Put away the ball you bounce on the floor and bring out the ball you throw, hit with a bat and catch with a mitt.
It’s baseball/softball season now, out of the warm gymnasium into the sometimes cold weather of late winter and early spring on the diamond.
Both Pahranagat Valley and Lincoln County High are underway with baseball and softball practice. For the girls, both schools are the defending state champions in their respective divisions, with Pahranagat Valley being the two-time defending Division IV softball champions.
The Southern Division IV baseball is divided into two four-team sections this season: the Southern League consisting of Beaver Dam, Indian Springs, Pahranagat Valley and Sandy Valley, and the Central League with Beatty, Round Mountain, Spring Mountain, and Tonopah.
PVHS coach Brad Loveday said, “There are more teams than there are weekends available, so if everybody is left in just one league, then somewhere during the season some teams might have to play two or three games one week, while other teams only would have to play once. Pitching wise, it’s not really fair to the teams that have to play more, hence splitting the division.” The top two teams from each league will compete in the four-team regional playoffs.
In addition, league member Adelson is playing as an independent this season. Loveday said, “They can’t really play Friday away games, in order to observe the Jewish Sabbath laws. We have talked with them about trying to work out a schedule for future years, and we may come up with an agreement.”
Two divisions are not needed in Division IV softball, just one, which adds newcomer Beaver Dam this year along with Indian Springs, Pahranagat Valley, Sandy Valley and Tonopah. Round Mountain is playing as an independent.
The Lady Panthers will be aiming to repeat what they did last year, win all three major girls sports in the same school year. They already have volleyball and basketball.
The Panther baseball team opens the season March 13-14 hosting the Pahranagat Valley Invitational with Beaver Dam, West Wendover and the Moapa Valley JVs, then host White Pine Mar. 17. After that, the Panthers have only four home games the remainder of the season.
Four returning Panthers are seniors and Loveday expects team leadership from them. “We’ve got a lot of pitchers this year,” he said. “Tabor Maxwell, Wade Leavitt, Paden Higbee, Christian Higbee and left-hander Ike Taylor.”
Two new players, one a left-handed pitcher, and the other an outfielder, have been granted eligibility by the NIAA from the Legacy Ranch in Hiko. Students at Legacy Ranch are enrolled at and take classes under the direction of Pahranagat Valley High.
Mike Sparrow’s softball players open the season at The Meadows Invitational Mar. 13-14 and at White Pine Mar. 17.
The Lady Panthers were 25-4 last year and return six off last year’s championship team, including four starters.
The top players will include C Jamie Hansen (Sr.), SS Brook Higbee (Jr.), 3B Madison Harris (So.)
“We will be building with a large influx of freshmen,” Sparrow said. “We go from a three-year starter at pitcher in Kennedy Huntsman to two freshmen pitchers.”
For Lincoln County baseball, coach Raymond Wadsworth was not available for comment about this year’s squad. However, the Lynx open this weekend at the Sundevil Invitational at Eldorado High in Las Vegas, then at Moapa Valley Mach. 11, and host Parawon, Utah March 14.
Beginning March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, the Lynx have just five home games this season.
The Lady Lynx softball begins the season March 10 at Dixie High in St. George, then at Milford, Utah March 13. They return to St. George March 20-21 for the March Warm Up Tournament at Dixie High.
Coach Pat Kelley, after winning his first championship in dramatic fashion last year, and first for the school since 1999, welcomes back senior pitcher Aspen Wilkin, and sophomore Josy Burgess along with shortstop Chesnee Harding, catcher Kia Phillips, Easton Tingey, Cameron Lloyd, Drew Cardinal, Hannah Lytle, Abby Schimbeck, and Tanji Tibbitts.
White Pine dropped into the Southern League this year, the same team Lincoln played for the championship last year when they were in the Northern Division. Lincoln and White Pine play each other the last games of the regular season in Panaca May 1.
Lincoln hosts both the double-elimination baseball and softball Southern Division III regional playoffs May 7-9.