By Dave Maxwell
For the first time in six years, the White Pine Bobcats girls softball team will not be in the state tournament. The Lady Cats lost out in the Southern Division regional tournament in Laughlin last week and did not qualify as one of the two seeds from the south.
White Pine and Lincoln had met in the last two state finals, and were hoping to be able to do so again, but not this year.
Coach Krystal Smith said the team had a good week of practice before the playoffs. “We knew we would have to play our best to make it, with both Lincoln and Needles in front of us. Our pitchers gave us the chances to win, but our defense just wasn’t very clean. We had crucial errors with runners on base and just couldn’t get out of the innings.”
Since Needles had the No. 1 seed going into the tourney and White Pine No. 3, the Bobcats had to face No. 2 Lincoln County in the opening game on Thursday. The teams had only played nine days earlier, and Lincoln prevailed again, taking an 11-1 win. That dropped White Pine into the loser’s bracket to face Lake Mead, who had lost to Needles.
Then on Friday, Britney Kingston was 3-for-4 with two home runs, including a grand slam, and a double as the Bobcats routed Lake Mead 19-4 in five innings in an elimination game. Ashlyn Huntington tripled twice for White Pine, which led 16-2 after two innings.
Lincoln beat Needles 19-4 in the championship semifinals later that afternoon, which meant that Needles and White Pine had to meet in the loser’s bracket final.
Kourtni Fletcher for Needles scattered nine hits and struck out nine to lead the Mustangs to a 9-4 win over the Bobcats and eliminated White Pine.
Kingston struck out nine in a losing effort for White Pine who ended the season 17-9.
“It is disappointing for the seniors,” Smith said, “because they have played in state all their previous years.”
In reflecting on who played well, Smith said, Kingston, a sophomore, “had three home runs and our Freshman catcher Brenna Williams did a solid job behind the plate. She made a couple of outstanding diving plays of a foul ball for an out as well as a few clutch hits. And Debra Kingston moving from her normal three-year position at first base to third base. She really owned that position this year.”
It is expected that some of the team will be named to the All-League team selected by the coaches and announced later in the Las Vegas Review-Journal NevadaPreps section.