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Palo Verde roars into winners’ bracket

RENO — It’s not often a softball team has every starter get a hit and an RBI in a game.

To do it within the first 12 batters of the game is almost unreal.

Yet, it’s exactly what Palo Verde accomplished in the opening round of the Division I state softball tournament Thursday.

The Panthers put the first 10 hitters on base, including a span of nine consecutive hits, and scored 10 first-inning runs on their way to an 18-1, five-inning thumping of Northern Region champion Reed at UNR’s Hixson Park.

Palo Verde (31-6) will face Foothill (21-13) in the winners’ bracket final at 2:30 p.m. today. The Falcons were 5-3 winners over Spanish Springs in the opening game.

“Nobody thinks that we should be here, and nobody thought we were going to get past (Reed),” Palo Verde coach Kelly Glass said. “They literally came out here wanting to prove everybody wrong.”

Kaitlyn Folkers had a two-out RBI single in the top of the first to give the Raiders (31-6) their only lead.

Kiley Harrison led off the bottom of the first with a walk, and Mackenzie McBride followed with a bunt single that landed just out of the reach of Reed third baseman Britni Greninger.

It started an avalanche. Eight more Panthers got hits. Breanna Beatty’s two-run double started a string of nine straight batters driving in a run.

Were it not for the Panthers choosing to courtesy run for catcher Brooke Stover, every starter would have scored in the first inning. Even Palo Verde’s first two outs produced runs.

“They came hungry,” Glass said. “We literally just relaxed and chilled, knowing that we were going to come out and do what we were supposed to do, and crush the ball was one thing they have been doing. It all just came together.”

And it came against a pitching staff with gaudy credentials.

Reed entered the game with a 1.39 team ERA and had allowed only 43 earned runs and 148 hits all year. The Raiders hadn’t given up more than seven runs in a game this season.

The Panthers finished with 17 hits, and all but one of their runs was earned.

Meanwhile, Rachel Williams was marvelous after allowing two hits and a walk in the first inning. Williams retired 12 of the final 13 hitters and finished with a three-hitter and six strikeouts.

Harrison was 3-for-3 with four runs and an RBI, and Melissa Lacro, Williams and Beatty each had two hits and three RBIs for Palo Verde, which has won 11 straight games.

Foothill 5, Spanish Springs 3 — Sarah Maddox went 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI, and the Falcons used a four-run third inning to collect their first victory in five trips to the state tournament.

“This is another first for Foothill,” Falcons coach Tom Mayes said. “We still have another goal, another first to get yet. Win the next one, and then see what happens.”

With the game tied 1-1, Hannah Stevens walked to lead off the third inning. Vanessa Parrales followed with an infield single before Kelsey McFarland’s RBI single to right put the Falcons ahead to stay.

Jordan Corn added a two-run single, and Maddox had a two-out RBI double in the inning.

The Cougars (28-8-1) threatened to rally in the fourth inning, loading the bases with no outs, but Foothill pitcher Sarah Penksa induced consecutive force-outs at the plate, and allowed just one run in the inning.

Spanish Springs got within 5-3 and loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but Penksa got Alyssa Batastini to pop to third to end the game.

“These guys have always been kind of under a little bit of pressure, always trying to come back from something or trying to hold on,” Mayes said. “They’ve done a pretty good job of it.”

Penksa allowed seven hits and walked two but stranded eight runners on base.

Corn was 2-for-3 with two RBIs for Foothill.

DIVISION I-A

Whitney Roderick tossed a three-hitter and struck out four to lead Pahrump Valley to a 1-0 win over Fernley in the Division I-A state tournament at Bishop Manogue.

Leanne Kaiwi’s two-out RBI single in the first inning accounted for the scoring and helped the Trojans (24-13) advance to meet Churchill County (24-9) in the winners’ bracket final at 2:30 p.m. today at Manogue.

Churchill County 5, Boulder City 4 — Hannah Frank’s walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Paige Thorn to lift the Greenwave over the Eagles.

Boulder City’s Charlene Masterson struck out four in seven innings and was 4-for-4 with a double. Nicole Schulz added two RBIs for the Eagles (25-8), who will face Fernley (27-8) in an elimination game at 12:30 p.m. today at Manogue.

DIVISION III

Jaycee Wadsworth, Josie Burgess and Aspen Wilkin each had an RBI in the sixth inning to lead Lincoln County to a 3-0 win over Needles in an elimination game in the Division III state tournament at Bishop Manogue.

Wilkin tossed a five-hitter and struck out six for the Lynx (27-7), who bounced back from a 4-2 loss to Yerington in the opening round and will meet either Yerington (24-9) or White Pine (19-6) in an elimination game at 10:30 a.m. today at UNR’s Hixson Park.

Jeannine Otero was 2-for-3 for Needles (17-12), which lost a 6-2 decision to White Pine earlier Thursday.

DIVISION IV

Pahranagat Valley sent just one batter more than the minimum to the plate in the first five innings.

Solid pitching by Kennedy Huntsman kept the Panthers in the lead, and a sixth-inning uprising made sure they stayed there.

The Panthers scored four times in the sixth inning and held off a late charge by Wells for a 5-1 victory in the opening round of the Division IV state tournament at UNR’s Hixson Park.

Pahranagat Valley (23-4) advances to the winners’ bracket final against Eureka (25-1) at 12:30 p.m. today at Bishop Manogue.

“It sure is a good feeling to get that first win out of the way,” Pahranagat Valley coach Mike Sparrow said. “That was good softball. There was a lot of three-up, three-down. It’s what you like to see at this time of the year.”

Huntsman allowed six hits, walked three and struck out three.

Bailee Hosier was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI for the Panthers.

Eureka 8, Indian Springs 1 — C.C. Brown and Angela Porter each hit an inside-the-park home run to lead the Vandals by the Thunderbirds.

Brown went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs, and Porter was 1-for-3 with two RBIs for Eureka.

Hannah Thormahlen was 2-for-3 for Indian Springs (9-10), which will meet Wells in an elimination game at 2:30 p.m. today at Manogue.

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