Wildcats Move into Top 10
An 11-game winning streak and a jaw-dropping team earned run average are propelling Western Nevada College up the national baseball rankings.
National Junior College Athletic Association and Perfect Game have elevated the Wildcats to 10th in their most recent polls. WNC, which is off to the best start in program history with a 19-5 overall record, was previously ranked 18th by the NJCAA and 15th by Perfect Game.
“We don’t really have any time to notice the polls,” said Head Coach D.J. Whittemore. “We’re thankful for the recognition, but the truth is you have to prove it on the field.”
WNC’s national rankings and their Scenic West Athletic Conference lead will be tested by their always-strong rival, College of Southern Nevada, (17-7) during a four-game series this weekend in Henderson.
“Our focus is trying to get better faster,” Whittemore said. “We have our hands full on the road, playing against our rival. They are a hot team and a good team and somebody we’re focusing all our attention on.”
Western Nevada opened the SWAC with eight straight wins, in large part, because of pitching. The Wildcats have a razor-sharp 1.69 team ERA. WNC’s four main starting pitchers" Andrew Woeck, Dylan Baker, Matt Robertson and Tyler Spencer" have a combined 15-2 record and ERAs of 1.40 or lower.
The Wildcats also have five players hitting above .360, including Neil Lawhorn at .435, Donald Glover Jr. (.412), Dillon Ness (.388), AJ Hernandez (.365) and Zach Hendrix (.362).
“We have a balanced team, and what really stands out is the inspired drive to be the best that so many of our players possess innately,” Whittemore said. “There is a great deal of unselfishness as well.”
Louisburg College, N.C., which is unbeaten in 27 games, holds the No. 1 spot in the NJCAA poll. Salt Lake, which is second to WNC in the SWAC standings, is rated 15th with a 16-3 mark.
Howard College of Big Spring, Texas, tops the Perfect Game poll with a 16-2 record. Salt Lake is ranked 16th in the top-20 poll.
WNC is no stranger to national recognition and honors. Since the program launched in 2006, the Wildcats have finished third in NJCAA World Series in 2009 and fifth in 2007.
Live play-by-play commentary of the game is available online at http://carsonnow.org/play-play-chris-graham
Online broadcasting of all WNC 2012 baseball games is made possible only through community donations and the volunteer work of announcer Chris Graham. He has donated his time as the voice of the Wildcats because of his love of the team and his desire to develop his broadcasting skills toward a future career.
To contribute, mail donations to Chris Graham at 2111 California St., Apt. B, Carson City, NV 89701.
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