Western Nevada softball finds hope in a pair of losses
Nevada Appeal Sports Writer
The Western Nevada College softball team has struggled much of the season with errors and offensive production. With that in mind, Wildcats coach Scott Rasner ran the team through plenty of groundball drills to aid the defense. He also moved the temporary fence at Centennial Park in from 250 feet to 200.
At least one of the changes helped.
The Wildcats (4-10) lost 16-7 Friday in the second game of their doubleheader with the College of Southern Nevada in the team’s first error free game in 12 games. They lost the first game 17-1 and will play two more against CSN (10-4 SWAC, 13-6) today beginning at noon.
“We thought it would help us, but it back fired a little bit,” Rasner said. “We knew they were going to hit it, but we were hoping for a few more ourselves. We got our one (home run), but we should have had four or five the way we’ve normally been swinging.”
While it was nice for the Wildcats to finally see a zero under the error column, bringing in the fence worked in favor of the 13th-ranked Coyotes. Amy Aicher, who was hitting a paltry .143 coming into the series, gave her best Reggie Jackson impression by knocking three home runs with seven runs batted in.
“I just left it over the plate,” said WNC pitcher Ambar Huish, who gave up all three home runs. “They’re a good hitting team and you can’t leave the ball over the plate and that’s what I did.”
The Wildcats looked as if they were well on their way to taking another blowout loss, especially at the hands of CSN who has allowed just four runs combined in its last four games, but began to turn things around in the middle innings.
WNC nibbled at the lead in the second and third innings, scoring one run in each. Then in the fourth, the offensive production that Rasner has been waiting for all season finally showed itself.
Alisha Perry hit a leadoff single, then Coyotes pitcher Christina Jones walked three of the next five batters, bringing in one run. Huish came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, a situation that many times has resulted in little to no runs for the Wildcats. Huish, who leads WNC in batting average with a .349, got the pitch she wanted when Jones left the ball up in the zone. Huish crushed the ball over the left field fence, cutting the lead to 13-7.
The grand slam was her only hit of the game as she went 1-for-3.
The Wildcats didn’t get any closer as Jones, who had some earlier command problems, settled down in the final two innings with only seven players coming to the batter’s box.
While a loss is a still a loss, this one is the best output thus far and what Huish hopes is a sign of the Wildcats’ game turning around.
“We have our ups and downs and its great to see no errors,” Huish said. “If we could do that every game, we’ll get a few Ws I think.”