The Wildcats softball team is looking ahead to next year after it was eliminated Friday from the Region 18 softball tournament. WNC fell to Snow College 6-3 in a seven-inning contest.
Head Coach Leah Wentworth said her young team came into the tournament as an underdog in a stellar league that includes the No. 1 ranked team in the country - Salt Lake Community College - and 12th ranked College of Southern Idaho.
"We came on strong in the second half of the season, and in the tournament, we were glad to be able to keep the games close and competitive."
Friday, WNC came out firing and grabbed a 2-0 lead when Alicia Merrell hit a two-run RBI in the top of the first inning, scoring Frances Estrada and Ashley Hall.
After holding Snow scoreless in the bottom of the inning, the Wildcats tallied two hits in the second inning - a leadoff double by second baseman Alex Arciniega and a single by Estrada. But the Wildcats couldn't score again until the third inning, when they stretched the lead to 3-0 on a double by Hall and an RBI single by Merrill to bring her home.
Snow tallied three runs in the third inning to tie the score, then went ahead for good in the fifth inning, scoring two runs. The Wildcats' offense cooled off, and Snow added one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning for the final score.
Coach Wentworth credited Merrell for being the Wildcats' offensive sparkplug, and leftfielder Chrissy Lawton for her defense, as well as the pitching of starting pitcher Jennifer Watkins.
"We learned so much this year," the first-year coach said of both her team and herself. "We're looking forward to getting out strong from the start next season," she said, adding that she's looking forward to having injured pitcher Cassie Vondrak back on the mound for 2011.
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