Western Nevada Community College's new baseball team hit a leadoff home run in its inaugural season debut, winning three of its first four games in Henderson. The Wildcats beat three nationally ranked National Junior College Athletic Association teams in what was an incredible start for the new baseball program.
"It was a great confidence boost and showed us that we can compete against anyone else out there," Baseball Coach D.J. Whittemore said. "We learned a lot about our team and our competition."
The Wildcats won their first game ever on Friday, Jan. 27, beating No. 15 Glendale Community College of Arizona, 4-2. WNCC scored all four runs in the first inning on four walks, an RBI single by Tyson Jaquez, and a wild pitch, and then relied on solid pitching from Justin Garcia who allowed only two runs on five hits in seven innings. Stephen Sauer earned the save by pitching two scoreless innings.
WNCC played again later that evening and won its second contest 6-3 over the No. 12 Community College of Southern Nevada. Cole Rohrbough, Dan Grubbs and Chad Riddle all combined to limit their in-state rival to four hits and three runs. Jaquez, Pat Grennan and Thomas Miller had two hits apiece, with Miller smacking a clutch two-run double in the third inning.
After playing late Friday night, the Wildcats had to come back and play at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Their fatigue showed in a 10-3 loss to Scottsdale (Ariz.), Community College. Starting pitcher Mason Tobin allowed just two runs in 5.1 innings, but the Wildcats' defense and bullpen committed three errors and walked eight batters. Kyle Bondurant contributed an RBI and two hits in the loss.
The Wildcats closed out the four-game series with a 2-0 victory over No. 6 South Mountain Community College (Ariz.). Josh Brink and Stephen Sauer held South Mountain, who played in last year's NJCAA College World Series, to three hits in the shutout. WNCC scored in the sixth and seventh innings when Aaron Henry and Brad Carlsen came through with two-out RBI singles.
"We just wanted to play hard and look respectable in our opening games," Whittemore said. "This start surpassed my expectations."
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