TTHS fastpitch softball season starts strong
Last year, the Tahoe-Truckee Wolverines’ fastpitch softball team both peaked and plummeted at the end of the season.
After a middle-of-the-road performance during the regular season, the girls’ team went into the divisional playoffs ranked fourth. The Wolverines put together four consecutive victories – versus the Spring Creek Spartans, the Battle Mountain Longhorns and two against the Fernley Vacqueros – and shocked everyone by claiming their second division title in as many years. The following week, the Wolverines traveled to Yerington and were defeated in the first round of the state playoffs by the Pahrump Valley Trojans, bringing the Cinderella season to an abrupt end.
According to second-year head coach Cathy McClintock, things are in place to better last year’s performance.
With six players – Rebecca Martin, Katie Mickelson, Leilani Mullen, Natalie Pratt, Marci Ramirez and Heather Shove – returning and a few exceptional underclassmen joining this season’s roster, the Wolverines enter the 2000 season with a balance of talent and experience.
“Basically,” McClintock said, “we’re solid.”
At the core of the team is Shove. Shove pitched the winning divisional playoff game against the Vacqueros in 1999 as a freshman, meanwhile mustering seven hits and three RBI. The showing was representative of her entire season and McClintock anticipates her building on that sort of performance this year.
“I’m looking forward to her being a very big part of this team,” McClintock said. “She’s sort of the focus.”
Shove will pitch to a frosh; catcher Vanessa Ramirez. Ramirez wowed the coaches in tryouts and was awarded the position despite relative inexperience. Now …
“The two players are clicking very well,” McClintock said. “To get this kind of relationship this early on sets the precedent for the entire season.”
Other players on the roster are Courtney Burton and Elishia Linegar – two juniors straight from the JV team – Amy Eisenberg, Shelly Ratto, Jesse Turner – a sophomore and two freshmen, respectively – and Cali Pratt, a junior not on last year’s team.
The Wolverines have been practicing inside the gymnasium for the past three weeks and traveled to their first tournament of the season last weekend.
They played against Wilcox, Portola, Hug, Foothill and Reno High School and finished with three wins and two losses, claiming a third overall placing in the season’s opening event.
Truckee’s first game in the tournament, against Wilcox, represented its first opportunity to play outside this season and, a tad rusty, the Wolverines were defeated, 6-2.
Later in the afternoon, though, they rebounded by recording a decisive 14-1 win against Portola. Shove who pitched for both games gave up only one run on two hits and tallied five strikeouts in the game. The bats, too, came alive. The Wolverines, after not being able to connect with the ball hardly at all in the first game, lit it up against Portola. Cali Pratt went 3-for-4 at the plate with three singles. Shove and Turner both got a double and a single on the afternoon and Natalie Pratt had a single.
The Wolverines carried the momentum from their game against Portola into the game against Hug. Shove pitched her first no-hitter of the season, leading the Wolverines to a 5-0 win. Mullen was 2-for-3 at the plate and got an inside the park grandslam to account for four of the Wolverines’ runs. Cali Pratt, Marci Ramirez and Turner all went 2-for-3 at the plate and Martin got a single.
Next came Reno, and the girls were defeated 12-0. Cali Pratt was put on the mound to get some practice and the Wolverines were overwhelmed by the pitching of the Huskies. Shove got Truckee’s only hit of the game, pounding a double.
The weekend concluded with an 8-4 Truckee win against Foothill. Shove again pitched and again hits were had throughout the line-up. Marci Ramirez was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with two singles and a double. Shove had two doubles, Turner had a double and a single and Martin and Mullen both hit singles to contribute to the win.
“We had a good showing,” McClintock said. “To take third in a 4A tournament gives me a good indication.
“We’re only in the third week and we’re already learning to work together.”
The Wolverines’ next game is against ?????? at ????? starting at ??????? p.m.
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For decades the snap of a baseball into a leather glove has signaled a return to warmer weather and the onset of spring in Truckee.