Move Above .500 in SWAC
Success on the road requires that a team perform at a high level in all phases of the game. That's just what the Western Nevada College softball team did against Colorado Northwestern Community College over the weekend in Rangely, Colo.
Propelled by power hitting, slick fielding and precise pitching, the Wildcats swept a three-game set from Colorado Northwestern, 8-4, 12-2 and 9-1. The victories improved WNC's Scenic West Athletic Conference record to above .500 at 4-3. One scheduled game was cancelled due to inclement weather.
"All in all, we did a great job," said Western Nevada Coach Leah Wentworth. "It's definitely the strongest our team has started the season. The preseason games helped tremendously to prepare for conference. This is our year to take off."
The Wildcats continued to build off their upset win at second-ranked Salt Lake Community College on February 11 to raise their winning streak to four games. In three contests at Colorado Northwestern, Western Nevada made just one error; smashed four homers, including a grand slam; and overpowered the Spartans on the mound.
"Our pitchers did a really good job of moving the ball around and getting some strikeouts," Wentworth said. Jordan Garcia and Ali-Marie Lostra combined on a three-hitter and nine strikeouts in the opening win. Garcia worked four innings, allowing just two hits and setting down six hitters on strikes. The strikeouts were welcome for Wentworth and a defense that committed only one error behind the pitchers.
"We've faced some strong competition and this, generally, is a good-hitting league," Wentworth said. "It was great for us to get the strikeouts."
The WNC pitching duo had ample offensive support, too. Katirina Rand had a breakout performance at the plate, going 3-4 with two doubles and four RBI. "She only had two at-bats before this weekend," Wentworth said.
WNC's Lyzette Aguilar was a tough out as well, with a hitting line of 2-2, two RBI and a run scored. In addition, Jennifer Quam was 2-5; Alia Cox, 1-2 with a RBI and run scored; Lostra, 1-2 with a run; and Ashley Gleason, 1-4 with a run scored. WNC ended the series with a pair of five-inning victories.
The Wildcats scored four times in the first inning, once in the second, four in the third and three in the fifth to win 12-2. Western Nevada hit three home runs, including two by Taleas Marble, who now has five for the season. Her latest included a three-run blast and solo shot in consecutive at-bats.
"She's seeing the ball incredibly well," said Wentworth. Marble has a .813 slugging average and only two strikeouts in 64 at-bats.
And, she wasn't the only Wildcat to hit for power. Melanie Pfeiffer stepped to hit 3-3 with three RBI and two runs scored. She knocked in two runs with a triple. Lostra added a solo homer. The surplus of offense also included Quam rapping two hits, scoring twice and knocking in a run; Rand going 1-4 with a run and RBI; Tori Crowell and Trinity Thom, 1-3 with a run scored and RBI; Jordan Thomas, 1-2 with a run scored; and Niki DiSera, 1-1 with a run scored.
Alexia Alley pitched the five-inning distance to earn the win. Alley allowed four hits, struck out six and walked one. In the finale, WNC again took care of business in five innings, winning 9-1. Cox belted a grand slam to cap a six-run second inning that gave WNC a 7-0 lead. Rand completed a .500 weekend at the plate by hitting 2-4 with a double and triple. She also scored twice and delivered an RBI. Also for WNC, Marble was 2-3 with an RBI; Lostra, 1-3 with an RBI; DiSera, 1-2 with two runs scored; Crowell, 1-3 with a run; and Quam and Pfeiffer, 1-3 with a run scored.
Lostra became the third Wildcat hurler to earn a victory for the weekend. In her four-inning stint in the circle, She gave up five hits, fanned three and walked one. Garcia threw the final inning, permitting a hit and walk. Wet field conditions canceled the opening day of the scheduled four-game series on February 17, so the teams decided to play a triple-header the following day.
"We would have liked to get in all four games. They didn't have lights, or we would have been able to do it," Wentworth said.
The Wildcats (9-12) will continue conference play February 24-25 at North Idaho College, their third straight series on the road. WNC's home-opening series is March 2-3 against Snow College at Edmonds Sports Complex in Carson City.
Press Release: February 19, 2012
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