Pahranagat Valley girls opened the softball season with a rousing start, going 3-1 at the Sherm Bennett Memorial Tournament last weekend in Mesquite.

They began the tourney with a nice 13-2 win over host Virgin Valley Thursday evening. “A good game to get some nerves out,” said coach Mike Sparrow. It was close early on, but the Lady Panthers erupted for 12 runs in the third inning to ice the win.

“We just started putting the ball in play,” said Sparrow. “They (Virgin Valley) were making some errors (8 in total). We just had a steady string of hitters to the plate and put the ball in play.”

The first game on Friday was with Valley High of Las Vegas. Hannah Castleton’s four RBIs helped power the Panthers over the Vikings 17-4. Morgan Harris and Karley Whipple each went 2-for-2 for the Panthers, who scored in every inning including a big nine-run second inning.  “We used this game as a good opportunity to use all of our players, get the second string some work and a chance to play,” Sparrow said.

Valley’s Gabriella Morales went 3-for-3 with two doubles.

 A new rule in NIAA softball this year is that if a team leads by 15 or more after three innings, the game is over, and Sparrow says he wants all his players to have more of a chance, so the key is to not run up the score early, just keep it going a little at a time.

The second game on Friday saw Pahranagat’s Kaitlyn Davis double in the first run of the game in the sixth inning. Allyse Frehner then singled in Davis for what proved to be the game winner as the Panthers edged the Moapa Valley Pirates 2-1.

Moapa Valley scored also in the sixth inning, and were threatening again with a runner on third base, but a groundout ended the game in Pahranagat’s favor.

“The pitchers did an outstanding job over the weekend,” Sparrow said. “They’ve been doing some preseason work, trying to get into shape even while finishing up basketball. Ashlyn (Wadsworth) and Kaitlyn did a great job. And Hannah (Castleton) filling in for the injured Madi Taylor at catcher did a fine job, also.”

The team’s final game was against Aquinas (San Bernardino, Calif.) which the  girls lost 9-0.  Aquinas (8-2) is a private school and Sparrow said they probably are able to play ball year round, “And it showed. A lot of players there who likely play club ball as well. They were sharp and hit the ball well and played good defense.” he said.  Aquinas won all four game at the Sherm Bennett tournament.

This weekend, the Lady Panthers host their own tournament with Beaver Dam, Eureka, Tonopah and the White Pine JVs.