The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Pahranagat Valley boys baseball certain knew the agony of defeat in their two losses in the state tournament in Las Vegas last weekend.
A heartbreaking 6-1 loss in the winners bracket semifinal against defending state champion Virginia City on Friday morning at Mountain View High was followed with a tough 4-2 loss to Whittell in the elimination game later that afternoon.
Virginia City then went on to blast Whittell 14-3 on Saturday for their second straight Division IV title, only their fourth since 1984.
Pahranagat opened the tournament against Northern Division No. 2 seed, the Whittell Warriors, and took an easy 12-2. win.
A two-run triple by Brandon Burris and an RBI single by Christian Higbee in the first inning and a groundout by Jordan Cryts and a groundout by Caleb Hansen during the second inning helped Pahranagat Valley put some runs on the board early.
Burris racked up three RBIs on two hits for the Panthers.
Tabor Maxwell handled Whittell’s lineup with ease, recording up 11 strikeouts, allowing no earned runs, one hit and one walk over five innings.
PVHS scored five runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Cryts, an RBI single by Hansen, a steal of home by Hansen, a groundout by Paden Higbee, and a wild pitch.
But Friday was a different story- first against defending state champion Virginia City at Mountain View High. The Panthers jumped out to an early lead, but lost it at the very end 6-1.
The Muckers rallied for a one-out, six-run seventh inning and a 6-1 win. Carlos Robledo’s grand slam highlighted the inning.
Robledo finished 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, homerun and four RBIs, and Clint Hess added a double for Virginia City.
Burris hit a triple, and Caleb Hansen had an RBI for Pahranagat Valley.
Clinton Hess had an excellent game for VC, giving up three hits and striking out 10, with two walks.
Christian Higbee was going along well on the mound for PVHS until the seventh inning when he seemed to tire. An infield error allowed two runs to score giving the Muckers a 2-1 lead, and setting the stage for Robledo’s grand slam.
Pahranagat (21-4) then had to play Whittell again in the afternoon. The Warriors (26-9) had disposed of Tonopah in the first elimination game.
“It was just a bad day,” Pahranagat Valley coach Brad Loveday said after the Panthers lost 4-2 to Whittell. “We couldn’t get our bats going all day. Sometimes it’s hard to get going again once you’ve been shut down. It’s just hard to get that confidence back.”
Whittell’s Colton Ruby struck out six in a five-hitter to shut down the Panthers.
PVHS did hit the ball, but it was often right at someone, or lifted high into the outfield for a routine out.
“Their pitcher did a really good job,” Loveday said. “He threw a great game.”
“When a season ends with a loss, and not a win, it’s just tough,” Loveday said. “We had five seniors this year. The kids are so used to winning and it’s tough when you don’t win. They start to expect it a lot.”
Wade Leavitt struck out 12 in a complete game for the Panthers, who got two hits apiece from Paden Higbee and Brandon Burris.