Wildcats receive top five ranking | NevadaAppeal.com

Wildcats receive top five ranking

Appeal StaffReport

The Western Nevada College baseball program has reached another new height: A preseason top five ranking.

Western Nevada has been ranked fifth in Collegiate Baseball’s poll for teams in the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association. The Wildcats were also the highest ranked West Coast team in the poll.

Three other West Coast teams were ranked: Arizona’s Cochise Community College at No. 13, Community College of Southern Nevada at No. 16 and Central Arizona Community College was also ranked in the top 20.

“It’s very flattering,” Wildcat coach D.J. Whittemore said. “It really puts a bullseye on our chest.

“I don’t think it will change the way we prepare. We’re going to continue to do the things that made us successful in the past which is throw strikes and play good defense.”

Whittemore kept the ranking in perspective, noting that it was the 2007 team that went to the JUCO World Series that actually earned the rating. He also noted that the 2008 team is young with an unproven pitching staff.

He also said that CCSN has to be considered the favorite in the Scenic West Athletic Conference. The Coyotes feature eight players who signed early with Division I schools and three players that have been taken in the first 10 rounds of the Major League draft. “I think in reality Southern Nevada is the team to beat,” Whittemore said.

There’s another accomplishment that Whittemore is more proud of: For the fifth consecutive semester – every semester of the program’s existence – Whittemore’s team has earned a cumulative grade point average above 3.0.

Fifteen of the 26 players on the 2008 team also completed 18 units during the fall semester. Athletes are required to take just 12 units while a full load is 15 units.

“I’m really proud of their effort,” Whittemore said. “They went way above and beyond.”