Wildcats' mission: Make contact

Wildcats' mission: Make contact

By Charles Whisnand

Appeal Sports Editor

LAS VEGAS - The Western Nevada baseball team is expected to be a better

contact hitting team this season and it's not fair to pass judgment on the

Wildcats' opening weekend.

But the Wildcats will certainly have to do a better job of making contact

for the rest of the season than they did this weekend. Granted, the Wildcats

have surely seen little live pitching this early due to the poor Northern

Nevada weather. And the Wildcats also faced a talented South Mountain

Community College (Phoenix) pitching staff.

Still, the stats were somewhat ugly. After Sunday's game was rained out, WNC

had more strikeouts (23) than hits (18) in 23 innings over the weekend.

WNC coach D.J. Whittemore said he was pleased with his team's approach at

the plate when the Wildcats beat South Mountain 16-6 on Friday as WNC's

hitters simply stayed patient and allowed South Mountain's pitching staff to

self-destruct.

But WNC's hitters found out there's a fine line between being disciplined

and not aggressive enough on Saturday when the Wildcats were swept in a

doubleheader against South Mountain, 2-1 and 6-4.

Wildcat batters rarely swung at the first pitch and found themselves behind

in the count for most of the two games.

MIXED BASERUNNING

Baserunning should also be a strength of this team. On Saturday there were

mixed results. Baserunning was part of WNC's downfall in its 2-1 loss as it

had three runners thrown out.

But baserunning was also a key in WNC scoring four runs in the first inning

of the nightcap. On Brian Barnett's two-run double, Lance Ray's heads-up

running was a big reason why he scored from first.

Barnett's double just went over the center fielder's head in deep

center field. Knowing the center fielder couldn't throw him out if he had to

return to first, Ray was well around second when the ball fell and he scored

easily.

Barnett then hustled all the way around from second to score on a throwing

error by the shortstop to give WNC a 4-0 lead.

RESCHEDULING

While Sunday's scheduled game with South Mountain won't be made up,

Whittemore said WNC will make up for the lost game by playing an extra game

against Feather River next month. WNC is scheduled to play at Feather River

twice and Whittemore said an extra game will be added, with the schedule

still to be worked out.

Next up for WNC is a four-game series with Pima Community College, beginning

at 5 p.m. Friday at Centennial High.

IMPRESSIVE SIERRA VISTA

Sierra Vista High was an outstanding host on Saturday. The facilities were

in excellent shape for this time of year. There was also wireless Internet

and even a computer set-up in the press box for the media.

LARGE CROWDS

As is always the case, Western Nevada had another large contingent on the

road and South Mountain had a sizeable number of fans at the games as well.

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