Christina Nelson and Chelsea Gorman spent two years with the Western Nebraska Community College softball team and never played an inning during the spring because of injuries.
On Sunday, during WNCC’s final regular season home game and sophomore recognition, Nelson and Gorman were given an opportunity to be on the field with their teammates, serving as honorary base coaches for the first inning of game one with their game with Otero Junior College.
The two, who hope to be coaches in the future, were shocked when their names were called over the PA system.
“I had no idea we were going to coach the inning,” Nelson said. “It truly meant a lot to us that coach [Katelyn Groves] allowed us to do that. It was our way of being on the field for sophomore day and it was fun.”
Gorman, too, was shocked but appreciated Coach Groves for doing something for them.
“I was totally shocked when coach let Christina and I coach the team for an inning and be out on the field,” she said. “I thought it was really cool of her to let us have that moment with the team on sophomore day.”
WNCC split the Region IX conference doubleheader on Sunday, falling 11-2 in game one before coming back to earn an emotional 10-9 win in game twoin the sophomores last home game. Besides Nelson and Gorman, the other five sophomores recognized were Brooke Doumer, Alyssa Guymon, Madi Jackson, Allison Parker, and Beanie Luttig.
Nelson said the second game was the way the team needs to play, minus the sixth inning when Otero scored nine runs. Nelson said it felt good to finish off the home campaign with a win.
“Overall we did well. We played together as a team and did our jobs the second game and played hard the entire game,” Nelson said. “It’s definitely nice to go out on a win. I’m super proud of my teammates and the hard work they’ve put in all season long. They didn’t give up and they showed a lot of fight and for thatI am proud of them.”
Gorman said this team always has fight in them, even when the times get tough. That is what they showed in game two, plenty of fight.
“The second game we got timely hits and worked as a team early in the game,” she said. “We were ready to go at the beginning and I think that is an important thing for this team. Overall, I think we are working in the right direction. I just love our team and I love the way we are able to fight and play for each other. Playing at home is always a great feeling and ending with a win makes it even better.”
WNCC did show plenty of fight in the second game. The Cougars plated three in the first inning. Emma McMillan started things with a double and then loaded the bases. Gabby Loya was walked to force in the first run followed by Reagan Solomon scoring two runs with a single.
WNCC added a single run in the second as Michaela Kelly singled home McMillan.
WNCC went up 6-0 after four innings as McMillan and Doumer had back-to-back home runs.
Otero responded with a thunder in the sixth, scoring nine times on nine hits. Eight of the runs game with two outs to grab a 9-6 lead.
The Cougars responded right back in the bottom of the sixth with four runs. WNCC loaded the bases to start the inning as McMillan and Alyssa Guymon earned walks and Marlee Grant singled. After Guymon scored on an error, Madi Jackson singled to bring the Cougars to within 9-8.
Kelly followed with a single to score McMillan and Doumer with the tying and go-ahead runs.
The Cougars finished the game with nine hits. Michaela Kelly led the team with three singles with three RBIs and a run scored. McMillan finished with two hits, a double and home run with three runs scored. Doumer had a home run in the contest while finishing with two RBIs and three runs scored.
McMillan picked up the win in the circle, going 6 2/3 innings. McMillan allowed 12 hits, six runs, while striking out six.
The first game saw Otero jump out to a 6-0 led and never looked back, holding an 8-0 lead before WNCC plated a single run in the fourth.
WNCC finished with eight hits in the contest, but never could get the clutch hit as they left 10 runners on base.
Reagan Solomon led the way with three singles, while Marlee Grant and Kelly each had two hits. Doumer had the only extra base hit with a double. Hannah Schaefer scored two runs.
WNCC will next be at the Region IX tournament that begins Friday in Lamar, Colorado. Official pairings will be release this week. Nelson and Gorman said they just have to play if they want to win a regional title.
“For regionals, we need to communicate and trust each other,” Gorman, who plans to attend Chadron State College next year and coach in the future, said. “It is important that we have fun and compete until the end no matter what the score is.”
Nelson, who is planning on attending Metro State next year and hopes to coach in the future, said anything is possible.
“We have to continue to play hard and play as a team,” Nelson said. “Good things happen when we have fun and play hard.”
For Nelson, being a part of the Cougar team in the manner that she did was just as special the past two years.
“I have truly enjoyed my two years here at WNCC,” she said. “I have met some incredible people who have impacted my life in many ways. I am very proud of my teammates and I consider myself lucky to be a part of this program.”
Otero 600 203 – 11 12 0
WNCC 000 101 – 2 8 1
LP – Emma McMillan
2B – Brooke Doumer
Otero 000 009 0 – 9 14 2
WNCC 310 204 x – 10 9 4
WP – Emma McMillan
2B – Emma McMillan
HR – Emma McMillan, Brooke Doumer