May 11, 2012

Cats' Resiliency Nearly Pays Off in 12-10 Region Loss to CSN

Wildcats Go Out Swinging

Jordan Garcia
Jordan Garcia

Western Nevada's three freshmen pitchers have been under control throughout the 2012 softball season. They rarely issue walks and wild pitches. An untimely bout of wildness, however, besieged Jordan Garcia and the Wildcats on Friday, May 11 early in their Region XVIII Tournament game against College of Southern Nevada.

Garcia walked five batters and uncorked a two-run wild pitch during the first inning allowing the Coyotes to score five times en route to a 12-10 elimination game win over the Wildcats. The Wildcats finished their best season in the program's four-year history with a 21-41 overall record.

Despite their shaky start, WNC repeatedly rallied against the CSN, pulling as close as two runs on two separate occasions. They delivered 13 hits, including three off the bat of Jordan Thomas and a home run by Courtney Lange.

"It showed they have a lot of heart, coming back like they did," said WNC Interim Coach Rosie Contri. "They definitely played well."

Garcia nearly minimized the damage after giving up three runs and filling the bases with none out. She struck out two Coyotes before the two-run wild pitch.

WNC threatened in the second inning when Thomas doubled with one out, then Trinity Thom walked. But the next two hitters were retired to keep the Wildcats scoreless. Garcia stranded Coyotes at second and third bases in the second, keeping the score 5-0.

The Wildcats finally broke through in the third. Mikaela Henshaw started the rally with a base hit, and Jennifer Quam singled, moving Henshaw to second. Melanie Pfeiffer's bunt single loaded the bases for power-hitting Taleas Marble. Marble's liner to left field served as a sacrifice fly, scoring Henshaw with the Wildcats' first run. Niki DiSera's one-out infield single refilled the bases. The Coyotes' second baseman misplayed Thomas' ground ball, allowing Quam and Pfeiffer to score, cutting CSN's lead to 5-3. DiSera was caught trying to advance to third base for the second out, and Thom fanned to end the inning.

Garcia and her defense held the Coyotes scoreless for the second straight inning. With one Coyote on first base and one out, Pfeiffer caught a line drive, and threw to first to complete the double play.

The Wildcats continued their resurgence in the fourth, with a base hit by Lange, giving the team a leadoff runner. But a fielder's choice, a strikeout and a pop-up stifled the rally.

Alexia Alley relieved Garcia in the bottom of the inning. The Coyotes tallied four runs against the new Wildcat pitcher, building CSN's lead to 8-3. An infield fielding error by the Wildcats made the score 9-3.

Again, the resilient Wildcats rallied in their half of the fifth. With two already out, five WNC consecutive hitters reached base, including two by infield errors. Thom's run-scoring single and Lostra's two-run base hit to center pulled WNC within three. The score, 9-6. However, Lostra was tagged out trying to reach second base on the hit, ending the rally. CSN raised its lead to 12-6 in the bottom of the fifth.

The back-and-forth rallies didn't demoralize the Wildcats, who went to work on a comeback in the top of the sixth. Henshaw and Quam started the inning with base hits, putting runners on first and second. A Pfeiffer groundout to first moved the runners along, and Marble picked up her second sacrifice fly of the game, chasing home Henshaw to make the score 12-7. A throwing error by CSN third baseman on DiSera's ground ball plated Quam, and DiSera took second base on the throw home. Thomas hit a base knock down the right-field line, scoring DiSera and trimming CSN's lead to 12-9. Thom hit into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

WNC contained CSN in the bottom of the sixth, and Lange homered over the left-field fence to open the seventh, bringing the score within two, 12-10. The standout effort was not enough, ending the Wildcats’ tournament play and the season.

"Overall, it was a great season," Contri said. "We did a lot of things WNC softball hasn't done in the past. We're going to build on that and keep it going."

Thomas topped Western's offense by going 3-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Quam was 2-5 with two runs scored, Lange went 2-3 with a run and RBI, and Henshaw was 2-4 with two runs scored. Lostra and Marble each drove in two runs.

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Photo Gallery
Photos (Click to Enlarge)
Ali Cox gives encouragement to Katirina Rand Jordan Garcia makes a play at home plate. Jordan Thomas
Ali Cox gives encouragement to Katirina RandJordan Garcia makes a play at home plate.Jordan Thomas
Melanie Pfeiffer Melanie Pfeiffer Katirina Rand makes a play at home.
Melanie PfeifferMelanie PfeifferKatirina Rand makes a play at home.
Tag out at home plate WNC vs. CSN  
Tag out at home plateWNC vs. CSN  
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