Special to The Ely Times
The White Pine High softball team won its first 2A state title since 2005 with a 14-9 win in the deciding game against league rival Pershing County May 19 at Reed High School in Sparks.
Ladycat coach Mike Romero said, “It’s always a battle when we play Pershing County.”
And it was on championship Saturday as the Mustangs won the first game 9-4 to force the deciding winner-take-all game.
Pershing County’s main pitcher, junior Colbey Wanner, was pitching hard that game, Romero said, “And we couldn’t catch up to her,” even though she surrendered nine hits to Ladycat batters and the Mustangs were pounding out 13 hits off Izzy Romero and Britney Kingston. In the deciding game, Romero said, “We started Britney on the mound and went with her for five innings, then brought in Izzy Romero to keep them off balance and she produced a shutout during her time on the mound.
The Mustangs rely heavily on Wanner, but the Ladycats were getting to her for runs each inning.
Against Kingston, Pershing County had two big innings scoring four times in both the third and fourth innings for a 9-5 lead.
But the Bobcats scored two runs in the top of the fifth, then three in the sixth and four in the seventh for the 14-9 victory to claim the crown.
The day before, on Friday, in the championship bracket semifinals, the team faced each other in what was a nail-biting thriller.
White Pine took it in dramatic fashion thanks to a bases-loaded single by Brenna Williams in the bottom of the seventh for a 5-4 win.
Nina Lopez was given an intentional walk to load the bases with one out. Williams, the next batter, ripped a 1-0 count down the first base line that bounded right over the glove of Mustang first baseman Faith Moreira to score Eva Kingston.
Izzy Romero was the winning pitcher. She went four innings, gave up five hits and four runs, struck out one and walked one. B. Kingston came on in relief in the fifth inning allowing no runs on one hit to get the save.
Pershing County then played Needles in the following elimination game and beat Needles 3-2 in nine innings to earn the right to face White Pine again.
On the opening day of the tournament, May 17, the Lady Cats handled Southern division runner-up Laughlin pretty easily by a 13-3 score with a big seven-run fifth inning. The Cougars were hampered by committing eight errors.
Pershing County meantime, was 5-1 winner over Needles.
Romero said on the way back to Ely, the White Pine boys and girls track teams that had won their respective state titles in Carson City earlier in the day, “waited for us in Austin, and we took a photo of all three teams with their championship trophies.”White Pine finished the season with a 23-4 mark. Pershing County finished 30-6. The Mustangs started the season with a 24-game win streak before dropping six-out-of-eight to the Bobcats including those in the regional and state tournaments.
Romero said, “Every time we play them you better buckle your seatbelt because it’s a battle.”