ELKO — A four-year starter is now a 1st-Team All-State softball player.
Elko senior Jacqueline Pete did not reach the team mountaintop or qualify for a state tournament with the Lady Indians, but she went out with some gusto.
A 2nd-Team All-League selection as a junior, Pete jumped to a 1st-Team All-North and 1st-Team All-State selection in her final season in the maroon and white.
Pete continued to display extra-base hit pop, nailing two triples — tying for the team high and splitting seventh in the league.
After hitting four home runs during her junior year, Pete added another dinger in in her senior campaign — topping the roster and tying for eighth in the 3A North with five bombs.
On April 12, Pete went yard not once, but twice — finishing 3-for-4, driving in a season-high seven runs and scoring two of her own — capping a 15-0 shutout in four winnings with a three-run, walk-off blast.
The contest tied for her season high in hits, also going 3-for-4 with a solo homer in a 7-6 victory on March 19 against Spring Creek, at Newton Field, tying her season best with two runs scored.
Her .774 slugging percentage ranked No. 1 for the Lady Indians and ninth in the league.
Pete’s .526 on-base percentage was fourth for the Lady Indians — Elko routinely placing runners on the paths — her on-base clip serving as the 14th-best in the league.
On the season, she drove in 24 runs and tied for the team high, splitting 15th in the 3A North.
With a .403 batting average, she split second on Elko’s roster and tied for 19th in the league.
Defensively, playing at shortstop — Pete nearly posted a .900 fielding percentage — which would have been insane for that position, fielding the ball at an .891 clip.
She made just seven errors in 64 chances, recording 31 putouts and 26 assists.
For her career, Pete batted .375 with a .474 on-base percentage with 117 hits in 112 games, 105 RBIs and 100 runs scored.
1st-Team All-State, 2nd-Team All-League
While Pete was the only 1st-Team All-State selection among local players, a teammate and a foe from over the summit were not far behind.
Spring Creek senior Allie Thompson had the numbers to earn a 1st-Team All-State selection, just not the position, finishing with 1st-Team All-League and 2nd-Team All-State honors in center field — the 3A North loaded with outfield talent, including 1st-Team All-State selection Macie Kirk from regional champion Fernley.
Thompson’s game grew by leaps and bounds in her last season with the Lady Spartans, her senior season serving as a remarkable finish in the purple and black.
Her name was everywhere in the league standings in virtually every statistical category.
She was not only talented but smart as well, showing the combination of aggressiveness and patience.
Her .561 on-base percentage served as a team high and was the third-best total in the 3A North.
While she showed the propensity for drawing walks, she also demonstrated the ability to rake balls within the strike zone.
She posted the second-best batting average on the team and ranked fifth in the league with a .478 average.
Thompson drilled two triples— tying for the team lead and splitting seventh in the league — her .776 slugging percentage placing second for the Lady Spartans and finishing eighth in the 3A North.
She was also a weapon once she was on base, stealing 10 bases and splitting eighth in the league.
Half of her steals came in one contest, swiping five bases in a 30-16 victory on March 30 versus South Tahoe.
With a team-high 10 doubles, she split ninth in the league for two-base rips.
On May 3, Thompson capped a season-best five hits in a perfect 5-for-5 effort with three doubles.
She also legged out scores, her 34 runs scored leading Spring Creek and tying for 12th in the league, tallying a season-high five runs scored in the 30-16, defense-optional marathon at South Tahoe.
With 32 hits, she tied for the team high and ranked 19th in the 3A North.
Thompson added another component to her repertoire, the deep ball.
She smashed the first home runs of her career, finishing the season with two jacks — tying for second on the roster and finishing just outside the top-20 in the league — splitting 21st in the 3A North.
Her first bomb came in the 30-16 win against the Lady Vikings, her last coming in a 15-5 home victory against Sparks on April 27, fittingly, during Spring Creek’s senior day.
In two years of varsity ball, Thompson hit .425 with a .511 on-base percentage and notched 62 hits, drove in 34 runs and scored 55 runs of her own.
While Elko reaped the benefits of Pete’s bat, the Lady Indians also enjoyed the compliment of the arm of junior Breanna Whitted — who was one of two pitchers who earned a 1st-Team All-League and 2nd-Team All-State selection.
Whitted led Elko with nine wins against five losses, tying for third in the 3A North in Ws.
She topped the Lady Indians’ pitching staff with 72 strikeouts, ranking fourth in the league in punchouts.
Whitted struck out a season-best nine batters versus two walks in a 19-1 shellacking on March 15, in Sparks, allowing just three hits and one run.
On March 19, she fanned eight hitters against two free passes in a 7-6 victory over Spring Creek, at Newton Field.
She struck out five batters or more in five ballgames.
Her 4.80 ERA matched sophomore teammate Rylee Ferguson’s for the best on the roster, giving each the sixth-best earned-run averages in the 3A North.
On March 29, Whitted brought her best stuff in a crucial game against a good team.
In the first game of the Dayton series, she went the distance and allowed just three hits and one run in a 4-1 victory with four strikeouts and two walks in a seven-inning, complete-game effort.
