Good pitching, strong hitting lift Wildcats
Missed opportunities cost Western Nevada College a win in its first game at the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.
The Wildcats didn’t make the same mistakes against Iowa Western Community College in Sunday’s first elimination game at Suplizio Field.
Western Nevada did everything right, shutting out the Reivers 11-0 in six innings.
“Winning lifts a big weight off our shoulders,” Western Nevada coach DJ Whittemore said.
“Playing every day allows you to get hot, so I think we have an advantage.”
Saturday against Howard, the Wildcats had 13 hits but scored only three runs. Sunday,
Western Nevada was more efficient, scoring 11 runs on 11 hits. Included in the hits were four home runs — two by cleanup hitter Travis Feiner.
The sophomore from Las Vegas got things started for the Wildcats, leading off the second inning with a solo home run off of Iowa Western’s Brian Feekin. Eric Maupin added to the lead later in the inning with a two-run home run.
Feiner added another long ball in the fifth inning. Again it was a solo home run to lead off an inning, and gave Western Nevada an 8-0 lead at the time.
“I was up there looking for a good pitch to hit, and was lucky to get them,” Feiner said. “We had to have a big game to get the confidence up so we can start rolling now.”
Brian Barnett ended the game in style, hitting a two-run home run to give Western Nevada the double-digit lead necessary to end the game.
“Feiner’s home runs really jump-started the offense,” Whittemore said. “But the ball was really carrying well today.”
Another big improvement from Saturday’s game for Western Nevada was on the mound.
Against Howard, the Wildcats were forced to use four pitchers — who combined to walk nine batters.
Sunday it was all David Carroll. The 6-foot-7 righty from Las Vegas struck out six batters in his six innings of work. He allowed only three hits and didn’t walk a batter.
“When you get a complete game like that, it saves your bullpen,” Whittemore said. “To come back today and get that effort out him is good and it sets us up for tomorrow.”
Carroll credited a stronger defensive effort in helping him in the win. The Wildcats committed only one error and had strong plays in the field — including a gem from Maupin.
The 6-5 first baseman got Carroll out of a jam in the fifth inning. After AJ Fronce singled, Maupin snared a line drive off the bat of Max Milot, then doubled up Fronce at first.
“We got leadoff hitters out, and played great defense,” Carroll said. “We had short innings and that saves the pitchers a lot.”
For the Reivers, it’s the second time in the past three years they have been the first team eliminated.
Western Nevada advances in the loser’s side of the bracket and plays Middle Georgia College today at 10 a.m.