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Locals at Feather River

Feather River Community College’s baseball and softball teams are thinking postseason and a strong nucleus of local athletes is a major reason why.

The Golden Eagles have become a power in baseball in recent years and the team is again well on its way to earning another berth into the Northern California State playoffs. Feather River is also on its way to winning another Golden Valley Conference title. The Golden Eagles are currently in first in the conference with a 12-3 mark.

Among those playing a key role for Feather River is infielder Cal Lewis of Douglas High, who was scheduled to sign Wednesday with South Dakota State, which will begin Division I competition next season. Among other players contributing to Feather River this season have been pitchers Tommy Hoyle of Douglas and Rich Cummins of Galena.

Feather River’s softball team is also trying to earn a postseason berth. The Golden Eagles are 14-15 overall and in third in the GVC at 7-5 and trying to become one of the 16 teams to earn a berth in the NorCal playoffs.

The Golden Eagles have a strong nucleus of local athletes who have played a key role, including Carson High’s Heather Diamond and Kaitie Vidovich and Douglas High’s Cheryl Nicoll and Stevie Smith.

“I have the best kids on earth,” Feather River coach Merle Trueblood said. Trueblood also said he plans to continue to rely heavily on Northern Nevada players. “I’m going to get several more,” he said.

Among the local players he’s recruiting, Trueblood said, are Carson pitcher Mandy Carvin and Douglas pitcher Kellei Kizer.

Trueblood said he figures his team will have to win eight of its last 12 games to have a chance to make the playoffs. “We’ll be right there on the bubble and they can do it,” he said. “We’re going to have to win some crucial games in the next two weeks.”

Feather River has been hurt by the loss of Nicoll, who is out for the year with a knee injury. Nicoll was the team’s shortstop and leadoff hitter and was hitting above .400.

“Other than that, no big deal,” Trueblood said. “She’s probably my best sophomore right now. She’ll hurt us a lot.”

But Trueblood said Nicoll should move on to play at a four year school, “at least” Division II. “All my kids will move on,” Trueblood said. “We’re getting contacted every day.”

That includes Vidovich and Diamond. Diamond, an infielder and outfielder, is also hitting around .400 for the Golden Eagles, which have a .300 team average. “She is rock solid,” Trueblood said. “She’s probably my best hitter right now.”

Vidovich has played second base and left field for the Golden Eagles. “Very athletic, very well-rounded kid,” Trueblood said.

Smith has pitched and played third for Feather River. The freshman is the team’s No. 2 hitter and is another .400 hitter.

The Golden Eagles also miss Carson’s Bethany Henry, who tore a rotator cuff playing basketball for Feather River this past season. Trueblood said Henry, an outfielder, will return to the softball team next year.

Lewis has seen action at first, third and as a designated hitter with the Golden Eagle baseball team. He’s hitting .346 with 22 RBI.

Hoyle is Feather River’s No. 1 pitcher out of the bullpen. In nine appearances, he has a 3.20 earned run average with 17 strikeouts in 19 innings and one save.

“He’s got a good chance of going somewhere,” Feather River coach Reed Peters said. “He’ll probably end up at a DII.”

Cummins has just returned from an injury and in three appearances has yet to allow a run. “He’s done a good job,” Peters said.

Peters said Cummins could have a chance to play at Division II. But Cummins is an outstanding student and could decide to attend the University of Nevada or UNLV where he could possible walk on in either program, Peters said.

Despite Western Nevada Community College beginning a baseball program, Peters said he hopes to continue to recruit in Northern Nevada.

“It’s obviously going to be a challenge,” Peters said. “The’re all hard-nosed kids and they really work hard.

“I hope we can get a few more up there. I’ve kind of built the program off of those guys.”