Pahranagat Valley softball coach Mike Sparrow would rather create opportunities than wait for them.
His Panthers adhered to that philosophy Saturday, and it paid off with a five-inning 13-3 victory over Eureka in the championship game of the Division IV state tournament at Rancho.
Though Pahranagat Valley had only six hits, it put the ball in play throughout the game and capitalized on nine Eureka errors. The Panthers’ first six runs were unearned and came on only one hit.
“We truly believe we need to be the best baserunning team,” Sparrow said. “We want to put pressure on the defense and cause them to make mistakes.”
Eureka missed a big opportunity early in the game, loading the bases with no outs in the second inning against Panthers starter Kennedy Huntsman. Sophomore Taylor Anderson hit an RBI single, but a baserunning mistake later on the play resulted in a double play and Huntsman got out of the jam.
Sparrow said his team never was rattled.
“We work really hard on letting go of our mistakes,” he said. “We have a heavy mindset on keeping our spirits up.”
The Panthers scored five runs in the second to break a 2-2 tie, making the most of one hit, three walks and three Eureka errors.
Huntsman finished with a four hitter, and Randi Jones went 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Pahranagat Valley, which won its first state championship since 2008.
Needles defeated White Pine 3-2 in the Division III final at The Meadows, winning on Melanie Merchain’s walk-off single to left field in the seventh inning.
Dakota Lillard pitched a three-hitter and struck out five for Needles (26-8). White Pine finished 27-13.
Fernley gained a dramatic walk-off victory by scoring five runs in the seventh inning to stun Churchill County 14-13 in the Division I-A final at UNLV.
Brooke Mattice’s infield hit knocked in Taylor Hires-Caulk with the tying run, and Jordan King continued home with the winning run on a throwing error.
Fernley (32-8) capitalized on four errors in the seventh inning.
Churchill County scored seven runs in the first inning and led 13-6 entering the fifth.