Warriors to test surprising start on Dayton diamond
Do you have an hour to spare this afternoon? Then you might want to check out a potentially quick Nevada 3A Division II baseball showdown between Whittell and Dayton high schools today in Dayton.
The battle of unbeatens figures to last as long as a double episode of “South Park.” With Whittell intending to start ace Brandon Lee and Dayton starting one of its dominators, Shane Van Zant or Bob Nylen, the 4 p.m. game could send spectators home for an early dinner.
“I feel good that Brandon is on the mound, and that Bryce didn’t throw a lot of pitches Tuesday,” said Whittell manager Don Amaral. “But we have to step it up. Dayton is a very good baseball team.”
On the line is the inside track to the division’s first or second seed for the postseason. Whittell is tied with defending state champion Bishop Manogue for first place at 3-0, and Dayton comes in with a 15-1 overall mark, including 2-0 in division.
“We’re excited, and we’ve got it going,” Lee said. “I don’t know, something has just clicked this year, and we’re really doing well. The whole team is putting it together.”
Dayton coach Craig Miller hasn’t worried about the Warriors in the past, but they have his attention this spring.
“It’s not that what they’re doing was unexpected, but they are little bit better than everybody thought they would be,” Miller said.
Lee (5-0 and one save) has been, well, like a general out on the mound, mowing down the troops as a starter and as a seventh-inning closer.
“You just know that Bandon can’t shut down a hard-hitting team with his two pitch, the breaking ball,” Amaral said.
Miller hasn’t seen Lee pitch this season, but knows what to expect.
“From what I’ve heard he does a really good job changing speeds and has a really good curveball,” Miller said. “I don’t think his fastball is overpowering, but he sets up his fastball nicely with his off-speed pitches.”
With Bishop Manogue shooting for a clean sweep of the 1999-2000 major sports state titles, the Warriors and Dust Devils know that today’s game potentially may determine who finishes second.
“My personal viewpoint is, once you get into league, every game is important,” Miller said. “It’s important for us to play well in league competition, and Whittell is one of those teams we have to contend with.”
Lee has exuded confidence and poise on the bump, but he has some concerns with Dayton’s right-field fence.
“I’m worried about home runs, especially to right field, because the field is kind of small,” Lee said.
Miller is undecided on who he’ll start on the mound today.
“I’ll start either Van Zant of Nylen. I’ll see how both of them feel (today),” he said.
A business trip took Amaral out of Zephyr Cove on Wednesday, but he’s expected to return in time for today’s pivotal game. The first-year manager was encouraged by the hitting of his 7-8-9 hitters in a 3-2 win over Yerington on Tuesday. Kyle Spingola, Brett Schussel and Matt Wiggins were a combined 4 for 8 and produced two runs.
“The kids continue to get better every game we play,” Amaral said.
The Whittell crowds are also improving as the fans are getting their first taste of winning consistently since Pete Lusich was the school’s star pitcher in the early 1990s.
“We must have had 50 to 60 people there on Tuesday, and that’s a big crowd for us,” Amaral said.
Dayton opened division play on Saturday by sweeping a doubleheader from Lovelock, 11-4 and 17-1. Van Zant fanned 15 batters and went 4-for-4 at the plate in the opener, and Nylen struck out 10 and didn’t issue a free pass to first in game two.
Warriors can expect a ‘Dillie’
The Warriors softball team is also making the trip to Dayton today. Whittell (2-9 overall, 0-3 in Division II) collected one hit in a 14-0 five-inning defeat to Yerington on Tuesday.
Dayton opened division play on Saturday with a Dillie of a performance.
Jen Dillie pitched her fifth career no-hitter as Dayton won the opener 11-0, and she also picked up the win in the 11-1 victory in game two.
The Dust Devils (13-1 overall, 2-0 in Division II) were led at the plate by Dillie’s 6-for-6 day and Carrie Kordnowy’s 4-for-6 performance.
Game time is 4 p.m.
Vikings look to get even with Carson
South Tahoe’s softball team will get the chance to avenge an 8-1 loss to Carson on home soil today.
The Vikings are hoping their competitive 15-5 seven-inning loss to Galena on Tuesday will inspire greater things at the Field of Dreams today.
“We should be able to compete with them,” said Vikings manager Rich Barna.
Barna is optimistic that pitching staff ace Vanessa Porter can duplicate her five-inning relief stint from Tuesday. Porter allowed seven hits to the 8-3 Grizzlies.
“If I can get her to throw that well against Carson and Sparks, I think we can do really well,” said Barna, whose Vikings play host to Sparks on Saturday in a 10 a.m. doubleheader. “Vanessa has been struggling the last few games. We’ve been working on her coming out more intense, and (Wednesday) she came out and threw hard. She was hitting her spots and everything was working real well.”
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