Thanks to a 30-2 record so far this season, the Salt Lake Community College baseball team moved up in the national rankings last week to claim the top spot in the country. Such a title can bring a wide range of emotions to a ball club. The only emotion that SLCC coach David “D.G.” Nelson is feeling is confidence in just how special this season can be.
“This is a pretty fun group. They just really hate to lose and are going to keep competing every day,” Nelson said.
Salt Lake got their first chance to defend the #1 ranking last weekend, as the 14th ranked Western Nevada Community College visited Cate Field. Despite the continued steady hitting of Braden Anderson and Tyson Popoff, the Bruins fell short in their first game on Friday, losing 5-3. Anderson was 2-4 with an RBI, while Popoff was a perfect 3-3 with 2 runs batted in.
The winning ways returned in game two on Friday, as SLCC pounded out a 10-1 victory. Tyson Memmott gave up just a single hit in a complete game effort on the mound, while Dom Taylor, Mitch Manning and Eddy Alvarez each brought 3 base runners home. It was a great example of why Nelson feels that his team has had so much success.
“The offensive side is just a great mix. We’re extremely fast and we have power in the order and guys that can drive runners home,” he said.
On the other side of the ball, Nelson remarked, “Once again you have a bunch of competitors. When a couple of guys get on (base) it doesn’t faze them. They keep executing.” He later joked, “They play catch very well.”
That execution continued on Saturday, as the Bruins took two more from WNCC, 9-2 and 4-3. In game one, Manning drove in 3 more, and Kyle Bilbrey went 2-4 with one RBI.
The second game of the day and the final one of the weekend went down to the wire, but SLCC pulled out the victory in extra innings. Derrick Whitney led off the 8th inning with a single and Manning brought him home to seal the deal. As if he foresaw Saturday’s result, Nelson said, “That might be the thing I’m most proud about this group. When we need a clutch pitch we make it and when we need a clutch hit we get it.”
After the four games, the Bruins moved their overall record to 31-3, but Nelson insists that it’s only going to get better.
“We have to continue to strive to get better. This group is not a group to be satisfied with anything. We are not playing our best baseball yet, which is exciting…We’ll get better so its going to be fun to see how good they can get,” he said.
A pretty scary thought for opponents of a team that is already considered the best in the country.
Ranked 5th in the nation, the Lady Bruins softball squad reminded fans that they are pretty good, too – taking care of business against WNCC last weekend in a 4-game sweep.
In game one on Friday, ace Ariel Zimmerman fanned 12 in a complete game shutout as SLCC won 5-0. Krystin Jachim hit a two-run dinger to anchor the offense and Brooke Budge added two hits in the win.
Game two was a case of “different game, same result” as Salt Lake produced another shutout, 8-0. Kylee Colvin was great on the mound, while Madi White knocked in three runs. Kylee Brinkerhoff took a pitch deep, and Savannah Webster had one RBI.
WNCC finally scored on Saturday, but the Lady Bruins took two more, 8-2 and 4-2.
In game one, Zimmerman pitched another gem, striking out 11. White and Webster each belted two-run shots to inject life into the scoreboard.
SLCC finished the series with a combined effort on the mound from Colvin and Dezlee Roberts. Colvin delivered three innings of shutout ball, while Shay Wallace and DJ Richardson had three hits apiece. After the weekend sweep, the Lady Bruins have a 38-6 overall record.
BRUINS AT HOME THIS WEEK:
April 8: Softball doubleheader vs. College of Southern Idaho. 1:00 p.m., Taylorsville Redwood Campus
April 9: Softball doubleheader vs. College of Southern Idaho, 1:00 p.m., Taylorsville Redwood Campus
*Admission to all games is free with a OneCard Student ID.