Warriors score first win
There were tangible thoughts that the Whittell High softball team could finish the season without a win.
After all, the girls were on the lopsided end of many-five inning games and often averaged more errors than hits. And with a majority of freshmen and sophomores in key fielding positions, many of whom shed tears of learning as the losses piled up, the prospects of erasing the goose egg seemed to slip away with each passing thrashing.
It all equaled an 0-13 record heading into Tuesday’s nonleague contest against Virginia City at Zephyr Cove Park.
Now, make that 1-13.
In the final home game of the year, dubbed senior day for matriculating players Aurora Terry, Georgia Novotny, Vanessa Brewer and Susi Schoetz, the Warriors finally broke out. Whittell got multiple hits from Ashley Berns and Novotny, while Stephanie Evans slugged a solo homer and iron-arm Terry tossed a complete game, as the Warriors downed the Muckers, 7-4.
“I give credit to these girls for sticking with it. Being as young as they are and being exposed to not playing up to what we’d like, it says a lot about them,” said Whittell coach Lindsay Wines.
“Now the younger girls know what it takes to win,” added Terry, a four-year player who capped her home career with seven strikeouts against five walks. “I felt like I was letting the team down because I had the most experience and was a team leader. But everyone pulled together and played so much better than they had all year.”
Things started shaky for the Warriors and Terry, who has tossed every inning this season aside from a few contests early in the campaign. The senior walked two and Virginia City’s Carly Griffey smacked the first of four hits, as the Muckers took a 1-0 lead. But a Meredith Shaw to Berns inning-ending putout disposed the threat.
“(Terry) was nervous and struggled a bit. She just wanted to get things going. But she settled down,” Wines said.
The Warriors answered in their half of the first, as Berns smacked base hit to left field that scored Brewer and Evans. Virginia City regained the lead in the third on a Griffey triple. But the Warriors tied it at three on Evan’s homer in the third and took the lead for good in the fourth frame on a Novotny single and run scored, a Shaw RBI and run and a Jocelyn Mata base hit and run.
“We were more relieved than excited. We weren’t ecstatic. But going out with a home win helps a lot,” Terry said.
Added Wines, “It was more a sigh of relief.”
Whittell’s drive to its first win began ironically with a pair of losses to Hawthorne last weekend. Wines said she saw a marked improvement in her team’s attitude – a key to gaining the confidence needed for Tuesday’s breakthrough.
“They started to realize that we can make some of these things work,” said Wines, whose team avenged an earlier loss to the Muckers. “The atmosphere was real positive. We talked that this was a team we could beat, unless we beat ourselves.”
In fact, the Warriors put together their best defensive outing of the season. After posting error totals as high as 28 in a doubleheader against Manogue, Whittell committed a season-low two miscues.
“Player by player, you could see how every one has improved defensively. The errors at the beginning of the season were frustrating. But the last three games we’ve played tremendous ball. It gives us momentum going into the weekend and for next season,” Wines said.
The Warriors finish the season on Saturday with a doubleheader at Lovelock – games with no playoff implications for either squad.
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