Hits hard to come by for WNC softball in pair of losses
After being held to just one hit in the first game of its doubleheader Friday at Edmonds Sports Complex, the Western Nevada College softball team was just looking to see the zero disappear from its scoreboard.
While the chances hardly came in bunches, the Wildcats found their opportunity in the fourth inning when Alicia Merrell clubbed a double for their first hit of the game. Ashley Williams followed with a sharp single to bring Merrell in and erase that dreaded goose egg that has plagued the team this season.
The Wildcats went on to lose the game 16-1 in five innings to No. 20 Southern Idaho, but even that one run could be seen as a minor victory. Through its first 26 games, the Wildcats have dropped 13 games in which they have scored one run or less. They also dropped the first game of the series 9-0 for their sixth shutout of the year.
“We’ve yet to take our fundamentals from practice into the game,” WNC coach Leah Wentworth said. “I think when they get in there they’re really just wanting that big hit instead of just focusing in and punching the ball and putting it in play.”
WNC (3-17 Scenic West, 4-22) will play another doubleheader against Southern Idaho (15-5, 24-10) beginning at noon today.
In the first game of the day, the Wildcats went hitless until the fifth and final inning and saw the Golden Eagles’ batters drop 14 hits. Freshman pitcher Jennifer Watkins took the loss.
The Wildcats sought to get the hits in early and had their chance in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Francis Estrada was by the first pitch of the inning and Paige Savage laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her to second. And Alex Arciniega took a four pitch walk to put runners on first and second. But the Wildcats failed to hit safely in their next two at-bats – a ground out to short and fly to left – and left both runners on base.
“We’re still trying to work that out, trying to make sure that we don’t leave runners on. That was kind of part of our goal today,” Wentworth said. “We didn’t have a lot of opportunities today with baserunners.”
They failed to get another runner on until the fourth inning.
Meanwhile, Southern Idaho had little trouble putting runs on the board. It scored two in the first, went scoreless in the second and brought in four in the third thanks to two two-run homers. It added five more in the fifth just for good measure.
The game was destined to for the run rule after the fourth inning, but the Wildcats were still looking for their first hit. It came by way of Merrell who knocked a double up the third baseline on an 0-2 count. Williams had practiced showing a bunt before the pulling the bat back and swinging just one day before and she used that same tactic Friday.
“I just focused on I had to get a hit, no matter if it’s a big hit or a small hit,” Williams said. “Just get it in the gap so we can score that run.”
Elisa Dawson took the loss in three innings of work. She gave up 10 runs on nine hits. She also had four walks and one strikeout. Ashley Hall relieved Dawson in the fourth inning after she gave up four runs on two homers.