CARSON CITY – The Western Nevada College baseball team came into the NJCAA Region 18 tournament as the favorite, and came out as the champion. WNC rolled over the College of Southern Idaho 18-3 on Saturday to capture the Region 18 title at John L. Harvey Field.
On a sunny and warm afternoon, Western’s offense was too hot for the Golden Eagles to handle. Although CSU scored the first run of the contest in the opening inning, Western tied it in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Travis Feiner. The Wildcats then took the lead in the second inning on an RBI by catcher Jerome Pena, and never looked back. Leftfielder Brian Barnett let loose with a grand slam in the third inning to break the game open, and Feiner banged out a three-run homer in the fifth inning for insurance.
Starting pitcher Josh Moody completed five innings before Head Coach DJ Whittemore began spreading playing time around the bullpen. Logan Odom and Jeff Barto took their turns on the mound before Kyle Starratt pitched the final inning.
Although the outcome became apparent well before the ninth inning, the Wildcats and their fans were exuberant when the game ended, and the dogpile of players at the pitcher’s mound gave testament to the meaning of the moment.
“Hard work pays off,” said Whittemore, adding, “I’m really lucky to be the coach of this team.”
“It’s a great way to top off the season,” said Barnett, when asked about his timely grand slam.
WNC will now host a four-team tournament Thursday-Saturday, May 14-16, against the champions from District 1 and District 19, as well as College of Southern Idaho. The winner of that tournament will compete in the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Whittemore said that all the teams in next weekend’s district tournament come from wood bat leagues, and will have to adjust to playing with metal bats as required by the NJCAA. The JUCO World Series also uses metal bats.
“We’ll be back to work on Monday, working to complete our season goals,” Whittemore said. “We know what we’re in store for. We’re going to be ready.”