After dropping its first game Saturday, Lincoln County’s softball team was trying to get out of the heat and regroup.
It was then that their veteran coach reminded them of their practices in snow and wind, and how far his young team had come.
The perfect reminder at the perfect time.
The Lynx rebounded from an opening-game loss Saturday to defeat White Pine 8-3 in a winner-take-all game for the Division III state title at UNLV’s Eller Media Stadium.
“We just reminded them of all the hard work, all the cold days, all the snowy days and the windy days,” said Lincoln County coach Pat Kelley, whose team successfully defended the title it won in Reno last year. “They had put in too much work to just die. We just had to come out and play our game.”
Easton Tingey had an RBI single in the first inning, and Abby Schimbeck and Alisha Rowe each drove in a run in the second as the Lynx (26-8) built a 4-0 lead.
“That was really important,” said Kelley, whose team led 2-0 in the first game Saturday before White Pine used a five-run fifth inning to win 5-2 and force the decisive game. “It kind of set them back a little bit, and it got us going again.”
The Bobcats (18-9) strung together three hits and a walk in the third inning to cut the lead to 4-2 before Kelley called on his team’s only senior to close the door
Aspen Wilkin, who tossed a six-hitter but took the loss in the first game, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third and allowed just an unearned run on three hits in the final 4 2/3 innings.
“She has done that for us all year long,” Kelley said. “Last year at state, she did the same thing for us.”
The Lynx tacked on four runs on three hits in the fifth inning to put the game out of reach.
Rowe was 1-for-3 with two RBIs, and Schimbeck went 1-for-4 with two RBIs from the No. 9 spot.
“The second title is harder than the first one,” Kelley said. “They can say what they want, but it’s awesome. These kids deserve it.”
In the first game, White Pine freshman Britney Kingston overcame a nervous first inning to throw a four-hitter and force the extra game.
Kingston walked four in the first inning as the Lynx built a 2-0 lead, but allowed just three hits and a walk in the final six innings. Four of White Pine’s six hits came in a five-run fifth inning, including Ashlyn Huntington’s three-run triple to right center.
Seniors Jamie Hansen and Jade Jewett were a combined 4-for-7 with four runs to lead the Pahranagat Valley softball team past Wells 11-4 in the Division IV state championship game at Desert Oasis.
“It doesn’t get old,” said Hansen, one of just three seniors on a 17-player roster. “It feels pretty amazing. I think every new state championship comes with a different feeling. Senior year, they mean more because we’re a big leader and a big part of the team.”
Hansen and Jewett, who also won two volleyball and two basketball state championships, were an integral part this season in leading the Panthers (19-6) to a third consecutive softball title.
Both provided an early boost Saturday.
They each singled and came around to score in the first inning as Pahranagat Valley grabbed a 3-0 lead.
Jewett finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Hansen was 2-for-3 with three runs, a walk and stolen base.
Freshman pitcher Ashlyn Wadsworth, who struck out five in a six-hitter, walked two to start the top of the seventh but retired three of the next four batters to close out the game.
“This feels really good,” Jewett said. “These girls have been on most of our sports teams this year, and I think this is the one everyone really loves. Everyone’s worked really hard at it.”
Freshmen Madalyn Taylor and Kaitlyn Davis also contributed for the Panthers. Taylor had a two-run inside-the-park home run in the fifth inning, and Davis finished 3-for-4 with a double and a triple.
“I knew I had a young crew coming in and we had a lot of work to do,” coach Mike Sparrow said. “But they believed in what we were saying and just went to work. There’s no quit, or give up, in these kids.”