Event Date

May 10, 2008

Baseball Team Finishes Season 38-20.

Wildcats Runners-Up in SWAC Tourney

Lance Ray scores in the sixth inning.
Lance Ray scores in the sixth inning.

The Western Nevada Wildcats fell just short in the championship round of the Scenic West Athletic Conference baseball tournament Saturday, falling in the ninth inning 6-5 to cross-state rival College of Southern Nevada.

"Our guys came out swinging the bats, pounding out 13 hits," Western Coach D.J. Whittemore said. "We just stranded a few too many runners. We thought we'd outplayed them in all phases of the game. Unfortunately, we didn't throw strikes in the ninth inning."

Western was just one strike away of downing the Coyotes before they rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth. CSN goes on to play in next week's district tournament in Arizona. The district champion earns the right to play in the Junior College World Series.

"CSN is a great team," Whittemore said. "They started out the season number one in the country for a good reason. The regional final came down to one strike. We came within one strike of forcing a final game that would decide the championship.

"We beat Southern Nevada in six of nine contests this year, but unfortunately, they got us in the one that counted."

Whittemore was recognized by fellow coaches for what he was able to do with a mostly freshman team, with only six returning players from a year ago. He was elected 2008 conference coach of the year.

The Wildcats are definitely a threat for next year. All four starting pitchers and the first four hitters in the line-up are freshmen. This year's team had an overall record 38-20, finished one game out of first place in the final conference standings, and won three out of four in the tournament to put the 'cats in the championship game.

After an opening loss to Salt Lake Community College on Thursday, Western rallied with wins over Colorado Northwestern, Southern Idaho and Salt Lake. For the championship game, Western went with the pitching duo that had worked so well for them all year: starter Kyle Starratt, who was working on one day's rest, and reliever Jose Barajas.

CSN was staked to an early 2-1 lead, but the Wildcats tied the game in the third to make it 2-2. In the sixth, catcher Chuck Howard and first baseman Lance Ray singled and two runs scored on a Kyle Gutchewsky single and an error. The Wildcats padded their lead to make it 5-2 in the seventh when Logan Parsley reached on a fielder's choice, stole second, and scored on an RBI single by Howard.

Defensively, Starratt allowed only one earned run in 6 1/3 innings, and Barajas was brought in with two men on base. While the reliever struck out six in two plus innings of work, he also gave up five bases on balls. CSN loaded the bags in the eighth, but Barajas got a strikeout to end in the inning.

In the ninth inning, Barajas had two outs on Southern Nevada, when he walked Joel Reese and Kyle Bostick. Tyson Melhoff hit an RBI single, and a walk to Brandon Trodick loaded the bases.

The crowd at the Coyotes' field in Henderson was on the edge of its seat as Barajas got two quick strikes on Devin Shepherd. An end-of-the-bat curving single to shallow right allowed two runs to score and the game was tied at five.

Western was hoping for extra innings when Jordan Blanchard was called on to pitch. Blanchard got two strikes on Cody Fiero, but the CSN player was able to hit a game-winning single to right field, making the final 6-5.

Press Release: May 12, 2008

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Photo Gallery
Photos (Click to Enlarge)
Brian Barnett Brian Barnett Brian Barnett
Brian BarnettBrian BarnettBrian Barnett
Brian Barnett Brian Barnett Brian Barnett
Brian BarnettBrian BarnettBrian Barnett
Chuck Howard Chuck Howard Chuck Howard
Chuck HowardChuck HowardChuck Howard
Chuck Howard Chuck Howard Chuck Howard
Chuck HowardChuck HowardChuck Howard
Jerome Pena Jerome Pena Jerome Pena
Jerome PenaJerome PenaJerome Pena
Jerome Pena Jordan Blanchard Jose Barajas
Jerome PenaJordan BlanchardJose Barajas
Josh Moody on the mound. Kyle Farrell Kyle Farrell
Josh Moody on the mound.Kyle FarrellKyle Farrell
Kyle Gutchewsky Kyle Gutchewsky Kyle Gutchewsky
Kyle GutchewskyKyle GutchewskyKyle Gutchewsky
Kyle Gutchewsky Kyle Gutchewsky Kyle Gutchewsky
Kyle GutchewskyKyle GutchewskyKyle Gutchewsky
Kyle Starratt Kyle Starratt Lance Ray
Kyle StarrattKyle StarrattLance Ray
Logan Parsley Logan Parsley Logan Parsley
Logan ParsleyLogan ParsleyLogan Parsley
Marshall Kennebrew Mike Long Wildcats at bat in Game 4
Marshall KennebrewMike LongWildcats at bat in Game 4
Wildcats at bat in Game 4    
Wildcats at bat in Game 4    
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