Pahranagat Valley was the dominate power in Class 1A baseball last year and looks to be equally strong this season. The defending Class 1A state champions have 13 players, including seven starters, returning from last year’s team that won the Southern League (6-0), then rolled through the regional and state tournaments.

The Panthers were so dominant last season they won each of their games in the postseason by double-digit figures, compiling a 26-3 mark and finishing on an 18-game win streak. That was second only to the 22-game win streak the Panthers had when they won the state title in 2011.

Coach Brad Loveday begins his 24th season at the helm with a fine roster of returning players including P/SS Tabor Maxwell (Sr.), P/3B Christian Higbee (Sr.), 1B/P Ike Taylor (Sr.), C/3B Garrett Higbee (Jr.), 1B Duston Stewart (Jr.), OF Brodey Maxwell (Jr.), 2B/OF Asher Haworth (Jr.)

Although some of the boys have gotten a late start due to the school’s success in basketball, Loveday expects, “We are going to work hard, and I think we will be very competitive.”

Maxwell was the Southern League Most Valuable Player last season and looks to be even better on the mound this season.

Other returning plays from the league First All-Star roster include Ike Taylor, C. Higbee plus Second Team returning lettermen Asher Haworth, Brodey Maxwell, Tyson Jorgenson and Garrett Higbee.

The Panthers open this season this weekend at the Desert Winds Classic in Mesquite.

They begin the home schedule March 17-18 with the Pahranagat Invitational in Alamo featuring Beaver Dam, Eureka and Tonopah.