yote notes - edition 3
COMING UP: at Northwest Cup, Hood View Park, Clackamas, Ore. – Friday vs. Whitworth, 1 p.m. (PT), vs. British Columbia, 3 p.m. (PT); Saturday vs. George Fox, 9 a.m. (PT), vs. Pacific, 1 p.m. (PT); Sunday vs. Lewis & Clark, 9 a.m. (PT), vs. Willamette, 1 p.m. (PT)
LAST WEEK: at Simpson Invitational, Redding, Calif. – vs. Simpson (W 11-1), vs. Holy Names (W 7-4), vs. Willam Jessup (W 6-0), vs. Patten (W 10-2), vs. Biola (W 12-8), vs. Concordia-Irvine (L 3-2)
SKINNER NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Picking up right where she left off in 2011, Nickayla Skinner (Mountain Home, Idaho / Mountain Home HS) was named Cascade Conference Pitcher of the Week after a dominating performance in California. The sophomore went 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA in four appearances, allowing just 11 hits and striking out 35 batters. Skinner allowed just two hits in a win over Simpson in the season opener, then tossed a four-hit shutout against William Jessup, fanning 10. She got the final six outs to pick up a save vs. Biola, closing the tournament with a 13-strikeout effort in a no-decision against No. 8 ranked Concordia-Irvine – her eighth career 10-or-more strikeout performance.
BEST START EVER: With victories in their first five games at the Simpson Invitational, the Lady Yotes recorded their best start in the 11-year history of the program. The C of I won their first four games during the 2007 season – also at the Simpson Invite, beginning that year 6-1, which is the best seven-game start to a season. The Coyotes opened both the 2004 and 2009 season with a 9-3 record, their best 12-game starts.
MILLS EN FUEGO: It was a career weekend for the Coyotes’ Molly Mills (Burley, Idaho / Burley HS), who recorded 13 hits in 20 at bats in the six games. The junior eclipsed her 2011 season total for doubles and RBI in just series, recording four doubles and 13 RBI, while adding six runs scored and four stolen bases. Mills had a 3-for-3, five RBI performance in a win against Holy Names, adding a 4-for-5 effort against Biola. Mills had a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .708 on-base percentage for the weekend.
LADY YOTES TIE HITS RECORD: In the 12-8 win over Biola, the Coyotes tied the school record for hits in a game with 16. It marked the sixth time that The C of I has tallied 16 hits in a game – twice during the 2007 season (vs. Northwest Nazarene and Eastern Oregon), once in 2009 (vs. Southern Oregon), and twice last season (vs. Northwest Christian and Eastern Oregon).
MACIAS OFF TO GREAT START: Returning to her home state, freshman Alexis Macias (Stockton, Calif. / San Joaquin Delta CC) began her C of I career with a bang. The freshman was the only Lady Yote to hit safely in all six games, going 11-for-22 with a home run and eight RBI at the plate, while picking up a pair of wins in the circle.
WHO WAS HOT: Senior outfielder Nikki Shumway (Boise, Idaho / Boise HS) started her season off on the right foot, gong 10-for-25 in the tournament, scoring eight runs, while recording a team-high six stolen bases. The middle infield tandem of Hannah Johnson (Homedale, Idaho / Homedale HS) and Kaci Baldwin (Lewiston, Idaho / Lewiston HS) also hit well – Johnson going 6-for-15 with four runs scored, with Baldwin 4-for-11 with two RBI. Julia Henrie (Eagle, Idaho / Eagle HS) also hit the ball hard, going 5-for-15 with two homers and six RBI, but had a .565 on-base percentage (drawing four walks and four hit-by-pitches) and scoring a team-high 10 runs.
WHAT WAS NOT: The Lady Yote defense struggled a bit – recording four errors in back-to-back games against William Jessup and Patten. For the weekend, the squad committed 10 errors and finished with a .939 fielding percentage.
OFF TO THE NORTHWEST CUP: For the third-straight year, the Lady Yotes will compete in the Northwest Cup, hosted by Concordia University, at Hood View Park in Clackamas, Ore. The C of I will meet an NAIA independent and five NCAA Division III teams in the three-day event. The Yotes have a 5-5 record all-time at the Northwest Cup, posting a 2-2 record in 2010, followed by a 3-3 record last season.
