Carson City’s WNC teams sweep
After two weekends on the road against two of the best teams in the nation, the Western Nevada College softball team showed it knows how to win when the playing field levels.
WNC completed a four-game Scenic West Athletic Conference softball sweep of Colorado Northwestern on Saturday at Edmonds Sports Complex.
The Wildcats backed the six-hit pitching of Kristina George by lining a homer and five doubles in a 6-3 opening-game victory, then Gabriella Canibeyaz delivered two hits and two RBI in a 7-3 second-game victory.
WNC raised its overall record to 18-23 and SWAC mark to 13-18, following eight straight defeats to No. 1 Salt Lake Community College and No. 3 College of Southern Idaho.
“We just had to play hard and not take them lightly, because you never know, anybody can beat anyone in this division,” said WNC sophomore catcher Lauren Lesniak.
It took until the midway point of the opener for some of the Wildcats’ line drives to start locating holes in the Spartan defense. Canibeyaz lined a double down the left-field line to start the Wildcat fourth. Lesniak then deposited her liner over the left-field fence for a two-run homer. It was Lesniak’s team-leading seventh homer of the season.
“She finally got a good pitch to hit and took advantage of it,” said WNC coach Leah Wentworth. “I know she was waiting all weekend for a good pitch to hit because last time they saw her, she had such a dominant series against them. They have been really throwing around her and not giving her much to work with.”
Meanwhile, George used a riseball and pinpoint control to put pressure on CNCC hitters.
WNC third baseman Briauna Carter also diffused a couple of rallies by twice gunning down Spartans at second base on sacrifice bunt attempts.
The Wildcats broke it open in the fifth as the first four batters produced hits. Melanie Mecham’s blast to the left-center gap brought home Bailey Henderson and Makaylee Jaussi to make the score 4-0.
Canibeyaz and Kacie Freudenberger added a RBI single and run-scoring double, respectively, to give the Wildcats a 6-0 lead.
In game two, the Wildcats didn’t take much time putting a crooked number on the scoreboard. Canibeyaz’s two-run base hit to center highlighted a five-run first inning. Lesniak, Henderson and Kelsie Callahan also contributed RBI hits in the first.
The final run in the first scored when Sakuma aggressively ran home from second when the Spartan second baseman made a diving stop of Callahan’s hard grounder and her flip wasn’t in time to get a force at second.
BASEBALL: Relievers key in WNC sweep
RANGELY, Colo. — Nearly perfect relief pitching was the key to Western Nevada College sweeping a Scenic West Athletic Conference baseball doubleheader from Colorado Northwestern on Saturday.
Sophomore pitcher Max Karnos tossed a one-hitter over five innings of relief as the Wildcats won the opener, 6-1, and then Connor Zwetsch and Ty Fox allowed just one hit to the Spartans for the final 6 2/3 innings as WNC completed the sweep with a come-from-behind 7-4 victory.
“We played good in all three phases today,” said WNC coach D.J. Whittemore. “We played good defense, the pitching was really solid and the offense was grinding all day long, putting the pressure on the other team and continuing to expand the lead. I don’t know if we’ve played much better than this for three straight games in Colorado ever or this year. It’s encouraging.”
By winning the first three games of the series, the Wildcats climbed back over .500 in SWAC play at 14-13 and moved into third place, just one-half game behind second-place College of Southern Idaho.
Sophomore outfielder Jake Bennett blasted a three-run homer in the opener and provided three hits in game two.
Austin Andrews pulled WNC even at 1-1 with a single that plated Blake Morin in the second. Andrews singled in WNC’s second run in the fourth, triggering a four-run uprising.
Bennett’s three-run homer capped the rally.
The storyline was nearly identical in game two as Fox earned his fifth win without a defeat, surrendering just one hit and an unearned run in five innings. Preceding Fox on the mound, Zwetsch worked 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief and struck out three.
“Ty has been starting all season, and I kind of wanted to let him finish a game,” Whittemore said. “We need some more guys to start contributing on the mound. We need the bullpen to do a better job than they’ve been doing. We’re probably a few decent relief performances away from being in first place, to be honest.”
WNC took the lead in the sixth on a Kody Reynolds sacrifice fly and made it 5-3 when Bradley Lewis walked with the bases loaded. In the seventh, the Wildcats went ahead 7-3 on a run-scoring fielder’s choice by Tim Lichty and when D.J. Peters came home on an infielder error.
WNC (27-20) and Colorado Northwestern (14-27) will conclude their four-game series with an 11 a.m. game today that Whittemore said is key to the postseason picture.