WNCC baseball moves into second
After a four-game sweep on the road, the Western Nevada Community College baseball team finds itself in a race for second in the Scenic West Conference.
WNCC finished off its sweep at Eastern Utah on Saturday, winning the opener 8-3 and the nightcap 8-2. The Wildcats (19-13) are now in a three-way tie for second in the Scenic West.
WNCC and Dixie State are 13-7 while Southern Idaho is 12-6. Community College of Southern Nevada is in first at 18-6.
A second place finish in conference would be huge as it would mean a first round bye in the Scenic West Conference. WNCC will travel to Southern Idaho this Friday and Saturday for a huge four-game series. “We’ve got to go up and try to get a split,” WNCC coach D.J. Whittemore said.
The Wildcats also made history in their inaugural season, winning a road series for the first time. While Eastern Utah (9-21) fell to 3-17 in conference, Whittemore noted that Eastern Utah has road wins against CCSN and Southern Idaho.
“This was a pretty big sweep for us,” Whittemore said. “This feels really good, this is very gratifying.
“They just grinded away all weekend like they’ve done all year. Winning four games on the road is not very easy.”
WNCC also fought through nagging injuries to come away with the sweep. Catcher Taylor Meiras pulled a hamstring on Friday and was replaced on Saturday by Chadd Dudley.
The Wildcats were also without two of their top pitchers in Josh Brink and Mason Tobin, who were held out for precautionary reasons. Brink had a pulled hamstring and Mason had a sore shoulder.
“If it was the last weekend of they year they would pitch,” Whittemore said. “But we have confidence in every member of the pitching staff.”
WNCC pitchers rewarded Whittemore’s confidence as the bullpen allowed just one run all weekend. Winning pitcher Stephen Sauer started game one while Jake Bottari pitched well in relief.
Chad Riddle started game two while Bottari was the winning pitcher in relief. T.J. Wohlever finished up in the seventh inning, reaching 91 miles per hour on his fastball.
Carson High graduate Aaron Henry was also nursing a sore knee and was replaced in center field in both games by Douglas High’s Chad Walling. Whittemore praised the play of Walling and of Dudley as well.
Whittemore said all of the players nursing nagging injuries should be available against Southern Idaho.
Eastern Utah scored three runs in the second to take a 3-0 lead in the opener, but WNCC came right back to score three runs to tie the game 3-3 in the third. Thomas Miller ignited the rally with his third home run of the year, a solo shot.
WNCC had 11 hits in both games. “It was great to get the offense going,” Whittemore said.
“It got contagious once we started hitting. It was really nice to see. Everybody started swinging the bat pretty well.”
Miller also had a double and two other hits on the day. Kyle Bondurant had five hits on the day. Miller, Bondurant and Pat Grennan all had seven hits while Tyson Jaquez had six hits on the weekend. Brad Carlsen went 2-for-4 with a double in Saturday’s second game.