yote notes - edition 8
COMING UP: vs. Concordia (DH), Friday, 1 p.m.; vs. Northwest Christian (DH), Saturday, 11 a.m.; vs. Eastern Oregon (DH), 11 a.m.
LAST WEEK: vs. No. 16 Corban (W 1-0, L 14-5)
LIVE STATS: Live Statistics of Friday and Saturday’s games (no live stats on Sunday) will be available online, thanks to the Sprint Store in Meridian (2100 East Fairview Ave, 855-9910). Fans can access the stats by the NAIA’s Dakstats portal at http://www.dakstats.com/naia and click on the webcast link at the top of the page.
LADY YOTES RANKED NO. 22 IN NAIA POLL: For the first time in over two seasons, The C of I climbed into the Top-25 as the first NAIA Softball Coaches' Poll of the 2012 regular-season was released Tuesday afternoon by the national office in Kansas City, Mo. The Lady Yotes were ranked No. 22 - the first ranking since the team opened the 2010 season ranked No. 15 in the Preseason Top-25 poll. The C of I received 168 voter points in the tabulation - one of four Cascade Conference teams in this week's ranking. Oregon Tech was ranked No. 5, Corban was ranked No. 16, with Concordia receiving votes. Two preseason opponents' were in the poll - No. 3 Concordia-Irvine, with William Jessup receiving votes. Cal-State San Marcos was ranked No. 1, followed by Lubbock Christian (Texas), Concordia-Irvine, Oklahoma City, and Oregon Tech. The poll will be released each Tuesday for the remainder of the regular-season.
SKINNER SWEEPS CCC WEEKLY AWARDS: C of I sophomore Nickayla Skinner (Mountain Home, Idaho / Mountain Home HS) swept the weekly Red Lion-CCC softball awards, earning Player and Pitcher of the Week honors, announced Monday afternoon by the league office in La Grande, Ore. The right-hander became the first Lady Yote to sweep the awards since Katie Zillner earned both honors in May of 2006. It marked the third-straight week that she’d earned Pitcher of the Week honors and the fourth time overall this season. Skinner handcuffed Corban University in Saturday's Game 1, limiting the top hitting team in the CCC to three hits and striking out 13. She went 3-for-6 with two RBI in the doubleheader, including a game-winning double in Game 1.
WHEN SKINNER PITCHES: The Lady Yotes have been nearly unbeatable when Nickayla Skinner toes the rubber in 2012, as the squad is 13-1 in the 14 games that she has seen action. Skinner has allowed just 25 hits in 62 innings of work, limiting opponents’ to a .120 batting average. Her 85 strikeouts lead the CCC, with her four saves ranking second in the NAIA. Skinner has recorded four games of 10-or-more strikeouts, giving her 10 games with at least 10 strikeouts in her career – trailing just Katie Zillner (26) and Jody Zillner (14) in school history.
WIN STREAK SNAPPED AT 12: A Game 1 win over Corban on Saturday extended the Lady Yotes win streak to a program best 12 games, before a Game 2 loss ended the run. Despite the loss, the squad is on pace to break their best 25-game start, as the 2007 team started the season, 18-7.
RARE DOUBLE-DIGIT INNING: The 11-run fourth inning by Corban in Game 2 on Saturday marked just the third time in the 11-year history of the Coyote softball program than an opponent scored 10-or-more runs in an inning.. In 2002, Southern Oregon tallied 11 third inning runs in a 17-0 win in Ashland, while the following year, SOU scored 13 first-inning runs in an 18-2 victory over The C of I. Incidentally, the most runs scored by the Lady Yotes in an inning – 17, vs. Northwest Nazarene in 2007 (20-2 win).
WEATHER WOES ALTER SCHEDULE: Wild weather in the Pacific Northwest hurt the CCC schedule last weekend – as all games, except the Yotes and Corban, were postponed. Also postponed was Tuesday’s scheduled twinbill between C of I and Eastern Oregon in La Grande. With Anderson Field at EOU still unplayable – the Mountaineers will head to Caldwell, creating a four team jamboree at Symms Field this weekend. The Lady Yotes have moved Friday’s start time to 1 p.m. for their doubleheader with Concordia, followed with a 5 p.m. doubleheader between EOU and Northwest Christian. Saturday, following the Yotes 11 a.m. twinbill with NCU, Eastern and Concordia will play a pair. To close out the weekend, the rain out on Tuesday between EOU and C of I will be made up in an 11 a.m. doubleheader at Symms Field (with the Yotes heading to La Grande on Apr. 10. Also – Corban will meet both Oregon Tech and Southern Oregon in Medford due to weather issues.
ABOUT CONCORDIA: The weekend begins with a doubleheader against Concordia, a team that swept four games from the Lady Yotes last season. The Cavaliers (9-11) have not played in two weeks, but come to Caldwell having won 4-of-5. Second-baseman Sam Genskay (.438 5 RBI) leads a team that is batting .320 on the season, with catcher Kyndell Andrews (.393 3 HR 18 RBI) and first-baseman Laura Luther (.383 6 HR 21 RBI) having big sticks in the middle of the order. CU does not have the dominant pitching they’ve had the past couple years – as Ashley Suter (3-4 3.34 ERA), Lacey Romo (3-3 3.89 ERA), and Jordyn Brown (3-3 5.00 ERA) lead the staff. The C of I is looking to end an eight-game losing streak to CU, with the Cavs holding a 23-22 series lead.
