Coleville closing in on title
The Coleville softball team all but clinched the Class A Northern Division regular-season championship May 1 with a doubleheader split at Smith Valley.
The Wolves won the first game, 19-12, but Smith Valley rebounded to win the second game, 8-3. With the split, the Wolves maintained their two-game lead over Smith Valley and won the tie-breaker – by virtue of their 3-1 lead in the season series – with six games left in the regular season.
The Wolves, who wrap up the regular season with doubleheaders against Eureka (today), Round Mountain (May 12) and Virginia City (May 16), are not expected to lose but maybe twice more the rest of the way.
Smith Valley should be able to hold on to the No. 2 seed heading into the state tournament, which is scheduled for May 23 in Alamo.
Coleville jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first game, but Smith Valley answered with seven runs in the second inning. Coleville then took control of the game by scoring 10 runs in the third.
Smith Valley rallied one more time, scoring three times in the bottom of the third to draw within 13-11, but the Wolves held on.
Smith Valley outhit the Wolves 18-13, but the home team’s pitchers issued 14 walks, which proved to be the difference in the game.
The big hitters for Coleville were Jamie Walton (4-for-6 with a homer, double and five RBIs), Lindsey Rudolph (2-for-3 with three walks and an RBI), Brianna Bryant (2-for-4 with two walks and three RBIs), Jennifer Masters (2-for-4 with an RBI), Tashina Murphy (2-for-6 with two RBIs) and Kelly Ferguson (1-for-3 with three RBIs).
The second game featured an outstanding pitching performance from Smith Valley’s Andrea Burt, who gave up just six hits and one walk while striking out nine.
Coleville committed six errors.
The Bulldogs scored two runs in the first, second and fourth innings to build a 6-0 lead before Coleville got a single tally in the fifth. The Wolves added two more runs in the sixth.
Nicole Duffie led the Wolves with two hits while Darrah Rich, Bryant, Kelly Ferguson and Megan Rich each added one. Darrah Rich suffered the loss, despite only giving up two earned runs on eight hits and two walks.
“Smith Valley is really tough when they have to be and it is starting to look like a rematch in the state tournament again this year,” Coleville coach Scott Bush said. “This is turning out to be one of the really exciting rivalries and if we want to win it all we are going to have to play our best game in Alamo.”
Coleville leads the overall series 11-2 and won the state title in 1996, but Smith Valley took the crown last year.
Coleville and Smith Valley are probably the top two teams in the state again this year.
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