Wins elude Western Nevada College
It’s easy for a team to go into its shell following a pair of lopsided losses just the day before, but the Western Nevada College softball team found a cornerstone toward building the confidence it needs to add to the win column.
While the Wildcats fell to No. 20 College of Southern Idaho 13-11 and 5-2 Saturday at Edmonds Sports Complex, it was seeing themselves compete with one of the top teams in the Scenic West Athletic Conference that may plant a seed toward the future of the fledgling program.
“I think our confidence level is really up there,” WNC coach Leah Wentworth said. “They fought really hard and got all those runs in the first game. They didn’t die all day. They kept putting pressure, kept putting the ball in play.
“I think we finally turned the corner and now we’re in the right direction.”
WNC is now 3-19 in conference and 4-24 overall, while CSI moved to 17-5 and 26-10 overall. WNC has a bye this week and will play at 13th-ranked Salt Lake Community College on March 26.
Early on it looked as if the Wildcats would take part in another run-rule shortened game, as it did Friday against CSI in 16-1 and 9-0 four-inning losses. They trailed 9-2 in the fourth inning before putting a pair of runs on the board. The action really got going in the fifth, though, as they scored nine runs in the inning.
Alex Arciniega led off with an infield single and Alicia Merrell pounded a double off the right field fence. Ashley Williams hit a grounder through the gap between third base and shortstop to bring Arciniega in from third.
Lisa Senko followed with another double to right field to clear the bases and get within 9-7. She moved to third on the throw home.
The Golden Eagles pulled starting pitcher Kelsey Bryant following the hit for Brie Diamond, who the Wildcats struggled with because of her slower velocity. The change didn’t matter, though.
Kelsey Farr hit into a fielder’s choice back to Diamond, who threw home in effort to tag out Senko who was stuck between home and third. She turned back toward third and the throw followed, but the ball went offline and Senko was able to score to pull the Wildcats within 9-8.
Ashley Hall grounded up the middle, moving Farr to third, and went to second on a throw home. Anastacia Kreider followed with a single back up the middle to drive in Farr and Hall and give the Wildcats an 10-9 lead. She tried to reach second on the throw home, but was tagged out at second for the first out of the inning.
“I didn’t really care (where the ball landed),” Kreider said. “I haven’t been hitting that well, so to get a hit instead of just solid whiffing it in the first two, just to get that hit I was so excited.”
The Wildcats added one more run in the inning on an Arciniega RBI-ground out.
Trouble began to brew, though, during all the excitement. When Hall returned to the circle to pitch the top of the sixth, she could barely walk. Her cleat caught third base when she was coming home and she twisted her ankle. She wasn’t able to through her warm up pitches and was pulled for Jennifer Watson.
Watson retired the batters in order and WNC failed to put any more runs on the board in the home half of the inning.
In the seventh, Chelsea Nix ledoff for the Golden Eagles with a single to center. Watson sat down the next two batters, but Nix advanced to third in process. Mikkel Griffin hit an RBI single and after intentionally walking Lyndi Miller, Watson was pulled for Elisa Dawson.
The pitching change didn’t work. Dawson gave up the tying run on a Kelsey Bryant single to centerfield and a two-RBI single to Brittany Gonzales after the ball the ball was miss handled by outfielders Chrissy Lawton and Merrell. The Golden Eagles took a 13-11 lead.
WNC got a double from Merrell in the bottom of the inning, but couldn’t get another baserunner on.
In the second, the Wildcats had the game-tying run at the plate with two outs in the seventh when Dawson came up to bat. But she struck out swinging and took the loss.
“I’m really happy with how things worked out today,” Wentworth said. “Now we just need to work on closing the door. A lot of those runs came with two outs, a lot of them in the first game and probably most of them in the second game. So, yeah, now we’re getting the first couple of batters out, now we just need to close the door on them.”