Fine Wines! Warriors are zone champs |

Fine Wines! Warriors are zone champs

Darin Olde, Tahoe Daily Tribune
Darin Olde/Tahoe TribuneWhittell's softball team silenced Hawthorne's car horns when they with the Northern Nevada 2A title.

HAWTHORNE — The car horns at Mineral County High School’s softball field are now silent.

Had things gone another way, had Whittell’s softball team not taken the Northern Nevada 2A title for the first time in history, Hawthorne’s fans, sitting in their cars to avoid the elements, might still be honking in celebration.

Instead, the celebration was on the infield next to Whittell’s dugout, with screams and cheers, as coach Lindsey Wines and a troop of Warriors hugged the team’s sole pitcher for the entire weekend, Ashley Wines.

The Warriors took the league title in three games, winning the championship game on Saturday against Mineral County’s Serpents 5-1.

The tears were flowing, not only from Ashley Wines’ eyes, but from coach Wines’, and from those of her mother who, as a Whittell graduate some 40 years ago, watched the softball team put its name in the book for all time.

“These girls are a part of school history. This is the first time Whittell has been in the zone softball tournament, and the first time we’ve won the zone softball tournament,” said coach Wines, holding back tears. “And every time those girls walk in the gym from here on out and they look at that banner … they’ll know.”

Put that red, gold and white banner in the gym, and get this team two dozen airline tickets to Las Vegas — they’ve cemented their seed in the big show May 16-18.

But for a time, it looked as if Hawthorne might be taking their place.

Rewind to Friday, when the Warriors played Hawthorne in the semifinals for game two.

The Serpents took a 5-1 lead in a stormy, gravel-stinging wind.

Then, the Warriors rallied. Nearly every batter in the order got on base in the third inning.

“Katie Green, what are you doing on base!” screamed assistant coach Dan McCraw to the happy freshman standing at second.

The Warriors, who ended their first game 11-1 against Tonopah in the fifth via the 10-run rule on Friday, came back to beat Hawthorne 9-5 in tornado-like conditions — conditions so bad, in fact, that O’Brien and an Incline baseball player were taken to the emergency room to have gravel removed from their eyes. Both returned on Saturday.

After a nervous few hours on Saturday, the Warriors took to the field again against Hawthorne, who defeated Tonopah in the consolation bracket.

Like Friday, they started in a hole.

Hawthorne took a one-run lead, which it held until the fourth inning.

Then, the “woop-woop” cheers in Whittell’s dugout took effect, and the team launched an offensive rally.

Tied going into the bottom of the fifth inning, senior Stephanie Evans singled. Freshman Anna Kingman got on with an error, and Sara Piccola’s sacrifice bunt successfully put the team in scoring position with one out.

Katlin Willens RBI single gave the Warriors the lead for the first time.

Ashton Gibson, who replaced an injured Ariana Rodriguez in the top of the fifth, got on courtesy of a Serpent error.

O’Brien’s RBI smash into left field for a double put the V in victory for the Warriors.

Moreover, it was strong defensive plays throughout the weekend that put the Warriors on top.

In the championship game, Evans made seven putouts to first and two unassisted outs.

Wines allowed only six runs in the three games.

“It all had to do with our defense,” coach Wines said. “Bringing Katlin Willens in at second base has been huge. It allowed us to have a very solid infield. And putting Erin Silver in the outfield has been tremendous as well.”

However, Wines said the whole team stepped up to the call: “It’s just huge what these kids have done.”

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