Coyotes Baseball and Softball Teams Contend for High Rankings

Coyote's first baseman Morgan Stotts

Coyote’s first baseman Morgan Stotts

By Robert Vendettolli

After finishing both their seasons, the College of Southern Nevada’s baseball and softball teams were invited to the Region 18 Tournament in hopes of advancing to the Western District Tournament.

The Coyotes baseball team came into the tournament as the No. 1 contender on a mission to head to Grand Junction, Colo. for the Junior College World Series.

In its first matchup against the College of Southern Idaho Golden Eagles, the Coyotes baseball team defeated the Eagles 10-0 in only five innings due to the mercy rule. With the easy win and extra rest, the Coyotes have positioned itself as the primary team to win the region with its big bats, but more importantly strong pitching.

When asked about his team’s chance of winning the region, freshman second baseman Evan Van Hoosier seemed confident about moving on to the Western District Tournament.

“I think we have a great chance at winning it,” Van Hoosier said. “Pitching is key and we have a lot of it.”

The Coyotes were on top of things from the get go and put the game out of reach early on.

“Offensively we were aggressive on the bases,” said Nick Garritano, head coach of the Coyotes. “We out a lot of pressure on them and had a lot of timely hits.”

With run support early on, starting pitcher Thomas Pannone only allowed two hits and he struck out nine batters in the game.

“Tommy pitched great,” Garritano said. “We couldn’t have asked for more. He definitely put us in a good position.”

On the women’s side, the Coyotes softball team felt strong coming into the tournament after winning nine straight games and it looked like a prime contender to win the tournament after defeating Western Nevada 7-1.

The Coyotes women’s team was led by its two freshman stars First Baseman Rhiana Balaun and Short Stop Mikela Manewa.

On May 9 the women weren’t so fortunate. It drew a matchup against the sixth ranked team in the nation Salt Lake Community College. The Coyotes was defeated 0-4 moving it into a lower bracket for a game later in the day against Snow College. Despite its 0-1 loss to Snow College, the team turned up its intensity and played well overall.

“We came together as a team and we played like family,” First Baseman Balaun said.

“We just couldn’t pull out the wins we needed to move on to the next games.”

Although the goal every year is to win the region, the Coyotes softball team made strides all season long and with Balaun and Manewa. The team could position itself to be one of the top teams in the Scenic West Athletic Conference next spring.

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