WNC softball signs 7 players | NevadaAppeal.com

WNC softball signs 7 players

Special to the Nevada Appeal

Western Nevada College has announced its 2013 softball recruiting class, and it has a familiar look. Seven of the eight signees have ties to Northern Nevada high school programs.

The Wildcats’ 2013 incoming recruits are Cara McCarthy of Bishop Manogue High School (Reno), Andi Lee of Reed High School (Sparks), Jenny Rechel and Cassie Bell of Churchill County High School (Fallon), Madi Gonzalez of Lowry High School (Winnemucca) and Carlee Beck of Layton High School in Layton, Utah.

Head Coach Leah Wentworth’s offseason recruiting class also includes a pair of players who competed locally in 2011: Reed High School graduate Ellen Sullivan and Spanish Springs High School grad Sydney Darby.

Last season, 14 of the 21 players on the Wildcats’ roster were products of high schools located in Northern Nevada, including five from Reno.

“One of our main goals and our vision for the program is to have a lot of local student athletes and provide them a place to play and attain their college education close to home,” Wentworth said.

McCarthy signed her letter of intent to become a Wildcat Tuesday during a ceremony at WNC. The first baseman was a key member of the first Miners’ softball team to make the Class 4A state tournament in 2011. This past season, McCarthy hit .302, including a home run, and knocked in 12 runs for the Miners, who finished with a 25-8 overall record and advanced to the Northern 4A Region tournament.

“She is really going to help us offensively,” Wentworth said. “She has a really strong bat. She hits for power, and she’ll help us out driving in some runs.” McCarthy had .343 on-base and .365 slugging averages during her senior season, as well as a .976 fielding average. She struck out just eight times in 69 plate appearances.

The 5-foot-6 McCarthy hit a walk-off home run to beat Reed 3-2 and send the Miners into the 2011 Northern 4A Region tournament championship game. Bishop Manogue went on to capture the regional championship and win its opening-round game in its first-ever 4A state tournament appearance.

McCarthy was a first-team all-league selection as a sophomore and a second-team all-leaguer as a junior. She received honorable mention as a senior.

Although McCarthy is being projected as a first baseman, Wentworth said she could also be called on to pitch.

The Wildcats’ recruiting class also includes Lee, who played an important role on Reed’s 2012 Northern 4A Region tourney runner-up and state tournament qualifier. A utility player, Lee hit .343 with a .387 on-base average, with 26 RBI, 20 runs scored and a triple during her senior season for the 31-8 Raiders.

Added to the mix are Churchill County teammates Rechel, a middle infielder, and Bell, an outfielder. Rechel was an all-state selection who helped the Fallon Greenwave win the Nevada Class 3A state title with a .431 batting average, 50 runs scored, and 30 RBI.

“It will be tough to fill (graduated) Melanie Pfeiffer’s shoes, but we believe Jenny can come in and compete at shortstop,” Wentworth said.

Bell complemented Rechel by batting .387 with a .491 on-base average and a .409 slugging average. She fielded 1.000, scored 42 runs and knocked in 16 for the 29-6 Greenwave.

“She’s a lefty slapper who has good bat control and will bring speed to our offense,” Wentworth said.

Gonzalez wore out opposing pitchers for the Lowry Buckaroos during her senior season, which ended in a state runner-up finish. The fleet-footed outfielder hit .453, scored 26 runs and drove home 17 runs. Ten of Gonzalez’s 29 hits went for extra bases, including six triples.

“Her speed in the outfield will be nice to have,” Wentworth said.

Beck was the workhorse of Layton, Utah’s pitching staff, compiling a 7-9 record and 4.15 earned run average. She was voted second-team All-State and a Region I first-team pitcher.

“She had other options, but she really liked the staff and the school,” Wentworth said.

Darby, a catcher/shortstop, was a member of the Spanish Springs Cougars’ 2010 state championship club. She signed with Dominican College in Orangeburg, N.Y., out of high school but didn’t play for the Chargers last season.

“She’s one of the stronger (area) athletes out there from 2011,” Wentworth said. “She definitely will help us out.” Darby hit .510 with 48 RBI and a .755 slugging average for Spanish Springs in 2011.

Sullivan, a first baseman and catcher, batted .264 and drove in 12 runs for the Reed Raiders in 2011. She attended college locally in 2011-12.

“She’s a big, strong girl who can help us offensive and defensively,” Wentworth said.