Panthers rally to nab fourth straight title


Pahranagat Valley baseball coach Brad Loveday sympathized with Caleb Hansen missing the sign for a suicide squeeze in the bottom of the seventh inning of Saturday’s Division IV state championship game.

“My heart went down my throat, because I fear for the runner coming down the line,” Loveday said. “Our signs, we have a little two-part system to make sure we don’t miss it. But, you know what, in the heat of the moment sometimes kids miss signs.”

Hansen more than made up for it.

As Spencer Thatcher broke toward home, Hansen smacked a 1-and-0 fastball into center field to give the Panthers a 20-19 come-from-behind victory over Round Mountain at Rancho High.

“I just knew I had to get a hit down to be able to score — as long as I could find the right gap,” Hansen said. “I’m really happy. I could have killed my teammate there. I’m happy I didn’t.”

The state title is the fourth straight for Pahranagat Valley, which finished 24-6.

“We had so many young kids playing,” Loveday said. “For them to kind of will their way through and get this done was huge.”

The Panthers jumped to an 11-1 lead in the first inning after 15 Panthers came to the plate and eight of them walked. Tyson Sparrow had two singles and three RBIs in the inning.

But Round Mountain (20-8), playing for its first state title since 1995, never backed down.

The Knights scored two runs in the third inning and four in the fourth, before getting 10 in the fifth to complete a short-lived comeback. The big blow came on Serjio Chavez’s three-run double, which put Round Mountain ahead 17-13.

But the Panthers didn’t waver, scoring one in the fifth and five in the sixth to go ahead 19-18.

Mitchell Doheny tied the game for the Knights in the top of the seventh with an RBI triple.

Sparrow went 4-for-5 with five RBIs and three runs. Wade Leavitt was 3-for-4 with five runs, and Tyler Higbee was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs.

DIVISION III

Corbin Cliften went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and pitched three scoreless innings in relief to boost Yerington to a 14-4, six-inning win over Needles in the final of the Division III state tournament at The Meadows.

The state title is the third straight for Yerington (25-9-1), which won 10-4 in the first championship game to force the finale. The Lions had 29 hits in the two games.

Devin Truscott was 4-for-5 with three RBIs in the two games for the Mustangs (19-8).

 

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