DAY 1 OPPONENTS: The Lady Yotes open with British Columbia, an NAIA independent, in their second season of intercollegiate softball. The T-Birds (1-8-1) had a rough go of it in California at the Simpson Invite, going 1-7 – with their lone win vs. Menlo College. UBC has no stats for the 2012 season posted, but their top returners include catcher Lindsay McElroy (.269 2 HR 32 RBI) and pitcher Leigh Della Siega (6-9 4.01 ERA). It is the second meeting between the teams, as the Yotes won last season, 9-5. Game 2 on Friday pits the Yotes and Whitworth, picked to finish fourth in the Division III Northwest Conference. The Pirates (20-19 in 2011) are led by the first-baseman/designated player combo of Jamie Brunner (.440 18 RBI) and Julia Johnson (.330 6 HR 30 RBI), along with pitcher Taylor Gilbert (2-0 5.13 ERA). It is the eighth meeting between the teams, with Whitworth holding a 6-1 series lead, including wins in six-straight games.
DAY 2 OPPONENTS: Day 2 opens with former CCC school, George Fox. The Bruins (12-28) look to be improved this season – going 3-3 in their opening trip to California. Leading the Division III school is All-NWC pick Bethany Chriss (.342 5 HR 25 RBI) and returner Felicia Chavez (.243 2 RBI) – who hit .421 with five RBI on their recent trip south. It is the third meeting between the teams, with the series deadlocked at 1-1. The Yotes meet Pacific in the second game Saturday, as the Boxers (22-16) return all-everything player Chelsey Chamberlain (8-5 3.09 ERA; .412 13 HR 63 RBI). Pacific went 2-4 on a recent trip to California, with Jordan Mittelsdorf leading the team with two homers and 11 RBI. It is the fourth meeting between the teams, with the Yotes leading the series, 2-1.
DAY 3 OPPONENTS: Sunday opens with a morning match-up with Lewis & Clark, picked to finish last in the NWC. The Pioneers (8-31) will have their season-opener against the Yotes, with shortstop Caroline DeVincenzi (.391 7 HR 27 RBI) and pitcher Natalie Rose (6-16 8.31 ERA) leading the team. It is the second meeting between the teams, with the Yotes picking up a 4-3 win last season. Tourney play ends Sunday against Willamette, one of the contenders in the NWC. The Bearcats (19-19 in 2011) return shortstop Mica Romero (.374 5 HR 24 RBI, 23 SB) and top pitcher Alex Watilo (15-6 2.47 ERA) and look to be improved this season. It is the second meeting between the teams, as WU defeated the Yotes during the 2010 season.
CCC / NATIONAL POLL: The CCC and the NAIA released their preseason rankings in mid-November, with the Lady Yotes picked to finish fourth in the seven team conference. Oregon Tech, which stunned the softball world by winning the 2011 NAIA National Championship, was the league favorite, followed by Corban, Concordia, the Lady Yotes, Southern Oregon, Northwest Christian, and Eastern Oregon. In the NAIA Top-25 – OIT claimed the preseason No. 1 spot, followed by Cal State-San Marcos, Oklahoma City, Central Baptist (Ark.), and Brenau (Ga.). C of I opponents’ Concordia-Irvine (No. 8) and Corban (No. 24) were in the Top-25, while five other oppoents’ – Dickinson State (N.D.), Concordia (Ore.), Biola (Calif.), Simpson (Calif.), and William Jessup (Calif.) all received votes. The Lady Yotes received six voter points in the preseason national poll – good enough for a tie for No. 42 in the nation heading into 2012.
RECORD BOOK: Five Lady Yotes currently find themselves listed in the career Top-10 record book, led by Nickayla Skinner, who is No. 4 in career shutouts (4), No. 5 in wins (17) and strikeouts (201), No. 7 in innings pitched (167), games started (24), and complete games (18), and No. 8 in appearances (29). Nikki Shumway ranks No. 5 in triples (3), No. 6 in stolen bases (27), No. 7 in home runs (9), and No. 10 in runs scored (10), with Hannah Johnson No. 6 in triples (2) and sacrifice hits (13), and No. 11 in hit-by-pitches (5). Two others are on the list – Julia Henrie is No. 6 in triples (2) and No. 10 in hit-by-pitches (6), with Molly Mills No. 8 in hit-by-pitches (7).
DAY 1 RECAP: The C of I opened the 2012 with a trio of victories at the Simpson Invitational Tournament in Redding, Calif. The Lady Yotes opened with an 11-1 victory over host Simpson, knocked off Holy Names, 7-4, and closed the day under the lights with a 6-0 shutout of William Jessup. In the opener, Nickayla Skinner struck out nine batters in the complete-game two-hitter, as The C of I needed just six innings to top the 2011 NCCAA national runners-up. The Yotes jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, padding the cushion with a four-run fifth and a three-run sixth inning. Nikki Shumway went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two stolen bases in the win, with Molly Mills going 2-for-4 with three RBI. Skinner and Kayla Webb each added two hits, with Alexis Macias going 2-for-4 with a solo home run. Mills provided the big blow in Game 2, breaking open a 4-2 contest with a fourth inning three-run homer. The C of I jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on RBI singles from Kristen Haugen (Salem, Ore. / South Salem HS) and Mills, but a two-run homer by HNU's Samantha Fisher tied the score in the second. In the bottom of the second, Haugen and Mills connected on RBI singles to give the Yotes the lead back. It was enough for Macias, who allowed just two earned runs for the victory, as Mills went 3-for-5 with five RBI, Hannah Johnson going 3-for-4 with a run scored, and Haugen going 2-for-4 with two RBI. Under the lights, Skinner handcuffed WJU - limiting the Warriors to just four hits, striking out 10 in the win. The Yotes jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings - as Mills roped a two-run single in a three-run first, with The C of I taking advantage of two errors to plate a pair in the second. Shumway went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, with Johnson, Skinner, and Mills each recording two hits.
