4A school from Reno dispatches Warriors in five innings
ZEPHYR COVE ” North Valleys’ hitters were on a roll ” literally ” Monday afternoon at Zephyr Cove.
After pounding out a 14-0 nonleague softball victory over the Whittell Warriors, the Panthers playfully decided to roll away from coach Jimmy Gleich into the outfield after he approached them from home plate for their postgame chat.
Gleich could only laugh and call his players “goofballs,” as they celebrated an end to a losing spell caused by playing in the brutal Northern 4A League’s High Desert Division. Three of the top teams in the state ” Spanish Springs, Reno and Reed ” reside in their division.
“They are a fun group and have a lot of personality,” Gleich said.
“We’ve had some rough ones lately, so it was nice to get a win. Some of the games we’ve played this year we’ve been out of right away. We’ve been taking our lumps in league, so it’s nice to play a team more our level.”
The home game was the first of the season for the Warriors at Zephyr Cove Park. Whittell normally plays its home games at Lampe Park, unless the Warriors can play a softball team that isn’t traveling with the baseball club. Whittell’s baseball team doesn’t have a field to use near the school, so the Warriors usually make it easier on the opposition by playing at one location.
The Panthers scored four runs against Whittell starter Justina Pritzker in the first, third and fifth innings, pulling away from the Warriors, who don’t shy away from playing the larger schools.
“We’ll play the 3A, the 4A teams, and we’ll play the 1A teams,” said Whittell coach Rich Barna. “We don’t care. That’s how we get better by playing those stronger teams. Even though you lose a game like that, it instills the confidence because you can point out the positives.”
Sarah Ehrler didn’t object to playing a Reno school from a league two classifications higher than the Warriors.
“I think we can play better, but it was a good challenge for us,” Ehrler said. “This game definitely had its high points and its low points. We can definitely learn from a team like that. We need to start picking it up right off the bat.”
The Warriors reached North Valleys pitchers Fallon Morales and Patty Johnson for just two hits, but limited their strikeouts to three.
“I tell you what, I’ve seen a couple 2A teams Whittell has left to play, and they’ll beat them,” Gleich said. “The swing the bat well and played pretty good defense. Whittell didn’t give us much.”
Rachel Laub and Sarah Ehrler each stroked a hit for the Warriors, who were denied a run in the fifth inning when Jevanna Sudduth made a snow-cone catch of Katie Poet’s line drive near the third-base bag. The speedy Lupe Martinez was on second base at the time and likely would have scored if Poet’s hit had gone into the outfield.
“We were going to score on that,” Barna said.
North Valleys improved to 9-14 overall, while Whittell’s record dropped to 7-16-1. The Warriors will play at Virginia City on Thursday, then play host to Lovelock in a doubleheader Saturday at Lampe Park.
“(We need to) pick up our defense from the beginning so we can stop all the runs from scoring right off the bat and get our bat speed better for faster pitching,” Pritzker said.
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