She went seven innings twice, the second and final occurrence coming in the Lady Indians’ thrilling 7-6 comeback win against then-undefeated Fernley on May 3, at Newton Field.
When not throwing pitches, Whitted also showed she can hit offerings.
She batted .262 with 15 RBIs, eight runs scored, a triple and a home run.
In Elko’s final game of the year, a 9-6 loss to Dayton on May 10 in the regional tournament, Whitted pounded a solo bomb over the fence in center field in the bottom of the sixth inning — the crank serving as the first homer of her career.
Spring Creek’s Janeigha Stutesman wasted no time to make an impression on the 3A North, the freshman letting the league know she is going to be a problem for quite some time.
Playing primarily at first base, she is also well-equipped to become an elite pitcher — just needing some polishing.
She tied for the team high and split seventh in the league with two triples.
Stutesman posted the third-best batting average on the team, ranking 15th in the 3A North at .424.
She tied for the team best with 22 RBIs, rounding out the top-20 in the league.
Stutesman drove in four runs in two games, finishing 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored on April 6 versus Truckee and adding another 3-for-4 effort with a double and a run on May 3, at North Valleys.
Her most memorable performance of the season marked a rare feat, Stutesman accomplishing something most players only dream of achieving — taking care of the occurrence in her first season of high school ball.
On March 30, at South Tahoe, she tallied a season-high four hits, one going for a double, adding a triple and capping the extra-base parade with her first and only homer of her career — sprinkling in a single for the cycle.
She drove in three runs and scored a season-high four times in a 30-16 victory over the Lady Vikings.
Stutesman ranked third on the roster with 25 hits, and scored 20 runs — closing the year with four doubles, two triples and a yard job.
At first and in the circle, she finished 16th in the league with a .935 fielding percentage — far and away the best clip on the roster — leading the second-best total on the team by .113.
She made six errors in 92 total chances, compiling 74 assists and 12 putouts — completing two double plays.
While Elko hit the field in 2019 with lots of experienced players — many playing varsity since they were freshman — one of the bright young stars emerged in sophomore Lexi Schweer.
Playing at second base, Schweer quickly showed a stellar glove, knowledge of scenarios and confidence.
She fielded the ball incredibly well at .932 — posting the second-best percentage on the roster of players with 45-plus chances — committing just four errors in 59 chances, recording 31 putouts and 24 assists.
With her bat, Schweer demonstrated the flare for the dramatic.
Of her 24 hits, more than one-third of her knocks went for extra bases — notching six doubles and blasting three home runs.
The three dingers tied for second on the team and 13th in the league, crushing two home runs on the final day of Elko’s season.
In the morning game on May 10, Schweer unleashed her biggest ballgame of the year — the Lady Indians beating defending state champion for the second time of the season by a final score of 11-9 in the regional tourney — finishing the contest 2-for-4 with three RBIs, three runs scored and a deep shot.
The same day, in the 9-6 loss to Dayton that eliminated the Lady Indians — she went yard once again and closed 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
Her first home run came on March 26 in an 11-5 win against Spring Creek, finishing a perfect 4-for-4 in her season high for hits, adding a season-best four RBIs and two runs.
For the year, she drove in 22 runs and ranked third in Elko’s lineup, tying for 20th in the league.
Schweer closed the season with a .338 batting average and scored 26 runs, the third-most for the Lady Indians.
Senior Lauryn Guenin, a four-year varsity starter, capped her career with a 2nd-Team All-League selection in center field.
While Guenin is not listed in the 3A North standings for fielding percentage — which requires a player to have at least 45 total chances — she was the Lady Indians’ rock in the outfield.
She made just one error in 21 chances, notching 17 putouts and three assists — making several highlight catches — using her underrated athleticism to run down balls, her sheer grit to lay out for everything in possible reach.
Not possessing an intimidating frame, don’t be fooled.
Guenin’s arm both saved runs and kept runners from advancing on the base paths.
No player on Elko’s team scored more runs, Guenin crossing home 30 times and tying for 16th in the 3A North.
She scored three runs in three games, crossing six times in two contests at Sparks in a pair of 19-1 victories on March 15 and 16, tying her season high with three hits (3-for-4) with a season-best three RBIs and three runs in the opener, finishing 2-for-2 with an RBI and three runs in the finale.
Like Schweer, Guenin also played a huge role in the Lady Indians’ elimination of Fallon in the regional tourney, batting 3-for-4 with a double and scoring three runs.
On the season, she hit .301 with a .400 on-base percentage and drove in 10 runs.
For her career, Guenin batted .304 with a .362 on-base clip with 84 hits, scoring 86 runs and driving in 49 more.
For a pair of local players, their position somewhat dictated the difference between all-league status and an honorable mention for the league awards.
In a loaded field of catchers, this was the case for Spring Creek sophomore Jaycee Freyensee and Elko senior Kaitlyn Rizo.
Freyensee definitely strikes fear into opposing pitchers and defenses with her mighty bat.
With a team-best .492 batting average, she ranked fourth in the league.
