Wildcats slip past Bengals

By her own admission, Monique Hernandez "wasn’t doing all that well" in the pitcher’s circle Wednesday.

It never hurts to have high standards — or a nasty riseball and a mystifying curve.

The Las Vegas High left-hander tossed a seven-hitter with eight strikeouts and kept Bonanza off balance to help the Wildcats to a 5-2 road victory, their second win in three days against teams expected to qualify for the Sunset Region playoffs.

"I really wasn’t doing all that well," said Hernandez, who also had the game-winning hit, a bases-loaded single that broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the seventh. "My riseball really helped me."

Hernandez allowed a two-out walk and a triple in the first inning before retiring 14 of the next 16 hitters. She struck out the side on nine pitches in the fifth inning, using the rise, a screwball and a curveball that whispered across the outside corner against right-handed hitters.

"Monique has a lot of heart," Las Vegas coach Danielle Rumph said. "She had a couple of rough innings early, but she figured it out."

Las Vegas’ defense helped, too. The Wildcats committed only two errors — both in the sixth inning when Bonanza scored to tie the game at 2-2.

But Hernandez didn’t get much run support. Bonanza’s Courtney Spencer, who at times struggled to find her control, allowed only one hit through six innings before Las Vegas struck for three runs in the seventh.

Krizzel Galvez led off the inning with a bloop double and moved to third when Jenice Gutierrez reached on an error.

Ashly Westgarth’s bunt single loaded the bases for Hernandez, who ripped Spencer’s first pitch into right. Bonanza’s right fielder misplayed the ball, which cleared the bases and gave the Wildcats a three-run lead.

Las Vegas, which finished 17-10 last season, opened this year with a 9-6 loss to Green Valley before winning two of three games in a tournament in St. George, Utah, and stunning Cimarron-Memorial in nine innings Monday. The victory over Bonanza, which won 29 games last season, should only add to the Wildcats’ confidence.

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5230.

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