Ladycats come back through losers bracket to play Lincoln in finals
Things didn’t start the way the White Pine High School Ladycat softball team wanted it to in the first game of the Division III state tournament held over the weekend in Las Vegas. The Ladycats dropped their first game of the tournament 7-6 to the Yerington Lions, who entered the tournament as the number one seed out of the north.
The close loss could’ve ruined the veteran team’s morale but head coach Krystal Smith was determined to keep their heads up and knew that their season wasn’t over until it was really over.
“I reminded them that Lincoln lost their first game of the state tournament last year and they ended up playing for the state title,” Smith said. “I told them that if we played our type of softball then I knew we would be in great shape.”
The team responded to Smith’s words. White Pine fought their way to an 8-4 victory over Battle Mountain thanks to some strong middle inning pitching by senior McKenna Windous to earn a rematch against the Lions in the losers bracket. This time, things went differently.
The Ladycats jumped out to a big lead and never let Yerington back into the game thanks in large part to the strong defensive performances by seniors Jane Murdock and Teal Hussey at third base and catcher respectively. The Ladycats eliminated the Lions in a blowout 11-1 win to earn their way to the finals against the team their were originally trying to emulate, Lincoln County High School. With the tournament requiring a school to lose twice to be eliminated, White Pine still had the odds stacked against them, needing two consecutive victories to secure the title.
That’s when Smith’s standout player of the weekend, freshman Brittany Kingston shined.
Playing as a pitcher, Kingston “rose to the occasion for her team” according to Smith, allowing only two runs against the Lynx en route to their first of two needed wins. The Lynx found their bats in the decisive game and took home the state title, defeating the Ladycats 8-3 to give the White Pine their third straight State Runner-Up title.
“It is hard but I’m really proud of the way my girls played. I wish we could’ve won it for our seniors but we’ll just have to work hard again next season to get back here,” Smith said.
Kingston finished the weekend with four home runs and an inside the park home run. The Ladycats have made it to the state finals four out of their past five seasons.