May 10, 2012

Tough Tournament Start for Wildcats

Melanie Pfeiffer
Melanie Pfeiffer

The WNC softball team struggled in the opening round of the Scenic West Athletic Conference tournament Thursday in Taylorsville, Utah. The Wildcats lost 15-4 to Snow College, sending WNC to the loser’s bracket of the three-day, double-elimination tournament. WNC will now face College of Southern Nevada Friday at 8:30 a.m. PST.

The Wildcats were unable to cash in speedy Jennifer Quam at second base with no one out in the top of the first, then watched as Snow capitalized on an infield throwing error en route to a four-run uprising. The Wildcats never recovered.

Four different Badgers belted home runs as Snow built a commanding 14-2 lead through three innings. WNC got untracked offensively, rapping eight hits, including three players with two apiece, but the early deficit was too much to overcome.

Quam led off the game with an infield single off Snow starting pitcher Katie Greenberg. The freshman from Reno then stole second her school-record 56th base of the season. But the heart of the Wildcats' batting order couldn't bring her home as Melanie Pfeiffer and Taleas Marble flew out to left field and Niki DiSera popped up to the shortstop.

In the bottom of the first, Snow was content to play for a single run after Kelsey Simmonds' base hit to center. Sara Park sacrificed Simmonds to second. An Allee Carter single sent Simmonds to third, and Greenberg delivered the first run with a base hit to left.

With runners on first and second bases and one out, the Wildcats had an opportunity to douse the rally but Pfeiffer made a throwing error, and Carter beat the throw home to score Snow's second run. WNC still had a chance to come out of the inning within striking range, but after Alexia Alley fanned Sarah Basinger, Tauni McFarlane hit a double to the gap in left-center field, scoring two runs for a 4-0 Snow lead.

WNC also stranded Jordan Thomas at second base with none out in the second. Thomas walked and advanced to second base on a passed ball. But Greenberg buckled down, striking out the next two hitters and getting a third on a groundout to first.
Snow plated six runs in the second inning, three coming on home runs. Greenberg blasted a solo homer and McFarlane slammed a two-run shot to make the score 10-0.

Ali Lostra relieved Alley with one out in the second. Alley, who had two errors committed behind her, surrendered eight hits and six earned runs.

WNC tried to pressure Greenberg with its running game in the third frame. After Quam reached base on a fielder's choice, she stole her second base of the game. Pfeiffer's bunt single moved her to third, and then Pfeiffer stole second as well. Marble, playing against her former team, stroked a single to center to score Quam with WNC's first run. Pfeiffer took third on the base hit and came home with the Wildcats' second run on DiSera's single to center.

The Wildcats loaded the bases with two outs on a base hit by Lostra, but Greenberg got out of the jam when Katirina Rand lined out to third base. Carter got the two runs back when she hammered a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the third. The roundtripper scored Simmonds, who reached base for the third time with a base hit. After Lostra walked Greenberg, Rachael Hunsaker smashed a two-run homer to give Snow a 14-2 lead.

The deficit didn't quiet the Wildcat bats. With two outs and Mikaela Henshaw on base in the fourth, Pfeiffer and Marble stroked two-out hits to fill the bases. Next, DiSera collected her second and third RBI of the afternoon with a base hit down the left-field line, trimming Snow's lead to 14-4. Greenberg, however, prevented any additional damage by getting Thomas to pop up to short.

Snow tacked on another run in the fourth, and WNC put two runners on base after two were out in the fifth, but Greenberg retired Quam on a groundout to end the game.

DiSera, Pfeiffer and Marble produced two hits apiece to pace the Wildcats' offense.

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Photo Gallery
Photos (Click to Enlarge)
Ali Lostra Jennifer Quam Reaches for Home Run Ball Jordan Thomas
Ali LostraJennifer Quam Reaches for Home Run BallJordan Thomas
Katirina Rand Melanie Pfeiffer  
Katirina RandMelanie Pfeiffer  
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