Local sports roundup: Carson City’s WNC baseball, softball split
HENDERSON — Western Nevada College improved its chances of winning the Region 18 baseball title on Friday by clinching third place in the Scenic West Athletic Conference.
By defeating 11th-ranked College of Southern Nevada, 4-1, in the opening game of a doubleheader in Henderson and with Salt Lake sweeping a twin bill from fourth-place College of Southern Idaho, the Wildcats avoid playing in the opening game of next week’s double-elimination tournament.
“We’re on the lead lap, which feels amazing,” said WNC coach D.J. Whittemore. “We don’t have to play an extra game and we don’t have to play our way into the tournament. It was a long, hard fight for us, a great grind by our team to put ourselves in position to be on the lead lap going into the tournament. Other than Salt Lake getting to bat last, we’re on equal footing.”
WNC will open the Region 18 Tournament against Salt Lake at 7 p.m. Thursday at Morse Stadium in Henderson.
Josh Mill and Ty Fox combined on a seven-hitter and seven strikeouts as the Wildcats won the first game of Friday’s doubleheader against the regular-season champions. Fox gave up four hits in four innings of work to earn his sixth victory in eight decisions.
The Coyotes bounced back to win the second game, 5-3, despite a three-run homer by Jake Bennett.
Freshman catcher Tim Lichty ignited the Wildcat offense in the first inning of game one, roping a triple to score Bennett. Corey Pool then delivered a run-scoring single to put WNC on top, 2-0. David Modler provided a RBI base hit in the fourth inning and Austin Andrews added a run-scoring single in the sixth.
A key defensive play came in the third when right fielder D.J. Peters robbed Kayden Porter of an extra-base hit with the bases loaded. Peters crashed against the fence while making the catch.
It was the Coyotes’ fifth home loss in 29 games.
Andrews led the Wildcats’ eight-hit attack with two hits. Modler was 1 for 1 with two free passes.
Bennett continued his tear on CSN pitching, delivering his second three-hit game of the series in game two. Bennett’s three-run homer in the fifth pulled WNC within 4-3.
The Wildcats mounted a comeback against CSN closer Josh Nuernberg in the seventh. With one out, Blake Morin and Brandon Lapointe punched singles through the infield. But Nuernberg got Bennett to fly out to left and Brogan Secrist to line out to earn the save.
Matt Young (8-3) gave up four hits and four earned runs in four innings. He struck out four and walked two.
Modler and Lapointe each knocked out two hits and scored a run for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats (32-23 overall, 16-15 SWAC) and Coyotes (40-15, 22-9) conclude the regular season with a noon matchup today.
Two pitchers who are being counted on to deliver postseason victories locked up in a pitchers’ duel on Friday at Edmonds Sports Complex in Carson City.
WNC freshman Kristina George threw six scoreless innings and stranded 10 base runners to outshine CSN sophomore Megan Mello as the Wildcats posted a 3-2 Scenic West Athletic Conference softball victory. Kristina Nelson, however, scattered seven hits as the Coyotes won the second game, 5-1.
Wildcat center fielder Pamela Sakuma preserved the one-run victory with a diving catch of Mello’s shallow fly ball and the potential tying and winning runs on base.
Sakuma also delivered one of WNC’s key blows at the plate, connecting for a two-run double to break a scoreless tie in the fourth. Lauren Lesniak provided three of the Wildcats’ six hits, and Briauna Carter slammed a solo homer that proved to be the difference.
George finished with an eight-hitter while striking out three and walking two. Mello (14-8) was nearly as impressive, allowing six hits and three earned runs.
Carter extended WNC’s lead to 3-0 with a towering home run to left to lead off the fifth.
The Coyotes dominated game two behind the pitching of Nelson and a three-run homer by Vanessa Sanders.
Melanie Mecham and Sakuma collected two hits against Nelson, while Kaylee Jaussi lined a double.
WNC has a chance today to ensure its first home winning season in program history. The Wildcats are 9-8 going into a regular-season-ending doubleheader that’s scheduled to start at noon. The Wildcats will honor four sophomores today.
The Wildcats are now 15-22 in SWAC play and 20-27 overall. CSN is 22-16 and 30-19.
HIGH SCHOOL TRACK
Dayton hosts meet
The Dust Devils are playing host to the Lyon County Championships.
Action gets under way at 9 a.m.
Dayton and Fernley represent the Northern Division 1A, Silver Stage and Yerington are the Division III entrants and Smith Valley is from Division IV.
Benji and J.J. Ply (hurdles, high jump and pole vault) lead the Dayton boys along with Zach Hawley (discus, shot), Dallon Mendoza (400), Tobias Tapley (100, 200, relays) and Skyler Berntson (sprints, relays).
Kaylee Turner (shot put, discus) is the top performer for the girls.
The Northern Division 1A regionals are May 8-9 at Fernley.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
It was a tough trip all-around for Dayton after a six-hour bus ride, the Dust Devils were swept in a doubleheader by Elko, losing the opener 12-2 and the nightcap 13-3.
In the opener, Dayton lost one of its top hitters when D.J. Baker was struck by a line drive while pitching. “(That) took one of our best RBI bats out for the weekend,” Dayton coach Mike Burrows said. “We were thin coming in and this was a big blow.”
Keegan Engle and Jacob Nelson each went 1-for-2 with an RBI while Mason Haines, Baker and Dylan Baker all added a hit for Dayton.
Elko took charge in the nightcap by scoring seven runs in the first. Haines drove in all three runs and went 2-for-3 and Dylan Baker went 2-for-3 for Dayton.