Western Nevada College has beaten two of the top four softball teams in the Scenic West Athletic Conference at least once, so the Wildcats arenâ€™t intimidated by the challenge that awaits them today in the Region 18 Tournament.
Six-seeded WNC squares off with third-seeded North Idaho College at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Although the Cardinals won seven of the eight meetings between the teams, WNC took a game from North Idaho when the clubs met most recently in Carson City.
Freshman Katilyn Covione slammed two home runs, including a tiebreaking two-run shot in the sixth inning, as WNC defeated North Idaho, 10-8, on April 19. The Cardinals won the other three games in that series, but the victories didnâ€™t come easily in 5-0, 8-6 and 8-2 decisions.
â€œWe match up really well with them,â€ said WNC coach Leah Wentworth. â€œWe tend to bring a lot of confidence into the games we play against North Idaho.
â€œOur offense has gotten stronger throughout the year, so as long as we rally hits together and get the timely hits, I think weâ€™ll be in good shape.â€
Three of the top four seeds are ranked in the top 25 of the most recent National Junior College Athletic Association poll. Region 18 Tournament host College of Southern Idaho leads the way at No. 4, followed by Salt Lake at No. 17 and College of Southern Nevada at No. 22. Even so, WNC believes it is playing its best ball at the right time to challenge the SWACâ€™s top teams in the postseason.
â€œI think we can definitely take people by surprise because we take a lot of teams now by surprise, but I think right now we are starting to peak and get into a groove,â€ said WNC first baseman Andi Lee.
If the Wildcats win their opener, they will meet the winner of the Salt Lake-Colorado Northwestern matchup at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. A first-round defeat sends the Wildcats into an elimination game at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
Fans can follow the Wildcats at the region tournament through GameChanger at www.gamechanger.io/t/spring-2014/western-nevada-college-wildcats-52be3f4ad21618259ccb5721.