ABOUT NORTHWEST CHRISTIAN: Saturday, it’s Northwest Christian meeting the Yotes, looking to end a 12-game losing streak. The Beacons (2-16) have been unlucky this season, as eight of their 16 losses have been by two-runs or less. NCU is led at the plate by catcher Gabby Stover (.349 4 HR 10 RBI), shortstop Laynee Bevans (.333 1 HR 4 RBI), and outfielder Chelsea Hannon (.319 1 HR 8 RBI), while the Beacons use just two pitchers – Kalyssa Koontz (0-9 3.77 ERA) and Jenna Royce (2-7 3.78 ERA). The two teams have met 27 previous times, with the Lady Yotes holding a 20-7 series edge.
ABOUT EASTERN OREGON: The Lady Yotes will close out the weekend the way they were supposed to begin it - meeting Eastern Oregon. The Mountaineers (4-4) have not played a game since Feb. 24, but have quality wins against Concordia-Irvine, Biola, and Dickinson State. EOU is led offensively by Sarah Jackson (.478 3 HR 10 RBI) and Cassie Wendt (.423 4 RBI), while in the circle, newcomer Alex Hillmick (3-0 0.33 ERA) has been solid for the Mounties. Eastern has dropped the last five meetings with the Lady Yotes, however, the Mountaineers hold a 29-21 all-time series edge over The C of I.
RECORD BOOK: Just 20 games into the 2012 season, four Lady Yotes have cracked the single-season Top-10 list. Molly Mills (Burley, Idaho / Burley HS) has broken the record for hit-by-pitches in a season (9), while Nickayla Skinner has tied the record for saves (4), Nikki Shumway (Boise, Idaho / Boise HS) ranks No. 9 and Alexis Macias (Stockton, Calif. / San Joaquin Delta CC) is No. 10 in home runs – as Shumway has smacked five and Macias, four. Six Lady Yotes currently find themselves listed in the career Top-10 record book, led by Skinner, who is No. 1 in saves (5), No. 3 in strikeouts (251), No. 4 in shutouts (5) and in wins (23), No. 5 in complete games (23), and No. 7 in innings pitched (207.0), games started (29), and in appearances (37). Nikki Shumway ranks No. 3 in home runs (14), No. 4 in triples (3), No. 5 in runs scored (79), No. 6 in stolen bases (30), and No. 10 in hits (119) and RBI (55). Hannah Johnson (Homedale, Idaho / Homedale HS) is No. 6 in triples (2) and sacrifice hits (16), and No. 7 in hit-by-pitches (7). Three others are on the list – Julia Henrie (Eagle, Idaho / Eagle HS) is No. 6 in triples (2) and No. 5 in hit-by-pitches (8), Kristen Haugen (Salem, Ore. / South Salem HS) is No. 8 in RBI (58) and No. 11 in runs scored (53), with Molly Mills No. 4 in hit-by-pitches (12).
GAME RECAP – C OF I 1, CORBAN 0; CORBAN 14, C OF I 5: Nickayla Skinner tossed a three-hit shutout in the opener, driving in the lone run of the game, as The C of I split a doubleheader with No. 16 ranked Corban University, winning Game 1, 1-0, but falling 14-5 in the nightcap. The sophomore kept the top hitting team in the Cascade Conference in check, helping the Lady Yotes extend a school-record win streak to 12 games. Skinner struck out 13 batters, allowing just three runners to reach scoring position. The Coyotes scored the game-winner in the third inning, as Molly Mills was hit by a pitch with two outs, with Skinner followed with a double to the right-center gap, scoring Mills for the 1-0 lead. The Warriors brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh, but Skinner fanned Courtney Castronovo and AmyLynn Perrine to end the game. Skinner was the lone player for either team with two hits, with Amy Greenough taking the loss for Corban, allowing just four hits and fanning six. Game 2 saw the Warriors take a quick 2-0 lead on the strength of Stephanie Nippert's league-leading 12th homer of the season. The Yotes would tie the score in the bottom of the first on a two-run Alexis Macias single. The C of I would grab a 3-2 lead in the second on a bases loaded infield single from Skinner. Corban would take control in the fourth, scoring a school-record 11 runs in the frame. A two-run Abby Pynch single gave the Warriors the lead, with Liane DeHart doubling home a pair to make it 6-3. Nippert lined an RBI single and Emma Winckler launched a three-run homer to make it 10-3. Pynch would add a second two-run single to cap the scoring, with a third run scoring in a run-down. Nikki Shumway hit her fifth homer of the year in the bottom of the fourth - but that was as close as The C of I would get. DeHart and Winckler each had three hits for the Warriors, with Pynch and Nippert each adding two hits. Greenough went four innings to log the win, allowing five runs on five hits. No C of I player had more than one-hit, as Mills reached base three times, including a pair of hit-by-pitches - breaking the single-season record in the process.
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 171-116 - 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.