No. 4 Salt lake Takes Series
Two weekends of playing national Top-10 rated teams can wear down a softball team. After battling No. 4 Salt Lake and No. 1 College of Southern Idaho in its previous two Scenic West Athletic Conference series, the Western Nevada College softball team can now focus on teams just ahead and behind them in the SWAC standings.
“We’ll take what we learned about ourselves and playing at that top level and take it into the next two series,” said WNC Coach Leah Wentworth. Wentworth’s Wildcats lost all four games against SWAC leader Salt Lake (30-2) on Friday and Saturday in Salt Lake.
WNC scored first in three of the four games but couldn’t sustain its early edge as the Wildcats struggled to deliver timely hits, pitch out of scoring situations and field consistently.
Alisha Nielsen, who homered twice against CSI on March 23, hit her third homer in three games in the opener at Salt Lake. She collected two of the Wildcats’ seven hits, while Jennifer Rechel stroked a double in the 8-2 defeat.
WNC freshman hurler Carlee Beck pitched six innings but was outdueled by MaCauley Flint, who gave up one earned run and struck out eight Wildcats. Salt Lake’s Maddy Woodward matched Nielsen with a homer and two hits overall.
Sydney Darby put WNC on top 1-0 in the first inning of the second game with her 14th homer of the season, but Salt Lake had an answer the in next two innings. The Bruins scored four times in the first inning and three more in the second to go in front 7-1 en route to a 9-3 victory.
Darby added a pair of singles to finish with three hits. Andrea Lee also knocked in a run for the Wildcats. Lyndsey Healey did most of the damage for the Bruins with a 4-for-4 performance at the plate and three runs scored.
Flint earned her second win of the series and Alex Petrolla tossed a shutout as the Bruins completed the series sweep with 12-3 and 11-0 victories on Saturday.
Darby, Lee, Nielsen, Heather Septon, Lee and Alia Cox each had a hit in the series finale, but the Wildcats were undone by seven errors. “There were definitely some really good moments throughout the weekend,” Wentworth said.
“We had a chance to see where we’re at and how we matched up. But some things that have been kind of creeping up all year continue to surface. We need to figure out how to come up with timely hits. We’ve been plagued by those bases-loaded situations. We need to get it done when the pressure is on and it really counts.”
Healey and Whitney Holt helped Salt Lake pull away to the opening win Saturday by rapping out two hits and driving in two runs apiece.
Sophomore pitcher/outfielder Ali Marie Lostra returned to the lineup for the Wildcats after losing a couple of teeth and suffering a hairline facture to her cheekbone in the series against CSI.
“It was definitely nice having her back in the lineup. She works hard and really goes out and gives us a strong effort,” Wentworth said.
WNC, 8-23 in the SWAC and 11-33 overall, will travel to Rangely, Colo., to play seventh-place Colorado Northwestern on Friday and Saturday, then head to North Idaho for a four-game series on April 19-20. The Wildcats have a combined 5-3 record against those teams this season.
“We always play tough games against them. We always know we have to come out and give our all against those teams,” Wentworth said.
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