Faith Lutheran and Green Valley were playing at a high level entering the Class 5A state softball tournament.
But both struggled Thursday and are one loss from elimination.
Southern Region champion Faith Lutheran was no-hit in a 15-0 four-inning loss to Spanish Springs, and Green Valley followed with a 5-1 loss to Northern Region champion Douglas at College of Southern Nevada.
“The majority of our team is freshmen and sophomores. The maturity beyond their years they showed last week wasn’t there today,” Faith Lutheran coach John Chilman said. “They seemed like they were a little nervous on the bus, and that never went away.”
Faith Lutheran and Green Valley will meet in an elimination game at noon Friday at Bishop Gorman. Spanish Springs and Douglas will follow in a winners bracket game at 2:30. The winner of the elimination game and loser of the winners bracket game will meet at 5 for the right to play for the state title at 10 a.m. Saturday at CSN.
Green Valley and Faith Lutheran have met three times. Green Valley took both of the regular-season meetings, 15-4 and 10-1. Faith Lutheran won the third meeting 16-6 in the Southern Regional championship game.
Avari Morris kept Green Valley in the game, but the Gators trailed 3-0 after Douglas scored three unearned runs in the fourth on three errors.
Morris gave the Gators a spark with a leadoff triple in the sixth, then scored on a bloop single from Liliana Esparza to make it 3-1. But that was all they could muster, and Douglas scored twice in the bottom of the inning.
Douglas pitcher Talia Tretton kept Green Valley off balance by changing speeds. That led to some halfhearted swings, and the Gators struck out looking on five of Tretton’s nine strikeouts.
“The biggest disappointment was we didn’t play Gator softball,” Green Valley coach Kathlyn Doiron said. “We came out a little timid, and you could see it in the at-bats. You could see it in the hesitation. You could see it in the way they were carrying themselves. We allowed that to get into our heads, and you could see that in the final score.”
Spanish Springs pitcher Hailey McLean fired a no-hitter with seven strikeouts and went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and four RBIs.
Faith Lutheran’s Ava Walker never got comfortable pitching on CSN’s turf field, though only two of the 10 runs she allowed were earned.
“One coaching mistake is we practiced on turf, but we didn’t pitch on turf,” Chilman said. “It bothered Ava not having that dirt to drag through, but that’s on us. We’ve got to coach better than that.”