Want pop? She has plenty.
Her .954 slugging percentage led the team by country a mile — despite Thompson’s .776 clip serving as the team’s second-best and the eighth-best in the league – Freyensee placing third in the 3A North.
As the season progressed, she showed better patience and a better eye – ranking fifth in the league and second on the roster with a .554 on-base percentage.
Albeit outside the strike zone — totally against common methodology — she can climb the ladder.
Generally, pitchers want hitters to chase upstairs — Freyensee often turning shoulder-high and above pitches into shots over the outfield fences.
She led the Lady Spartans with six home runs, splitting sixth in the league in balls that left yard.
Freyensee tied for the team high and seventh in the league, legging out two triples.
She ranked second in Spring Creek’s lineup and tied for 16th in the league with eight doubles.
Of Freyensee’s 32 hits — tying Thompson for the team high and splitting 19th in the league — nearly half went for more than a single, finishing with 14 knocks for extra bases.
She tied Stutesman for the team high with 22 RBIs, rounding out the top-20 in the 3A North.
Her 26 runs scored ranked second for the Lady Spartans.
With two more years of time to improve, her bat doesn’t need major changes — only minor tweaks — and now, Freyensee needs to work on her defense.
Likely the only things that kept her from an all-league selection were overall team success compared to a Fernley or a Fallon, combined with a .550 fielding percentage.
Rizo is a serious combination of defense and the ability to kill opponents with her bat.
She led Elko’s team and ranked seventh in the league with a .967 fielding percentage, making just four errors in 122 total chances, finishing fourth in the 3A North with 109 putouts and adding nine assists.
Rizo has a cannon of an arm, which kept runners honest or gunned them down.
At the plate, she tied for seventh in the league and first among Elko’s lineup with two triples.
Like Pete, Rizo posted a .403 batting average — tying for second on the roster — splitting 19th in the league.
She tied Pete for the team lead with 24 RBIs, splitting 15th in the 3A North.
With eight doubles, Rizo led the Lady Indians — tying for 16th in the league.
She led Elko with 27 hits and ranked fourth on the team with 24 runs scored.
Rizo tied for fourth on the team with two home runs — her lowest total since her freshman year — each coming in huge ballgames.
In the top of the first inning on April 6, in Fallon, Rizo smoked a three-run homer and kick-started a 13-9 victory over the defending state champ — ending a 25-game losing streak to the Lady Greenwave that dated back more than a decade to March 22, 2008.
The final home run of her career in the maroon and white capped an incredible comeback, Elko scoring five runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning on May 3 against then-undefeated, No. 1 Fernley, at Newton Field.
Rizo stepped in the box with two on, two away — absolutely annihilating a three-run, walk-off clincher — the shot going back, back, back and gone well beyond the fence in left-center field for a 7-6 victory.
Playing in 113 games during her four-year varsity career, Rizo batted .386, reached base at a .512 clip, tallied 114 hits, scored 112 runs and racked up 112 RBIs.
Elko senior first baseman Kenzie Ratliff had a notable run of bad luck with injuries during her four-year career with the Lady Indians, suffering multiple shoulder injuries and undergoing numerous surgeries.
As she prepared for final season of varsity softball, the injury bug bit again — a collision along the first-base line while applying a tag on March 22 against South Tahoe resulting in yet another setback.
She broke bones in her hand, forcing her to miss nearly a month — her year limited to 17 ballgames.
When she returned on April 19, at Truckee, Ratliff made the most of her comeback at-bat — nailing a triple, driving in two runs and scoring two of her own.
Her second triple of the season — the first since the game she left with a broken hand after a season-best three RBIs — tied her for the team high in three-base rips, splitting seventh in the 3A North with a pair of triples.
On the season, she averaged a hit in every three ABs — batting .333 — posting 12 hits in 36 at-bats.
Her .538 on-base percentage topped Elko’s roster and ranked ninth in the 3A North.
At first base, she fielded the ball at a .929 clip— the third-best effort of qualified players on the team — finishing 19th in the league.
Ratliff made five errors in 70 total chances, tallying 55 putouts and 10 assists.
She finished the season with 15 runs scored and 11 RBIs.
To beat a team like Fernley, everyone has to contribute — all hands on-deck.
Ratliff did her part in the 7-6 win versus the Lady Vaqueros, tallying a season-high three hits in three ABs with a double and a run scored.
Paired with her performance on the field, Ratliff is just as impressive off of it.
Despite her injury and missing games, she was the Lady Indians’ glue.
Her positivity, infectious attitude, competitive spirit and inspirational demeanor trickled throughout Elko’s team.
For her career, Ratliff hit .274 and posted a .431 on-base percentage with 62 hits, 61 runs scored and 45 RBIs.
Congratulations to Jacqueline Pete on her 1st-Team All-State selection, Allie Thompson and Breanna Whitted for their 2nd-Team All-State nods, Janeigha Stutesman, Lexi Schweer and Lauryn Guenin for 2nd-Team All-North recognition and to all the players and coaches who made 2019 one of the best and most-memorable seasons of local softball in recent history.