Young pitchers come through for Dust Devils
GARDNERVILLE — You can never have enough pitching when it comes to high school softball and baseball.
For that reason, the Dayton Dust Devils received a double dose of good news on Thursday when Jayce Dillie and Lauren Fisher turned in complete game performances to help their respective teams win nonconference games against Whittell.
Dillie, a sophomore moved up from the J.V. club, allowed seven hits over seven innings to post an 8-4 victory in his varsity debut. And Fisher, a freshman, pitched a five-hitter to help Dayton defeat host Whittell 20-6 in action at Lampe Park.
Both performances were vital for the Dust Devils, who visit Lyon County rival Fernley for important Northern 3A doubleheaders today at noon.
Dillie, who has primarily been a No. 3 starter and long reliever for Dayton’s J.V., threw five innings of shutout ball before Whittell scored three runs in the sixth inning and one run in the seventh. The right-hander walked five batters, all in the last two innings, and struck out two.
“We were looking to get three or four innings out of Jayce, so to get seven, that was just awesome,” Dayton coach Craig Miller said. “Because he did that, all of our pitchers are rested for Fernley, and hopefully we can take advantage of that.”
Fisher, who normally plays first base, gave up three runs in the first inning but was effective the rest of the way en route to her first high school win and first complete game.
“She was a little nervous in that first inning, but it was nice to see her throw a complete game,” Dayton coach Dusti Houk said. “You never know when you’re going to need your No. 2 pitcher so it’s nice to know she’s there if we need her.”
It provided an opportunity to rest ace Nicole Greer, who had thrown 35 innings in five days, including both ends of a doubleheader split against conference-leading Bishop Manogue on Saturday.
Dayton’s softball and baseball teams are looking to keep their chances for second-place in the Northern 3A races alive today in Fernley.
Dayton scored twice in the first inning and four runs in the sixth to build an 8-0 lead against a Whittell squad that is battling for second-place in its Northern 2A race. The Warriors, who presented coach Don Amaral with his 100th win on Tuesday, face a key doubleheader Saturday against Hawthorne.
The Dust Devils showed some variety in their four-run sixth. After Tom O’Brien singled to load the bases, Zane Walker brought one run home and reached base with a successful squeeze bunt. Andrew Rice followed with another bunt for a base hit and Casey Skog lined a single to center field to bring another run home.
Miller was pleased to see success in the short game.
“We work on that all the time,” he said. “We’re not the type of team that’s going to hit a lot of home runs, so we need to be able to move guys along on the bases and generate some offense that way.”
Skog hit 2-for-3 with one RBI for Dayton.
Whittell’s three-run rally in the bottom of the sixth was ignited by Chris Shapiro’s RBI double off the left field fence, followed by Dan Shapiro’s double down the right field line. Dan Shapiro, a senior, also got his first start on the mound for the Warriors and worked into the sixth.
The Dust Devils scored five runs in the fourth inning and seven runs in the sixth to break open what had been a close battle.
Kaitlen McKinnon hit 4-for-5 with two RBI and Keeli Garcia 4-for-5 with one RBI to lead Dayton’s 15-hit attack. Jesse Ayres went 2-for-4 with four RBI, including a two-run triple in the fourth, Melony Cox was 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI, Michelle Bowman 2-for-4 and Amanda Sbragia 2-for-5. Sara Simmons and Bailey Garcia had two RBI each.
“I was very, very pleased with the way we came out and hit the ball today,” Houk said. “We had lots of positives come out of today.”
Anna Kingman hit a two-run triple to spark Whittell’s first inning rally. Kingman, who hits in the cleanup spot for the Warriors, came up with the bases loaded and no outs in the third, but Fisher retired her on a ground ball to second base and escaped from the threat with only one run allowed (on a wild pitch).