1A/2A STATE: Panthers end drought, cap sweep of boys major titles

RENO — Pahranagat Valley High School is no stranger to state championships.

Still, the Panthers hadn’t won a baseball title since 2001.

The drought is over.

Kade Wadsworth’s three-run double in the fourth inning broke a 2-2 tie, and Pahranagat Valley went on to beat Carlin, 9-5, for the Class 1A state championship at Aces Ballpark on Saturday.

“They’re just an amazing group of kids,” Pahranagat Valley coach Brad Loveday said. “They won state in football and basketball and some of these kids were state championship wrestlers. They just go and play.”

The Panthers (24-2) scored two runs in the bottom of the first on a two-run single by Dustin Poulsen, but Carlin (15-13-1) came back and tied it on only one infield hit through the first four innings.

Pahranagat Valley loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth on a single by Tyler Higbee and a pair of walks.

Wadsworth, who also played on the school’s state champion football and basketball teams, then hit a line drive over the center fielder’s head for a three-run double to give the team the lead for good.

“I was looking to get a line drive and get some people in,” Wadsworth said. “I popped out the time before, and I thought, ‘I’ve just got to get on top of the ball.’”

The Panthers added two runs in the fifth on an RBI single by Higbee and a Jensen Jones groundout.

Brandon Miller added an RBI single in the sixth for Pahranagat Valley, which finished the season on a 22-game win streak.

“I can’t explain that,” Loveday said of the streak. “I’ve never even heard of that in baseball. You always lose games through the season. To click off 22 in a row to me is just an amazing accomplishment. We never aspired to that — it just happened.”

Loveday said sweeping the major boys state championships was especially sweet. Pahranagat Valley, which has 72 students, had five players who played on all three state championship teams.

“It’s never happened to us before; it’s kind of different,” Loveday said. “This is my 18th year coaching and 19th year at the school, and I’ve never heard of that happening before, so it’s amazing.”

Chase Hansen was 3-for-3 with an RBI, and Wadsworth, Higbee, Miller and Kale Leavitt each added two hits for the Panthers.
“It’s awesome,” Wadsworth said of the win. “It’s the greatest feeling this year.”
At Carson, Needles (22-9) was eliminated with an 8-5 loss to Battle Mountain in the losers’ bracket final, falling short of a third straight state title.
Whittell (32-3) captured the state crown with a 7-6 victory over Battle Mountain (22-11).

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