Lincoln County’s softball team had a hard time with Needles pitcher Kourtney Fletcher last Saturday in the finals of the 2A Southern Regional tournament at Mountain View High, losing 7-1. It broke Lincoln’s string of seven straight regional titles and won Needles their first title since 2009.
However, both teams do qualify for the state tournament, which began yesterday at The Meadows High in Las Vegas.
The Mustangs, who had defeated Lincoln County 11-2 on Friday, used a five-run third inning to seize momentum in the championship. Starting pitcher Fletcher, meanwhile, was handcuffing the Lynx hitters, tossing a four-hitter with 11 strikeouts.
Fletcher walked none and gave up a solo home run late in the game, to Cameron Lloyd, who went 2-for-3 for the Lynx. It was the only score for Lincoln.
Kailey Kelley also went 2-for-3 with a double for the Lynx. Kelley and Lloyd were the only Lynx players to get hits.
Fletcher said, “We came in thinking it was going to be a hard game, they weren’t going to lay down for us and playing like it was a state game.” Her changeup pitch kept the Lynx off-balance. “Each inning we just kept telling each other ‘win the inning,’ and that just carried us throughout the game.”
Needles scored first in the bottom of the third inning with consecutive singles. A dropped fly ball in right field loaded the bases. Then Preslee Murch hit a two-run single and her sister, Paige, later hit a double to score Preslee. Needles left the inning with a 5-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Brenna Chavez and Paige Murch hit back-to-back home runs to straight away center field for a 7-0 lead which all but locked up the win.
On Friday, Lincoln had lost first to Needles 11-2, then topped Laughlin 15-0 to make it to the championship game.
Lincoln’s first game of the tourney on Thursday was an 11-1 win over Lake Mead.
At state this week, first round games yesterday matched Lincoln County (22-9) and Yerington (26-5), and Needles (23-3) and West Wendover (18-12). The Wolverines were a surprise winner over defending state champion Pershing County in the 2A Northern region semifinals.