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DIVISION IV SOFTBALL: Huntsman works out of jam, Panthers take title

Kennedy Huntsman has been the go-to pitcher for Pahranagat Valley’s softball team all season.

So when the senior pitcher got into a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the top of the seventh, no one panicked on the home side. Her coach simply walked to the mound and told her to do what she’s done all year: get outs.

With the score 8-3, Hunstman comfortably went to work and recorded her first out on a sacrifice fly to right. After giving up a two-run single, she then retired the next two batters in order to help the Panthers to an 8-6 victory over Eureka for the Division IV state championship at Bishop Manogue High in Reno. It’s their second consecutive state title.

“For some of the kids, it’s what they expect,” Pahranagat Valley coach Mike Sparrow said. “It’s what they worked for. It’s certainly a great experience and it never gets old. The kids wanted it and they worked really hard. We just kept saying we wanted to play our best softball at the right time. Everybody in the lineup was putting the ball in play and our defense played well. We caught it at the right time.”

Prior to the seventh, Huntsman hadn’t given up a hit since the second inning. She ended up tossing a four-hitter and striking out four. It was the perfect stamp to an already impressive state tournament for Hunstman, who’s leaving Reno with three complete-game wins and 11 strikeouts.

“She is solid,” Sparrow said. “She really came to work this summer. She’s a three-sport athlete, but she still put in the work. I never doubted what she would come and do here. It was good to see.”

Merinna Scott was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and teammate Madison Harris went 1-for-2 with two RBIs for the Panthers (25-4).

Cassie Wells’ double was the only extra-base hit for the Vandals (26-3), who also lost to Pahranagat Valley on Friday.

Pahranagat Valley will lose five seniors, including Huntsman, to graduation.

“It’s tough watching this group (of seniors) go,” Sparrow said. “There’s four that have played a lot of innings for me since they were young. They made a good foundation for what we’re going to do next year. We’ll miss them, but they’ve left their mark in a positive manner.”

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