Wildcats blank CSN, reach title game
HENDERSON — Western Nevada College moved into the championship game of the Scenic West Athletic Conference with a 10-0 mercy rule win over top-seeded College of Southern Nevada on Friday at Morse Field.
The win sends the Wildcats, 41-18, into today’s noon championship against either CSI, Southern Nevada or Salt Lake. WNC must be beaten twice today. The winner advances to Arizona for the regional tournament.
Christian Stolo tossed 4-hit shutout, while Mike Umscheid drove in three runs with Matt Becker and Connor Klein adding two RBIs apiece.
“Christian only threw 100 pitches,” coach D.J. Whittemore said. “He was very efficient and threw a lot of strikes. He and catcher Cole Ferguson were always one step ahead of their hitters.
“The impressive thing is the team’s mentality that is developing. I credit the sophomores like A.J. Hernandez, Mike Umscheid, Cole Ferguson and Donald Glover for that.”
All the WNC scoring came in two innings. The Wildcats scored six in the sixth and four in the eighth. The game was stopped after eight on the run rule.
Stolo and Will Morris both had shutouts through five innings.
Stolo singled and Joey Crunkilton walked to open the sixth. Conor Harber forced Stolo at third, but Klein walked to load the bases. Mike Umscheid followed with a two-run single to break the scoreless tie. After a wild pitch moved both runners up a base, Cole Ferguson singled home a run to make it 3-0. AJ Hernandez walked to load the bases, and then Tony Roque and Becker followed with run-scoring hits. CSN used three pitchers in the inning.
In the eighth, Roque hit a one-out triple and scored on Becker’s single. Becker stole second and Stolo walked. After a double steal, Crunkilton was called out on strikes. Harber was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Klein followed with a two-run single. Umscheid followed with another run-scoring hit to make it 10-0.
WNC has been in this position before only to be swept on the final day, and Whittemore isn’t counting his chickens before they are hatched. He knows better.
However with back-to-back complete games by his pitchers, he has a lot of fresh arms to use on Saturday. Phil Belding will get the start today.
“He (Belding) is a good pitcher, and he’s thrown well in big games this year,” Whittemore said. “CSN and Salt Lake both have quite a few quality pitchers left as well.”
TWIN FALLS, Idaho —WNC’s reward for winning its first-ever postseason game was the No. 4-ranked Golden Eagles of College of Southern Idaho on their home field at the Region 18 softball tournament.
Some teams would shudder at the thought of playing a team that has won 47 of 57 games, especially after losing its tournament opener to North Idaho.
The Wildcats put themselves in position for an enormous upset, taking a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning behind some clutch hitting by Sydney Darby and a game pitching effort by Ali Lostra. But the Golden Eagles used two home runs in the late going to pull out a 7-2 elimination win.
“A lot of the girls in this program have been part of championships teams, and they were able to make the separation from regular season to the postseason,” said WNC coach Leah Wentworth as to why her club wasn’t intimidated by the nationally ranked Golden Eagles. “We fought like crazy to keep in that game.”
Lea Hopson hit a game-tying solo homer in the fifth inning and Whitney Littledike launched a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning. Patti Ferguson added a three-run double in the pivotal sixth to give the Golden Eagles a 7-2 lead.
Winning pitcher Sierra Whitmer denied WNC any offensive spark in the seventh, setting down the Wildcats 1-2-3 to end the game.
The Wildcats finished their season with a 19-43 record.
In the fifth inning, Darby put WNC on top for the first time with a two-out double to left field, scoring Lostra, who started the rally with a one-out walk.
“Syd has swung a good bat for us all year, and she did her job today and got those runs in,” Wentworth said.
The Golden Eagles quickly tied the score at 2 in the fifth when Hopson hit a one-out homer to left. Aubrey Whitmer followed with a base hit, ending Lostra’s sparkling stint on the mound.
Darby and Quam accounted for all four of the Wildcats’ hits. Darby was 2 for 3 with two RBI, while Quam went 2 for 4 with a run scored and two stolen bases.