It turns out lightning can strike twice in the same spot. So it was with Indian Springs’ second defeat of Pahranagat Valley on championship Saturday to win their second straight 1A Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) baseball title.
The Thunderbirds did the same thing to the Panthers in 2018.
The two May 18 games at Moapa Valley High School were very competitive, as well as entertaining as the two teams seem to bring out the best in each other.
The senior-laden Thunderbirds, with eight on the squad, faced a young Panther team with only two seniors.
With Alamo having beaten Indian Springs with a come-from-behind 13-6 win in the Friday semifinals, the Thunderbirds would have to win back-to-back games against the Panthers for the second straight year to retain their title, the first they have had since 1973.
A close-fought first game saw Pahranagat hold a 4-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning when Indian Springs came up with four runs to take a 5-4 lead. They added an insurance run in the seventh inning and a 6-4 win to force the second and deciding game.
The second game was another back-and-forth affair. The Panthers took a 1-0 lead, only to have Indian Springs respond and get ahead 3-1. Pahranagat tied the game with two runs in the top of the sixth inning.
Being the home team, Indian Springs had the last at-bat in the seventh inning. Isaiah Jones opened with a single to center field and the next batter, Lucas Vandever, doubled to left field. The ball was misplayed and Jones raced home with the winning run.
Jordan Flamm was 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Thunderbirds (21-8-1).
Jaren Leavitt was 1-for-3 with two RBIs for the Panthers (21-5).
In the first game, Ryan Gertz went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs to help Indian Springs erase an early 4-1 deficit.
Jesse Jones was 3-for-4 with two RBIs for Pahranagat Valley.
The Panthers’ first game of the tournament on Thursday was against Northern League champions Smith Valley. PVHS won the game in a 15-1 blowout.
The Panthers scored six runs in the fourth inning. Stockton Maxwell, Jesse Jones, Jaren Leavitt, Hagen Harris and Nick Acosta all had run-scoring hits.
Maxwell was the winning pitcher. He lasted four innings, allowed two hits, struck out nine and walked one.
Jake Frehner finished the game in relief and the two combined for a two-hitter against the Bulldogs
Isaac Rowe took the loss for Smith Valley, gave up four runs, three hits, struck out six and walked five.
Taylor Wulfing took over in the fourth inning. The Panthers hit him hard, scoring 11 runs on eight hits, coming up with six runs in the fourth inning and five in the fifth.
John Hansen was 3-for-5 batting for PVHS. The Panthers finished the season 21-5.