By Lukas Eggen Ely Times Staff Writer
The White Pine High softball team’s offense struggled in the first inning against Silver Stage. That was one of the few things to go wrong for the Ladycats on Friday as White Pine defeated Silver Stage 10-0 and 24-2 to take the best-of-three series.
A six-run fourth inning in the first game and a 17-run second inning in the second game meant the Ladycats cruised to a pair of easy wins.
“I’m very pleased with the hitting,” coach Krystal Smith said. “Even when we blew the game open in the second game, it was on solid, hard hit balls down the line and into the outfield. It’s good to see our hard work offensively coming along.”
Alli Huntington hit a solo home run in the first game and Jane Murdock hit two grand slams en route to the blowout victories. With the wins, White Pine will play Pershing County in the Division III Northern playoffs this weekend, which White Pine is hosting at Marich Softball complex.
The winner of that game will face the winner of Yerington vs. Whittell with the losers of those games meeting in the losers’ bracket.
Since a 9-5 loss to Elko on April 13, the Ladycats are winners of eight straight. During that streak, White Pine scored at least nine runs and held opponents to two or fewer runs in the last five games.
“It’s every coaches dream for their team to peak at the right point,” Smith said. “It seems like the last couple weeks from Spring Creek through this game that we’re clicking on all cylinders. The pitchers and catchers are doing a great job. The young outfielders have stepped into the roles we’ve asked them to play and we’ve had high expectations of them the whole year and they’ve stepped up beyond my expectations of them.
“It’s nice to hit one through nine. We have no weak spot in our lineup and if one teammate struggles, it seems like the next person up picks them up. It’s great to see.”
With a trip to the state tournament on the line for the top two teams from the north, getting the opportunity to play at home can be a big help for the team.
“Yeah, it’s nice,” Smith said. “It’s the field we practice on so our pitchers know the mound, how to work behind the plate and know the bounces, all the small things that play a factor. It’s nice to see people out in support of Ladycat softball from young to old and we’re confident and comfortable in our surroundings.”
While White Pine played well against Silver Stage, Smith said it will take similar efforts in the next round of the postseason to punch a return ticket to State.
“(They’ll make State) if they play like they did today,” Smith said. “if they play error-free softball, our pitchers dominate in the circle and just have an entourage of hitters, we’ll be fine. We hit through the lineup, our number nine hitter hit a home run, our six hitter hit two grand slams. As a coach, you can’t ask for more than that.”
Friday also gave the Ladycats a chance to honor its lone senior, Bailey Moore. Moore threw a shutout in the first game against Silver Stage and started the second game as well. For Smith, Moore is a big reason why White Pine is, and has been, successful.
“She’s been the cornerstone of our basketball and softball programs,” Smith said. “She stepped up as a freshmen after not throwing for a couple years and just blossomed. She’s the hardest working kid that I’ve ever coached and you can see the success and progress she’s made from her hard work and dedication. She puts her team on her shoulders and she’s dedicated to the success of the White Pine program. Our success in the last two to three years has really been due to a large part on her behalf and what she’s been able to accomplish.”
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