNC.
"Playing last year gave me a lot of confidence," he said.
The Wildcats added five runs in the seventh to take a 14-5 lead. The only
hit in the inning came on Reid's RBI single.
The Wildcats added two more runs in the eighth to make it 16-6 on Brett
Moravec's two-run single.
The two teams continue their four-game series with a doubleheader beginning
at noon today at Sierra Vista High. Whittemore said nobody should be fooled
by Friday's result.
"They're a very good baseball team," he said. "I expect them to come out and
play real well tomorrow. We're going to have our hands full."
Notes: Chuck Howard, Kyle Gutchewsky and Davis Banks all didn't play Friday
as they all served a one-game suspension for a violation of team rules.
Cliff Shepard also sat out with a sore hamstring. Whittemore said Shepard
will likely only be available to pinch hit this weekend.