WNC softball rallies, but still swept
Only an out away from being swept by 18th-ranked College of Southern Idaho on the opening day of the Scenic West Athletic Conference softball season on Friday, the Western Nevada College Wildcats showed why they believe they’ll compete with the conference’s elite this season.
The Wildcats delivered three straight hits after two were out to score twice and force an extra inning in Twin Falls, Idaho. CSI went on to win the game, 6-5, on a two-out throwing error in the eighth inning, but WNC put forth a more complete game after losing the opener, 8-2.
“We made a good push at the end; it was just a bad throw that could have ended the inning instead of ending the game,” said WNC coach Leah Wentworth.
Following lineouts by Dakota Robinson and Makaylee Jaussi to open the seventh, Bailey Henderson doubled to trigger the final-out rally. Next, Melanie Mecham plated Henderson with a base hit to center field, trimming CSI’s lead to 5-4. Still needing a run, Noa Talia doubled to center, scoring Mecham from first with the tying run.
Despite back-to-back extra-base hits to start the bottom of the eighth inning, the Wildcats temporarily staved off defeat. Savannah Kirkpatrick began the inning with a double, but pinch-runner Sarah Phillips was thrown out at the plate by Talia on Cassidy Basinger’s double. Basinger went to third base on the throw home. With one out, Wentworth decided to set up a force at any base.
“We needed to load the bases to give ourselves the best chance of getting out of it,” said Wentworth of the strategy to intentionally walk the next two hitters.
It nearly worked as Jaussi threw out Basinger at the plate on Taylor Taybo’s grounder but then threw errantly to first on Haylee Eskelson’s groundball.
WNC scored first. In the second inning, Kacie Freudenberger, playing in her first game of the season, followed a Talia base hit with a home run.
WNC outhit CSI 13-12 behind Talia’s three-knock performance. Henderson, Mecham, Freudenberger and Kelsie Callahan each collected two hits.
Wildcats sophomore pitcher Kaitlyn Jimmy held the Golden Eagles scoreless in four separate innings. She allowed 12 hits and five earned runs in 7 2/3 innings.
Playing in their first game in nearly a month, the Wildcats struggled to score against CSI pitcher Kelsey Christensen in the opener. Christensen limited the Wildcats to six hits and one earned run.
However, the Wildcats did open the scoring in the first. Jaussi produced the first of her three hits. Mecham plated Jaussi with a double.
The Wildcats tallied an unearned run in the third against Christensen to pull within 3-2. Jaussi ignited the rally with an infield single, went to second on a Henderson bunt and scored on an error.
Jaussi finished 3 for 4 with two runs scored, while Mecham was 2 for 3 with a RBI.The teams collide for a series-ending doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. today. WNC’s overall record is now 5-8.