Lincoln County’s baseball team can finally breathe a sigh of relief after capturing its fourth straight region championship.
Despite having their pitching staff give up 31 runs over the three-day tournament, including 10 in the region final, the Lynx’s offense did more than enough to pick up the slack.
Kobe Walker went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, and the defending state champions pounded out 19 hits on Saturday to capture a 20-10, five-inning win over Needles in the Class 2A Southern League final at Mountain View.
Both teams qualify for next week’s state tournament. Lincoln County (21-3), which plated 58 runs in the league tournament, will meet West Wendover (14-15) in the opening round at 4 p.m. Thursday at The Meadows.
“This has been a goal of ours all year long,” Lincoln County coach Raymond Wadsworth said. “Our main goal is to repeat as state champions, so we are right where we want to be. I didn’t know we were going to play a couple of football games, but we’ll take them how we get them. A win is a win, and we are grateful for them.”
Kamden Lewis was 1-for-3 with a double and three RBIs, Alex Vincent went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, and McKinley O’Connor and Franklin Toledo each went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for the Lynx, who also got a double from Dean Ottley.
After Needles took a 6-5 lead in the top of the third inning, Lincoln County took control of the game with an eight-run inning in the bottom half of the frame. Lewis’ two-run double broke the game open, and the Lynx led 13-6 heading into the fourth.
The Mustangs continued the slugfest, albeit briefly, by scoring four times in the fourth inning and cutting the lead to 13-10.
But Lincoln County put the game away for good with seven runs in the bottom of the fifth. Allen Toledo’s two-out, bases-loaded single ended the game on the 10-run rule.
“It was very important (to close the final game in five innings),” Wadsworth said. “Our kids were tired. We had a very long three-and-a-half-hour game yesterday. … Our pitching was kind of low, with the new pitch count and everything, and the heyday that has caused over the last couple of days.”
Mathews earned the win after allowing five earned runs over three innings, and O’Connor allowed just two runs over two innings to close out the game.
“I could have done a lot better, but it is what it is,” Mathews said. “It was crucial (to end the game in the fifth inning) because we knew Needles could come back from any deficit, as we found out yesterday. We had a good lead on them yesterday, and they came back, so we cannot let up on anyone.”
Reid Shaver went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI, and Jayden Yeager went 1-for-2 with two RBIs to lead Needles (17-8), which will face Yerington (29-2-1) — the North’s No. 1 seed — in the state opener at 1 p.m. Thursday at The Meadows.
Pahranagat Valley 10, Indian Springs 9 — At Indian Springs, Duston Stewart hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning to score Tabor Maxwell and give the Panthers the Class 1A Southern Region title over the Thunderbirds.
It was the seventh consecutive tournament championship for the Panthers (19-9).
Maxwell reached on an error to start the inning for the Panthers. Christian Higbee followed with a single, then Garrett Higbee drew a walk before Stewart ended the game.
Pahranagat Valley’s Ike Taylor doubled, stole two bases and knocked in three runs, and Asher Haworth and Christian Higbee both doubled.
Maxwell earned the win in relief for the Panthers, who fell behind 5-1 after the top of the second. Maxwell struck out 10 in four innings.
Nino Alvarez homered and had three RBIs for the Thunderbirds (23-4), and Isaiah Jones hit a double.