By Garrett Estrada
Ely Times Staff Writer
The White Pine High School softball team “passed the test” according to coach Krystal Smith after winning two tough games at Pershing County.
Smith said going into the games that the weekend would provide a good metric to see where the team was after easily winning six straight games. With a 8-4 win on Friday and 11-1 win on Saturday, Smith was pleased to see that the team held up against the stronger competition.
“It was a couple of games that we knew would be a test for us, and we definitely passed that first test,” Smith said.
Friday’s game proved the Ladycats needed to step up if they were going to extend their winning streak. Smith said both teams were trading runs early on and that overall her squad were committing too many errors to really pull ahead. That all changed when the Ladycats loaded the bases and Jane Murdock stepped up to the plate in the fourth inning.
“Jane Murdock hit a grand slam that really broke the game open for us,” Smith said. “It put us up by a couple of runs and we were able to hang onto that lead.”
Things started slow again in Saturday’s game, but White Pine’s deep roster of experienced players found their swing as the game progressed. Smith said she has found success by “pitching by committee” and relying on her deep lineup to produce hits.
“Our team is just extremely balanced,” she said. “Everything we do, we do as a team. We pitch by committee, meaning we switch our pitchers every few innings which keeps other teams batters off balance.”
The coach also said despite the team’s early success, they haven’t lost their focus thanks in large part to the leadership of her seniors.
“We started out slow in both games but then we got our bats going and the game exploded from there,” Senior outfielder Amanda Allred said. “We had great hit after great hit and from then on Pershing didn’t stand a chance.”
Allred contributed the resilience and patience of the team as the factors in their wins, adding that everyone from “pitchers to outfielders did their part.” Senior pitcher Alli Huntington, who pitched part of a no-hitter against North Tahoe, said that close wins like Friday’s game helps the team keep their ego in check.
“Winning those two games the way we did helped us become closer as a team,” Huntington said.
The team’s current eight game win streak will be face an even tougher test against Battle Mountain on Friday at the Ladycats’ home field at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. With a 4-2 record, the third-place Longhorns are not to be taken lightly according to Smith.
“They have a lot of seniors. It will be another big test for us,” she said.