Carson slugger headed to Lewis & Clark

Published Caption: JEN SCHMIDT/NEVADA APPEAL

Published Caption: JEN SCHMIDT/NEVADA APPEAL

On her first day of batting practice at Carson High School, Moriah Lane hit the scoreboard in left-centerfield, and she hasn't stopped hitting since.

Lane, who transferred to Carson after two years at South Tahoe High School, has become one of the most feared hitters in Northern Nevada. Her average is hovering around the .400 mark and her on-base percentage is equally impressive because teams consistently pitch around her.

Her offensive prowess is what caught the eye of Lewis & Clark College softball coach Shawna Feldt, who welcomed Lane to the L&C softball family recently.

"I actually saw her at a recruiting camp in Oregon," said Feldt. "I'm pretty close with her travel ball coach in Reno (Mike McGowan), and he told me to take a look at her. I'm excited to get her."

If the name McGowan isn't familiar, it should be. McGowan is the father of former Wooster pitching star Brianne McGowan, who later went on to pitch at Oregon State. In fact, Felt was an assistant coach for the Beavers when McGowan was there.

Division III schools don't give athletic scholarships, but Lane was awarded a financial package that will cover 80 percent of her expenses while she's on the Portland, Ore., campus.

"I think it will be a good fit for her," Carson coach Scott Vickrey said. "That coach will be getting more of a player tan she bargained for."

There were a lot that impressed Lane, who spent an entire weekend touring the campus, sitting in on some classes and watching Lewis & Clark's final game of the season.

"I really liked the area," Lane said while sitting at a table in her family's restaurant in Carson City with teammate Lou Ashbaugh. "The coaches were real nice and the team was real welcoming. Since I'm a shy person, that was important to me.

"It (the school) is smaller (in enrollment) than Carson. I went to a Spanish class because some of the girls on the team were in there, and I think there were only 13 students. I didn't really want to stay in Nevada. I thought it would be best to get away from home. It's a small school and I like that."

Nevada was interested in Lane as was Chico State. Lane has worked off and on with Nevada hitting coach Andy Dominique.

"UNR had talked about maybe redshirting me," she said. "I don't know how much I would have been able to play the first couple of years. I wanted to go some place where I could play right away. I think Lewis & Clark is a better fit for me in the long run."

Feldt, who just finished her second season at Lewis & Clark, believes that Lane could be an instant contributor. Feldt said that Lane will battle for time at first base.

"We need a first baseman," Feldt said. "She's a great hitter, and there is always room in the line-up for a great hitter.

"I think she can come in and play right away. I'll be excited for her to come so we can start working with her. She is a raw hitter. She has the potential to be a good hitter at the college level. We'll tweak a little bit here and there, but she won't need much."

Lane is one of a handful of players Feldt has recruited for next year in an effort to bring Lewis & Clark's program back into the upper echelon of the conference.

"We have six incoming freshmen, including Moriah," Feldt said. "We brought in a couple of pitchers and a couple of more infielders. We had a really good recruiting class."

Lane has been a victim of her own success. Teams pitched to her a lot last year, and she made them pay. Teams have been less inclined to give her good pitches this year, and she has drawn a a lot of walks.

"Last year hardly anybody knew me and what I could do," Lane said. "I guess I should have moved again."

Lane has Christa McGahuey hitting behind her, and teams pitched to McGahuey early in the year without a lot of success. Vickrey said them hitting back-to-back benefits both players.

"It's kind of like (Jose) Canseco and (Mark) McGwire," Vickrey said. "You walk one and the other one can do damage.

"Moriah is very disciplined; has a good approach at the plate. She'll go opposite field and she'll take the walk if it's there. She does whatever helps the team the most."

And, she does it with little fanfare. Lane doesn't ever toot her own horn.

In fact, when she's around people she doesn't know, she is super quiet.

"I first met her when she joined the Sharks," said Ashbaugh, Carson's junior pitcher. "I don't know if she said anything the whole season. When she came to Carson (in the fall) she loosened up a little bit. Once you get to know her she's a little crazy and not shy at all."

At Lewis & Clark, Lane will get to return to first base, which is her best position. She started last season at first, but was switched to second in an effort to get more offense in the lineup.

"I won't have to run as much," Lane said, a slight smile on her face. "I don't mind playing second base at all."

"I think first base fits her the best," Vickrey said. "She could probably play anywhere in the infield for us. I know she played some shortstop at South Tahoe. She's a good athlete, and she's done a good job at second base."

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