The Lincoln County girls won their first state softball championship since 1999 with a thrilling double-header win over White Pine in Reno last Saturday. It is only the second for the school, and the first for 70-year old coach Pat Kelley.
But it was a tall order, for in order to win the title, Lincoln had to beat White Pine twice in back-to-back games.
And they did just that. Kaylee Teel went 3-for-4 with a pair of two-run homers and four RBIs in the winner-take-all second game at Bishop Manogue High leading the Lynx past the Bobcats 10-4.
“We really can’t comprehend this,” Kelley said after the final game. “It’s like we’re in a daze right now. The kids have worked so hard. Everybody did a great job. We played good, sound fundamental ball and everybody stepped up. Every time we asked somebody, they stepped up and did their job.”
Teel was also the hero of the day in the earlier game when Lincoln escaped win an 8-6 must win game.
Caught up in an extra innings battle with the Bobcats, the score tied at 6 in the top of the eighth inning, Teel hit a two-out two-run double to score Chesnee Harding and Chelsea Lloyd for an 8-6 lead. Pitcher Aspen Wilkin shut down White Pine in the bottom of the eighth to win the game.
The win shifted the momentum over to Lincoln who scored all 10 runs in the first four innings of the second game.
They started off with a three-run first inning and a six-run fourth inning to blow the game wide open.
Chelsea Lloyd came on in relief of Wilkin to earn the win. Tanji Tibbetts was 3-for-4 with a RBI, and Bailey Free added two singles for Lincoln.
The Lynx just edged into the championship game because of the heroics of Lloyd on Friday in an elimination game with Yerington.
Trailing 2-1 and with Harding in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth inning, Lloyd blasted a thunder bolt two-run home run over the left field fence with the go ahead runs and Lincoln added another for a 4-2 final score..
Lloyd commented, “I was looking for a pitch that was right in my wheelhouse. Right when I hit it, I knew it was out. I knew how solid it was. It was a feeling of relief.”
Wilkin then retired the Lions in order in the top of the seventh to complete a three hit win and the right to play White Pine in the championship, in which they would have to beat the Bobcats twice.
Kelley credited a lot of the success of the team to junior pitcher Aspen Wilkin, especially in the last two games with White Pine. “She first won the game against Needles, then only gave up three hits in her outing against Yerington.” She was the pitcher of record in the first win over White Pine, and went three innings in the final game before being relieved by Lloyd. “If it wasn’t for Aspen we wouldn’t be there that last game,” Kelley said.
The Lincoln girls opened the tournament on Thursday getting surprised in a 4-2 loss to Yerington. Lloyd pitched a four hitter and struck out six, but her home run and one by Bailey Free were the only two runs Lincoln could muster.
They had to then play Needles in an elimination game and took a 3-0 win over the Mustangs. Wilkin threw a five-hitter with six strikeouts and Chesnee Harding went 3-for-3 with a double.
The Lady Lynx finished the season with an outstanding 30-7 record.