The history book on the shelf sometimes does repeat itself.
The Pahranagat Valley softball team made history Saturday at the 1A state championship at Durango High.
After losing to Wells earlier in the tournament, the Lady Panthers were forced to beat the Leopards twice to defend their four consecutive championships, and they did with 14-4 and 12-5 wins to claim a fifth straight Class 1A state championship. They had to the exact same thing last year against the same team.
No school in Nevada history had won five state softball titles in a row. Three other schools – Yerington, Wooster and Needles – have won four in a row.
“Winning never gets old, that’s for sure,” said coach Mike Sparrow. “But to do five in a row, I just can’t even wrap my mind around it right now.”
The championship game win gives Pahranagat (30-5) its seventh softball state title overall, with its first coming in 2007. But Sparrow also knows what it is to be runner up a time or two as well.
Pahranagat began the first game Saturday morning with some aggressive running around the base paths as it quickly went up 5-0 in the first inning.
Wells (13-4) responded with a pair in the bottom half, but the Panthers were never really closely challenged from that point on. Twice more they scored four runs in a given inning helping to account for the 12-5 final.
“I’ve got some tremendous base running athletes, they can get around the bases and they have good instincts,” Sparrow said. “There are times I wish I could take credit for them getting where they get to but I’ve made it very well known that if they see something, they are welcome to take advantage of it even if I don’t see it.”
Departing senior Kyla Shumway was the offensive leader in both games for the Panthers, going 5-for-8 combined with four total RBIs.
Karley Whipple and Alyson Egbert both drove in three runs in the state title-clinching game.
Every batter in the lineup had a better day against Wells on Saturday than in the losing effort the day before, thanks to some key adjustments on both sides of the ball.
“We have nine strong kids to go out there and play,” Sparrow said. “Offensively it was about quicker hands, put the ball in play and play the short game. We haven’t had a lot of need for the short game this year but it was good to know when we needed it we were able to use it.”
Junior pitcher Kaitlyn Davis opened the tournament for Pahranagat pitching a rare perfect game against Whittell on Thursday. She faced only 12 batters, allowing no one to reach first base and recording three strikeouts, as the Panthers belted the Warriors, the No. 2 seed from the north, 15-0 in four innings.
But Pahranagat lost to Wells in the semifinals 10-6 on Friday, then won an elimination game with Indian Springs, scoring 11 runs the first inning in a 19-1 rout as Ashlyn Wadsworth pitched a one-hitter to send PVHS back to the championship game where they had to win twice.
In the first game Saturday, PVHS scored five runs in their first at bat as they rattled Leopards pitcher Kaitlyn Del Rio, who had beat them just the day before, with five singles and a walk. Alamo scored 12 runs on 13 hits before she was removed. In all, the Panthers banged out 17 hits in the game for a 15-4 win to force a deciding game.
Wadsworth earned the win for the Lady Panthers. She pitched seven innings. Giving up four runs, six hits, three strikeouts and two walks.
Samantha Shamblin took the loss for Wells. She went three and two-thirds inning, surrendering three runs, four hits, three strikeouts and no walks.
Rachel Bunker, Kyla Shumway, Madison Harris, Morgan Harris and Karley Whipple each drove in two runs.