Coleville 44-2 in three years |

Coleville 44-2 in three years

by Dave Price

It’s been quite a run for Coleville High School softball.

Especially for Jamie Walton, Nicole Duffie, Kelly Ferguson and Darrah Rich, who played together for four years, leading the Wolves to a pair of state titles and one runner-up finish during that span.

“This has been a nice three-year run,” Coleville coach Scott Bush said. “They’ve been 44-2 (against 1A opponents). That’s a better run than the Chicago Bulls, if you stop and think about it.”

The Wolves won two 1A state titles in those three seasons, and only a 5-4 loss to arch rival Smith Valley in the 1997 state tournament finals prevented them from making it three-for-three.

Coleville’s four seniors went out as winners last month when they turned the tables on Smith Valley to win the state tournament, 4-2.

Fittingly, all four were recognized on the Northern 1A all-division list:

n Walton was a first-team all-division pitcher and outfielder. She hit .500 with a .944 slugging percentage during the division season and led the team with four home runs and 34 RBIs.

n Rich was a first-team outfielder whose .611 batting average was tops in the division to go with 28 RBIs. She was also a second-team all-division pitcher.

n Ferguson, a first-team selection at second base, hit .375 with 19 RBIs.

n Duffie, a second-team all-division catcher, hit .514 in league (.556 overall for the season) with 24 RBIs. She was named the state tournament MVP.

This is an athletic group. Duffie and Ferguson earned their way into Coleville’s Athletic Hall of Fame by finishing up with 12 varsity letters – that’s three sports in each of their four years. Rich and Walton wound up with 11 varsity letters each. It marked the first time Coleville has had two girls inducted into the Hall of Fame together, and the last female athlete to make it was Jenna Bush in 1994.

“They’re all good ball players and good students,” Bush said.

That’s a lot of strength departing on graduation day, but Coleville’s cupboard won’t be bare next year.

“We have to go back and start all over again, but we’ve got some talent coming back,” Bush said.

Junior Brianna Bryant was an all-division pick at third base and sophomore Jennifer Masters rounded out Coleville’s all-division outfield. Masters hit .500 in league.

Freshman Lindsey Rudolph cracked the lineup as the team’s cleanup hitter and shortstop (second-team all-division). Rudolph hit .467 with nine doubles and 27 RBIs. Junior first baseman Megan Rich, who delivered the game-winning hit for Coleville in its state championship victory over Smith Valley, and sophomore outfielder Kourtney Ferguson are also due back.

Class A softball was introduced in Nevada two years ago, and Coleville rolled through its league season with a 10-0 record and then won the state championship with a 23-8 victory over Indian Springs.

The Wolves continued their momentum last year, sweeping through the division with a 16-0 record before falling to Smith Valley in the state finals.

This season, the Wolves got their revenge. They again won the Northern A league with a 15-1 record, then defeated Smith Valley and ace pitcher Andrea Burt in the state championship game, 4-2.

Coleville finished this season with a 19-5 overall record, including a 2-1 loss late in the regular season to Mineral County, a team that went on to win the 3A state tournament. Walton pitched a two-hitter that day, but was outdueled by the Serpents’ hard-throwing Courtney Quintero, who threw a two-hitter and struck out 16.

“It’s kind of interesting, but the same thing happened two years ago when these girls were sophomores. We lost to Fernley 2-1 just before we went to state; Fernley went on to win state and so did we,” Bush pointed out.

Quite a difference from 1995, when the Wolves struggled in the 2A league (now 3A) they played in.

“We had to play the bigger schools … we didn’t even win a league game,” Bush recalled. “Our goal was to get through a game without having it called by the 10-run rule. Finally, at the end of the season, we got to our zone tournament and lost to Spring Creek, 13-6.

“But even then, you could see we were coming along. Our freshman pitchers had never thrown before, it just took them a little while to gain some confidence that they could get the ball over the plate with something on it.”

This marked Bush’s sixth season as Coleville’s head coach, though he’s been involved with softball and baseball at the Mono County school since the late 1980s. The coaching staff is a family affair because his wife, Debi, is the assistant coach and their daughter, Danni (who led Coleville to the state 2A tournament in 1990-91) works with the pitchers.

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