January 31, 2010

Wildcats Compete in Las Vegas Tournament

Softball Team Gets First Win

Western Nevada College's softball team notched its first win of the season to end a difficult weekend that had all the trappings of a coming of age. Before the win on Sunday, the young Wildcats team lost five straight games, including its season opener against the defending 2009 NJCAA Division I national champions, Yavapai College of Arizona, at a tournament in Las Vegas.

WNC fell to Yavapai, 12-2, then stumbled against Arizona Western College, 7-1, Central Arizona College, 7-4, South Mountain College, 8-1, and Pima Community College, 9-1, before hitting to a 12-0 shutout of Gateway College.

First-year Wildcats Coach Leah Wentworth said her team performed well despite the losses. "There were a lot of positives," as WNC scored in every game, and three Wildcats players batted 500 or above for the weekend against "really good competition," she said. "These are year-round teams that have been practicing outside" while the Wildcats have been working indoors and waiting for the snow to melt on Edmonds Park Field A in Carson City, where they will play home games this year.

The second year team includes eight freshmen and seven sophomores, most of whom hail from Nevada, including Carson City, Sparks, Fernley, Lovelock, Stagecoach, Winnemucca and Las Vegas. Wentworth said her team made significant progress to build on before heading into Scenic West Conference play in a few weeks. "There were things we needed to work on, defensively, and we were putting the ball in play," she said. "I feel good about where we started and where we are going."

Against Gateway College of Phoenix, the Wildcats found their stride along with 15 hits that led to the 12-0 win.

"Finally, everything came together," the coach said. "We looked like the Wildcats I knew we were." Every player in the lineup had at least one hit, and Elisa Dawson pitched a complete game, giving up only two hits.

Highlights included Alissa Rampa who hit 3-3 including a triple and RBI, and also scored two runs; Paige Savage who hit 2-3 with three runs; Kelsie Fahr and Lisa Senko, who each hit 2-3 with one run and one RBI; Dawson, who hit 2-3 with one run; Alicia Merrell who hit 1-2 with an RBI and one run; Ashley Williams who hit 1-3 with an RBI double and scored one run; and Ashley Hall who was 1-3 at the plate and scored one run.

Against Yavapai, Alex Arciniega scored on a double by Hall in the third inning, and Rampa brought home Fahr for Western. Senko hit one of two.

Against Arizona Western, fielding mistakes beleaguered the Wildcats in the early going, but the team settled down and played error free ball in the final four innings. Offensively, Frances Estrada hit 2-3 including an RBI that brought Merrell home for WNC's only score. Rampa and Merrell hit one each; Savage was 1-3.

On Saturday, Western lost a close game to Central Arizona College, 7-4, but tallied 10 hits and committed only one error. "Offensively, we were really putting a lot into it," Coach Wentworth said. "We gave them a better game; it was winnable."

Rampa scored runs in the second and fifth innings on hits by Fahr and Senko, who each hit 2-3. Rampa also drove in two RBIs, scoring Hall and Savage, who hit 2-3, while Williams and freshman Dawson each recorded a hit.

In game four, the Wildcats managed six hits but couldn't convert in an 8-1 loss to South Mountain College. Rampa scored the Wildcats' only run on an RBI by Arciniega, and was 1-2 at the plate. Savage hit 2-3 and Estrada had a hit.

Pima Community College handled WNC in game five, 9-1, hitting to a 6-0 lead off three errors in the second inning. Wildcats pitcher Jennifer Watkins took the mound in the third inning and held Pima scoreless as she pitched through the fifth, when WNC scored its only run. Dawson hit a triple to set up an RBI by Chrissy Lawton, who had a base hit off the bench. But the Wildcats gave up three runs on four hits late in the game for the final score.

The Wildcats will head for St. George, Utah next week for doubleheaders against Salt Lake Community College (Feb. 10-11) and Colorado Northwestern Community College (Feb. 12-13).

Press Release: February 3, 2010

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