WHS softball almost surprises at regionals
Although the Whittell High softball team suffered an expected result against top-seeded Battle Mountain in its first game on Friday, the fourth-seeded Warriors nearly pulled off an upset of second-seeded Lovelock on the opening day of the Northern 2A regional tournament in Lovelock.
Whittell battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game at 2, then scored eight runs in the fifth inning to go up 10-2 before the Mustangs scored 12 unanswered runs in a 14-10 elimination-game victory. The Warriors lost 18-0 to Battle Mountain in their first game of the double-elimination tournament on Friday.
“The first game we knew what to expect because we had played Battle Mountain before,” said WHS first-year coach Izzy Luna, whose team lost 10-0 both times to the Longhorns during the regular season. “But with Lovelock, the girls really battled. Both teams were equally matched. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to pull it out in the end.”
Whittell only had four hits against Battle Mountain, which didn’t allow a single run against any league team en route to both the regular season and regional tournament titles. The Longhorns beat Silver Stage 14-0 on Friday and Lovelock 8-0 in Saturday’s regional championship game.
Battle Mountain and Lovelock both advance to this week’s 2A state tournament. In their game against Lovelock, the Warriors nearly extended their own season by recording 16 hits and keeping it close until the last inning.
After Whittell scored eight runs in the top of the fifth inning, the Mustangs scored eight runs in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score at 10. They added four more runs in the sixth and held the Warriors scoreless over the final two innings.
Whittell had two runners on base in the seventh when the Mustangs recorded the final out to advance in the tournament. Lovelock beat Silver Stage 5-4 on Saturday in an elimination game before losing to Battle Mountain in the championship.
Tara Humbird went 2 for 4 with a double, triple and two runs scored, while Courtney Fields went a perfect 4 for 4 with two runs scored to lead Whittell offensively against Lovelock. Manuela Keller had two hits and two runs scored, Abby Kingman two hits with one run scored and Austyn Harrington went 2 for 5.
The Warriors (5-14) return nine of 11 players next season.
“It wasn’t the season we wanted, but we’re returning most of the players so we have next season to look forward to,” Luna said. “I’m proud of their efforts.”
Tough out for Warriors
Of all the games Whittell baseball coach Don Amaral has lost in his seven years with the Warriors, Friday’s loss to Silver Stage might have been the most painful.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Whittell led the Nighthawks 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Warriors’ ace Jeff Young was on the mound and ahead of his batter with an 0-2 count. Then disaster struck.
The Silver Stage batter hit a grand-slam home run to propel his team to a 9-6 victory in an elimination game at the Northern 2A regional tournament in Lovelock. The fourth-seeded Warriors lost 11-1 to top-seeded Lovelock in their first game of the day.
“It was a tough way to end a game, a tough way to end a season,” said Amaral, who was looking for his sixth consecutive state tournament appearance.
Carter Amaral had four RBI against Silver Stage to lead the Warriors offensively. Lovelock won the regional tournament by beating Battle Mountain 13-6 on Friday, then recorded a 13-8 victory over the Longhorns in Saturday’s championship game.
After defeating the Warriors on Friday, second-seeded Silver Stage lost to Battle Mountain 13-6 in an elimination game on Saturday morning. Battle Mountain will be the Northern 2A’s No. 2 seed and Lovelock the region’s top seed at this week’s state tournament.
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