Win Three in a Row on the Road
Turning defeat into victory was just what the Western Nevada College softball team needed. After four losses to start their weekend stand in Yuma, Ariz., the Wildcats grabbed three straight to get on the winning track.
WNC scored five times in the top of the seventh inning to rally past El Paso (Texas) Community College 8-7 on Friday,
“It was just an unbelievable comeback where the girls pulled together and were so supportive of one another,” said WNC Coach Leah Wentworth. “The girls were so anxious to get that first win, they were adding pressure on themselves.
EL Paso took a 7-3 lead into the final inning, but the Wildcats packaged six hits, including three for extra bases, in their final at-bat to pull out their first win of the season.
Fallon product Jennifer Rechel’s bases-clearing double highlighted the comeback. The two-bagger came with two outs, scoring Andrea Lee, Ali Marie Lostra and Alia Cox. The other big blows of the inning were Maddison Gonzalez’s RBI triple and Sydney Darby’s RBI double. Heather Septon and Lostra contributed bases hits in the seventh.
“Sydney and Jenny are really settling in at the plate, driving the ball,” Wentworth said. “A couple other girls have potential to go hard, and they are just settling in with their timing.”
Lostra, working in relief of starter Alisha Nielsen, earned the victory. She struck out three and allowed no earned runs in four innings.
Septon, Lee, Lostra and Jennifer Quam supplied two hits apiece to pace the Wildcats’ 12-hit attack.
The Wildcats kept the momentum going on Saturday, winning their final two games behind outstanding pitching performances. WNC pummeled El Paso 10-1 in a rematch as Carlee Beck pitched a complete game six-hitter, and Darby and Gonzalez combined to drive in seven runs. Beck surrendered six hits and one earned run to pick up her first collegiate victory.
The Wildcats pulled away in the fourth inning, scoring four times to build a 6-1 lead. The inning started innocently enough with Lee lining out to left field and Nielsen bouncing out to third. But a hit batter and walk set up Quam for an RBI single. Gonzalez’s base hit loaded the bases. With nowhere to put Darby, the freshman delivered a three-run double to center field.
After tacking on a run in the sixth, the Wildcats erupted for three more runs in the seventh. Rechel started the rally with a single to center. After a force out, Nielsen and Septon followed with hits to load the bases. With two outs, Quam reached on an error by the pitcher that enabled Nielsen to score from third. Gonzalez’s two-run single to center plated Fox and Septo, finishing the scoring.
Darby ended with two hits and four RBI and Gonzalez was 2 for 5 with three RBI. WNC’s offensive stars also included Cox with two hits and three runs scored, Rechel with two hits and Quam three runs scored and two stolen bases.
In their tournament finale, WNC came back from a 1-0 deficit to beat Golden West College of Huntington Beach, Calif., 3-1.
The Wildcats trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning but responded with a two-out rally. Septon’s one-out base hit got the rally going, and her steal of second base with two outs moved her in scoring position. Quam put runners on the corners with an infield hit, then Gonzalez’s RBI infield hit plated Septon to knot the score at 1. Darby’s bunt single filled the bases, and WNC went ahead for good when Rechel’s walk sent Quam home. Lee’s single to short scored Gonzalez, providing WNC with an insurance run.
“That was definitely key for us, to come back in the later innings again,” Wentworth said. “They now have the confidence that they can do that.”
Nielsen allowed just two hits over the first three innings before handing the ball to Beck in the fourth. Beck blanked Golden West over the final four innings to earn her second win of the day. Gonzalez, Darby, Septon and Lee provided two hits apiece.
WNC concluded the preseason 3-10 and will begin Scenic West Athletic Conference play at College of Southern Idaho at noon Wednesday in St. George, Utah.
“The timing couldn’t better (to open conference),” Wentworth said. “We put ourselves against some really strong competition in the preseason to help us work through some tough stuff. After a rough start, we learned to pull through later in games to ensure wins, and that was a great transformation.”
A travel glitch contributed to a rough start to the tournament for the Wildcats. After flying to San Diego on Wednesday, the Wildcats rode a bus to remaining distance to Yuma, arriving at 2 a.m. local time. When the team reached their hotel accommodations, it learned that its stay had been booked for the following day. With no other place to spend the night, the hotel set up the team with makeshift sleeping quarters in a conference room.
“We didn’t get much sleep that first night, and we struggled that day,” Wentworth said. “I was hoping the girls could really push through it. It was a great learning experience for us. If anything should arise in the future like that, we should be equipped to handle it.”
After its hotel adventure, WNC lost its opening game in Yuma to Arizona Western 10-2. Arizona Western snapped a 2-2 by scoring five times in the fourth.
Darby’s two-run homer to left in the top of the third tied the score at 2. Quam started the rally with a one-out single to center and then stole second base.
Lostra started in the circle for the Wildcats and held down the Arizona Western offense until the fourth. Darby and Quam accounted for four of the Wildcats’ five hits.
Next, Sydney Huffman two-hit the Wildcats in Mesa (Ariz.) Community College’s 14-1 five-inning romp. Quam and Rechel had the only two hits off of Huffman. Rechel doubled and was left on base in the second inning. WNC picked up its run in the third as Cox got on base on an infield error and went to second on Quam’s infield hit. Both runners advanced a base on an error, and Cox scored on a catcher’s error.
The Wildcats stepped up their game on Friday, battling eighth-ranked Eastern Arizona to a 3-1 defeat. Pitchers Lostra and Beck collaborated on a four-hitter, giving up one earned run and one walk. However, the Wildcats could only muster three hits off pitchers Kaila Crandall and Rita Hokianga.
Hannah Rost did most of the damage for Eastern Arizona, swatting two doubles and a single and knocking in a run.
Darby led off the fourth inning with a homer, her fifth of the season. Quam and Rechel produced the Wildcats’ other two base hits.
In their final defeat of the trip, Arizona Western broke open a tight game by scoring six times in the top of the fifth to post a 9-0 victory. Beck held AW in check through four innings. WNC had four hits off Arizona Western starter Briana Vansickle. Darby had two singles, while Quam and Heather Septon chipped in one hit.
After the tough start to the non-conference season, “It’s a great confidence boost going into conference play on a winning streak,” Wentworth said.
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