Conference play begins this weekend for the White Pine High baseball team, new to the 2A Northern league this year.

What is new for the Bobcats is a new format for league games, different from what they knew in the Southern league. Instead of teams playing a double-header at one location with one team being designated the home team one game, and the visiting team the next, the 2A Northern league plays a three-game set over two days.“It’s something the league started last year,” said White Pine coach Quinn Ewell. White Pine gets their first taste of this on Friday and Saturday at Yerington, and a tough matchup it will be also, as the consistently strong Lions have been the state runner-up the past two seasons.

Baseball action for the Bobcats began last weekend at the Cougar Classic in Laughlin. The Bobcats first played 1A school Round Mountain on Friday and lost a 9-5 decision.

The Knights broke a tie game with six runs in the fourth inning and the Bobcats were only able to add two more before falling short. Also on Friday, the Bobcats edged Sandy Valley 3-2 by scoring the winning run on  a walk off single in the fifth inning by Caleb Britton.

“We had a guy on third (Jayden Brewer),” said Ewell, “and Caleb was in there at the plate a long time, must have fouled off seven or eight pitches, then finally got a base hit to win the game.”The first game Saturday morning was against Wells, the state Division IV runner-up last year, and the Leopards shutout the Bobcats 10-0.  “We made quite a few errors (8) that game,” Ewell said. “We gave up a lot of runs that way that we should not have and should have played them a lot tighter. Wells does a good job and are always competitive.”

The final game on Saturday was a 4-2 loss to host Laughlin, a former Southern League opponent.

“They are a young team, like us,” said Ewell, “They’ve had their boys moving up through Senior league ball as we have. Colton Britton, our main pitcher, worked 3⅔ innings, allowed four runs on five hits, walked two and struck out six. I wanted to get a real good look at Colton, as he is our only senior.”Ewell said the team hit the ball alright in the tournament, but the real work needs to come with fielding, as the team committed 24 errors in the four games.“But there were a lot of positives, too,” he said, “like learning where to be when the ball is hit, and we’ll work on all that to get better, we have a lot of talent on our young team.”