Both Lincoln County and Pahranagat Valley, while being the Southern region tournament baseball champions, stumbled this year at the NIAA Division III and Division IV state championships in Reno over the Memorial Day weekend.
Lincoln lost their first game to Battle Mountain 9-1 on Thursday, came back to win an elimination game 6-2 over Needles, but lost in the next game 4-3 again to Battle Mountain.
Pahranagat Valley, the four-time defending Division IV state champions, lost to Wells 13-10 in eight innings on Thursday, then 7-4 on Friday in the elimination game with Indian Springs.
Lincoln’s first game with Battle Mountain Thursday saw the Lynx manage only five hits off Worth Nelson.
Both teams scored in the fourth inning, but the Longhorns added five more in the top of the seventh for the 9-1 final.
Nick Vincent went 2-for-3 for Lincoln.
The Lynx then had to face Needles that same afternoon in an elimination game of the double elimination tournament.
Colton Johnson drove an RBI single to center field in the third inning which sparked a four-run rally to lead Lincoln to a 6-2 win over the Mustangs.
A two-out error later in the inning accounted for another score and Paul Boag then hit a two-run single giving Lincoln a 5-2 lead and they held Needles scoreless the remainder of the game.
Johnson suffered a broken jaw when hit on the pitchers mound on a throw from third base to first base trying for the final out. Nick Vincent replaced him and closed out the game. Johnson had facial surgery the next day and is now recovering at home.
McClain O’Connor went 2-for- 4 with two doubles. Mike Wood also had an RBI.
However, Lincoln again had to face Battle Mountain on Friday.
In a tie game, the Longhorns scored on a fielder’s choice in the top of the seventh inning when the throw from shortstop Preston Robbins short hopped just a few inches in front of O’Connor at home plate and Edim Tovar scored from third base with the go ahead run, which Battle Mounting made hold up for a 4-3 win.
Coach Ray Wadsworth said of the Lynx, “They battled back, Every pitch, every play. I think they were in it. They worked hard, I cannot get upset with them for lack of effort. They just tore it up. In my mind, they’re winners.”
Lincoln finished the season 23-6-1, one of their best seasons in many years.
In the Division IV tournament, a young Pahranagat Valley team got stung by a come- from-behind effort of the Wells Leopards in the first round at the state tournament.
Just as it looked as if PVHS would move into the winner’s bracket, having scored six in the fourth innings for a 9-5 lead, Wells came back, chipping away at the lead and finally scoring two runs in the top of the seventh for a 10-all tie to force extra innings.
Carlos Agular hit a line drive to center field that rolled all the way to the fence with two runners on, and made it all the way home for an inside-the-park three- run homer and Wells had a 13-10 lead which held up for the win.
Pahranagat had touched starting pitcher Armando Soriano for seven runs on seven hits in the first three innings, including a two-run inside-the-park home run by Wade Leavitt in the first inning. Jake Carter went was 3-for-5 with a triple, an RBI and two runs, and Christian Higbee also went 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs for the Panther.
But Wells relief pitcher Jordan Martinez did his job allowing just two more runs in his 5 2/3 innings of work.
Alamo coach Brad Loveday said, “He wasn’t overpowering or anything, but something was a little different about his release, and he did a really good job.”
The loss put the Panthers in an elimination game with Indian Springs on Friday, as the Thunderbirds had lost their first game 4-1 to eventual champion Virginia City.
Indian Springs jump off to a quick 4-0 lead in the first inning and Nero Alvarez allowed only six hits and struck out nine, Wade Leavitt and Christian Higbee both had two hits in the game.
An attempt to rally in the later innings by the Panthers fell short.
With only one senior on the team Loveday said he hopes this experience, even though they lost two games, will give the team confidence to do it again at state. “I hope they realize that we’ve been here before and we’ve just got to do it again.”
Pahranagat finished the season with a record of 22-8.