PREP SOFTBALL: Lady Miners top Lady Bruins in cross county bout
Five games into the season and the Nevada Union softball team already has more wins than they did during all of last year’s campaign.
“Our girls have been lifting weights since September, so they’re strong and they’re confident,” said head coach Dennis Houlihan, now in his second season at the helm of the varsity team. “They’ve been putting the work in, and when you have a good pitching staff, you can ride that. This is a game of pitching and they will keep us in games. Our bats are coming around and our girls are confident they can compete with anybody.”
The Lady Miners earned their fourth win of the season Thursday, beating cross county combatant Bear River, 8-5.
“We’ve really been focusing on hitting the ball, and I thought we hit the ball really well today,” said Houlihan.
Competing on Bear River’s home diamond, the Lady Miners (4-1) got on the scoreboard first with a four run second inning. Senior first baseman Emree Nau doubled to start the inning and later scored on a Leah Ellis RBI hit. Ellis then scored on a Gabriela Enriquez single. Reese Wheeler then brought Enriquez in with an RBI double. Wheeler would eventually score as well to put NU up 4-0.
Wheeler finished the game 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.
The Lady Bruins (0-2) answered back in the bottom of the second with an RBI double from Massiel Chavez, an RBI single from Cheyenne Swenson, and an RBI single from Shelbi Beghetti to pull to within one.
The Lady Miners didn’t wait long to respond, plating four more runs in the third to go up 8-3. NU’s junior catcher Danielle Schnitzius got things started with a base hit and later scored on a Wheeler base knock. Then, with the bases loaded, freshman pitcher Makena Hayden came through with a two-out, bases-clearing double down the left field line.
Hayden finished 1-for-2 from the plate with a double, three RBIs and two walks.
In all, the Lady Miners tallied 13 hits coming from eight different players.
Bear River would plate two more in the fifth when Chavez and Gabi Corralejo each notched RBI base hits. Chavez finished the game with three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Trailing 8-5 in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, the Lady Bruins put two runners on and brought the tying run to the plate, but NU’s Hayden closed the game with a strikeout, her 10th of the contest.
Despite the loss, first year Bear River head coach Vince Nawrocki was happy with what he saw from his team.
“I couldn’t be happier with their attitude and effort,” said Nawrocki. “The last two games we were kind of out of sorts, but today they were a team and played like a team. We had one bad inning, but they came back, instead of getting down, they fought back. I couldn’t be happier about how they kept pushing and pushing.”
NU’s Hayden earned the win from the circle, tossing all seven innings, allowing 12 hits and five runs while striking out 11 and walking one.
Bear River’s Emma Gawley pitched the whole way for the Lady Bruins and struck out three.
The Lady Miners went 3-20 a season ago, but with wins over Colfax, Las Plumas, Foothill and Bear River they are off to their best start since 2015 when they also opened with four wins in their first five games. NU went 12-14-1 that season and made the playoffs.
The Lady Bruins are coming off a 2018 campaign in which they went 10-9-1, placed second in the Pioneer Valley League and reached the playoffs.
The win by the Lady Miners snaps a two-game losing streak against the Lady Bruins. Nevada Union and Bear River have faced off in a non-league bout seven times since 2012 with the Lady Bruins holding a 4-3 advantage.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
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