DAY 2 RECAP: The C of I picked up a pair of wins on the final day of the Simpson Invitational in Redding, Calif. - finishing their most prolific opening weekend in the 11 year history of the program. The Lady Yotes opened the day with a 10-2 victory over Patten University, scored a 12-8 victory over Biola, before dropping a tough 3-2 decision to No. 8 ranked Concordia-Irvine. The five wins to open a season was a new program record. The early game, the Coyotes jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Julia Henrie and an Alexis Macias RBI single. The C of I led 4-2 - but broke the game wide open with a six-run sixth, as Hannah Johnson, Molly Mills, and Kaitlin Howell (Boise, Idaho / Capital HS) each had RBI singles, Kristin Haugen lined a two-run single, and Macias roped an RBI double. Kayla Park (Ontario, Ore. / Treasure Valley CC) allowed just four hits and two unearned runs for the victory, with Macias and Henrie each had three of C of I's 14 hits. The C of I squandered an early 5-0 lead against Biola in Game 2, rallying for the win against the Eagles. RBI singles in the first from Henrie, Macias, Nickayla Skinner, and Kaci Baldwin, along with an RBI double from Kendall Pavey (Spokane, Wash. / Lewis & Clark HS) gave the Purple and Gold the early lead. Biola would rally, as CeCe Luster lined a two-run homer in the third, adding a two-run single in the fourth that gave BU a 6-5 lead. Trailing 8-5, the Yotes plated four in the sixth, as Haugen brought home a run with a bases loaded walk, and Macias provided the big blow with a three-run double to give The C of I the lead for good. Henrie capped the scoring with a two-run homer in the seventh. Macias got the win, despite allowing eight runs on 10 hits, with Skinner getting the final six outs for the save. Mills went 4-for-5 and Baldwin 3-for-4 in the victory, as The C of I tied the school record for hits in a game with 16. Brooke Madrid went 3-for-4 in the loss for the Eagles. The late game needed extra innings - with Concordia scoring the winning run on a passed ball in the bottom of the ninth inning. CUI struck first in the opening inning, as Amanda Fama hit a solo home run, but the Yotes got an RBI single from Baldwin and added a run on a Rachael Strong (Clackamas, Ore. / Clackamas CC) fielders' choice in the second. Bryana Simpson tied the game in the fourth with a leadoff homer - with the score remaining deadlocked into the extra frames. The Yotes loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth, but Eagles pitcher Katie Cotta worked out of the jam. Using the international tiebreaker, an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt put runners on the corners for CUI - with an intentional walk loading the bags, with Alysssa Erickson scampering home on a passed ball to end the game. Skinner was dominant in the circle, allowing just four hits and fanning 13 batters in seven innings of work.
ABOUT THE COACH: Al Mendiola is in his seventh year as head coach of The C of I softball program and holds an all-time record of 158-113 - the most wins by a softball coach in school history. The native of San Diego, Calif. has helped the Lady Yotes become a force in Northwest softball, leading The C of I to playoff appearances each year from 2006-09, including the 2007 and 2009 CCC regular-season titles, the 2008 NAIA Region I championship, and berths in the 2008 and 2009 NAIA Softball National Championships. Following the 2007 season, Mendiola was honored as CCC and NAIA Region I Coach of the Year after the Coyotes set a school record with 37 wins. Under his direction, the Yotes have been ranked as high as No. 14 in the NAIA Top-25 Coaches Poll. Outside of softball, Mendiola was the head coach of the Caldwell Silver Streaks American Legion baseball team from 1997-07 and has also assisted with the Boise Clippers men's fastpitch team. He was also an assistant coach for The C of I baseball team for seven years. A 1994 graduate of The C of I, Mendiola played two seasons of baseball for head coach Tim Mooney, earning honorable mention NAIA All-America honors as a senior. His wife, Liz, has been the head volleyball coach at The C of I for the past 11 years. The Mendiola's have two children, Aleah and Micah, and reside in Caldwell.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more information on The C of I softball program, head to the official homepage of the Coyotes, http://www.collegeofidaho.edu/softball.