Wildcats drop CNCC to stay alive in tourney
BY CHARLES WHISNAND
Appeal Sports Editor
HENDERSON - Now that the Western Nevada College baseball team has survived - barely -the Wildcats will now set out to accomplish the impossible.
After being shut down by Adam Gunn in a 7-2 loss to Salt Lake Community College to open the Region 18 Tournament Thursday, the Wildcats had to survive a scare from Colorado Northwestern Community College - from themselves really - for a 13-7 win to stay alive to play Friday at College of Southern Nevada.
WNC had to survive a game in which it made four errors, including two in the seventh inning that led to four unearned runs that helped the Spartans close to within 9-7 after trailing 9-2. CNCC scored five runs on one hit in the inning.
WNC will play an elimination game today against College of Southern Idaho, which lost to CSN 8-2. CSN clearly looks like the team to beat in this tournament as it is playing the way it was expected to all along at the end of the season. CSN beat CSI behind Taylor Cole Thursday.
The Wildcats will send Kyle Farrell to the mound at 1 p.m. today against CSI. If they beat CSI, the Wildcats will play the loser of Salt Lake-CSN at 7 p.m. Those two teams will play at 4 p.m. today for the right to be in the championship round.
Everyone else is available on the mound today and even Kyle Starratt, who started against Salt Lake and threw 49 pitches, and Josh Moody, who threw 47 pitches, will be available today for a possible second game - if WNC makes it that far. Jordan Blanchard, who was outstanding against CNCC, allowing just one unearned run one hit through four innings, could be available tonight if needed.
WNC was cruising with an 8-1 lead after Andrew Reid had pitched a scoreless fifth inning against CNCC, striking out two. James Crocket came on in the sixth and while he allowed a run, he did strike out the side.
Logan Parsley tripled before Darren Bruhns drove him home with an sacrifice fly to make it 9-2 in the bottom of the sixth.
But then the adventure began. Crockett loaded the bases with no outs, giving way to Matt Klein, who deserved a better fate. Kleln allowed an RBI on a sacrifice fly, but then got a strikeout and should have been out of the inning. But two errors led to three runs as CNCC closed to within 9-6.
WNC coach D.J. Whittemore brought in outfielder Jerome Pena, who had not pitched since early in the year. Pena gave up a walk to force in a run to make it 9-7. With the bases loaded, Pena got a strikeout to finally end the inning.
But it wasn't over. Pena gave up a walk and a single to begin the eighth, giving way to closer Josh Creveling, who came through big time. After a sacrifice bunt gave CNCC runners at second and third with one out, Creveling got a strikeout and a popup to escape the jam. Creveling went on to pitch the last two innings to pick up the save.
In the bottom of the eighth, Cliff Shepard singled, Parsley walked and Bruhns singled to load the bases. Pena followed with a two run-single, then Feiner followed with a two-run single to make it 13-7 and the Wildcats and their fans could finally exhale.
Feiner had three hits and Kyle Gutchewsky, Parsley and Ray all added two hits.
Notes: Parsley went 5-for-7 on the day as he had three hits, including a double against Salt Lake. Chuck Howard had three hits and an RBI sacrifice fly... Gunn allowed one earned run and struck out eight while throwing 117 pitches over eight innings... The normally reliable Jose Barajas was touched for three runs in the eighth, giving Salt Lake a 7-2 lead. But Barajas didn't throw that many pitches, so he'll be available today... Perez finished up for WNC against Salt Lake, pitching scoreless ball over 1 1/3 innings.