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REGION SOFTBALL: Lesniak sisters send Chaparral past Crusaders, capture I-A Southern Region title

When Chaparral’s Nicole Lesniak pitches well, her twin sister and catcher Lauren often gets overlooked.

The battery mates are a package duo, and while Nicole gets attention for the strikeouts, Lauren manages the ace by calling the game.

The two needed only 78 pitches Friday to navigate their way to a one-hitter and lift the Cowboys to a 2-0 win over host Faith Lutheran in the Division I-A Southern Region title game.

“We’ve been together for quite a while now, and I know we’re able to always be on the same page with pitches,” Lauren Lesniak said. “I can tell when she’s hitting her stride, and the calls I make just feed her, keep her going.”

Both Chaparral (17-10) and Faith Lutheran (21-13) advance to the state tournament, which begins Thursday at UNLV.

“(Nicole) was really efficient, and I could not be more proud of her,” said Chaparral coach A.J. Coleman. “With the two of them, it’s like they have ESP. As a coach, I do not get in their way when I know that they have that awesome connection and chemistry.”

Nicole Lesniak struck out 10, all swinging. She walked one and hit a batter as she kept the Crusaders hitters off balance.

Faith Lutheran’s only hit was a leadoff bunt single by Kelly Zufall. The bunt spun on the foul line and stayed fair.

“That didn’t really bother me,” said Nicole Lesniak. “We maybe should’ve grabbed it but it just didn’t want to roll foul.”

Nicole Lesniak got a pair of groundouts as Zufall moved to third, then got ahead of Faith Lutheran’s Lauryn Lipe before Lipe drilled an 0-and-2 pitch just wide of the left field foul pole.

“I knew Lipe was a good hitter and I was nervous when she belted that previous pitch,” Nicole Lesniak said. “I was just saying ‘get foul, get foul, get foul’ and luckily it did.”

Two pitches later, Nicole Lesniak struck out Lipe to end the game.

The Cowboys scored the game’s only runs in the bottom of the third inning.

Lauren Lesniak belted a two-out double into right-center, and Nicole Lesniak followed with a walk. Cheyenne Huntsman blooped a single to right to score courtesy runner Octavia Gray. Erika Barber added another RBI single to score courtesy runner Kiana Moore.

Faith Lutheran’s Stacie Graham allowed just five hits and struck out eight.

DIVISION III SOUTHERN LEAGUE

Jessica Shoup went 4-for-4 to help Lincoln County roll to an 11-1 win over Needles in the winners’ bracket final of the Division III Southern League Tournament at Mountain View.

The Lynx (20-2) never looked back after scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning and will face Needles (22-7) again at 10 a.m. Saturday in the championship game. Needles must win twice to secure the title, but both teams will advance to the state tournament next week at The Meadows.

Needles 19, Laughlin 2 — Abby Chandler tossed a three-hitter as the Mustangs earned their way back to the title game with a five-inning rout of the Cougars (10-16).

Chandler and Meghan Mann each had two hits for Needles, which scored 13 runs in the first inning.

Laughlin 8, Mountain View 6 — The Cougars made the most of four hits and eliminated the host Saints (8-17) in the day’s first game.

Elle Germany had two hits, including a double, for Mountain View.

DIVISION IV SOUTHERN LEAGUE

Randi Jones was 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs as host Pahranagat Valley routed Indian Springs, 21-9 in five innings in the winners’ bracket final of the Division IV Southern League Tournament.

The Panthers (18-4) will meet Indian Springs (15-6) again at 10 a.m. today in the championship game. Indian Springs must win twice to win the region title, though both teams will advance to the state tournament, which begins Thursday at Rancho.

Brook Higbee was 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and four RBIs, and Bailee Hosier was 3-for-4 with two RBIs for the Panthers.

Natasha Cruz was 3-for-3 with a triple, and Heather Thormahlen went 3-for-4 with a home run for the Thunderbirds.

Tonopah 20, Sandy Valley 3 — Julia Klapper went 2-for-4 with a double, and the Muckers collected just three hits, but eliminated the Sidewinders (0-11-1) in five innings.

Indian Springs 18, Tonopah 8 — Thormahlen went 2-for-4 with a double, and the Thunderbirds made the most of four hits to knock out the Muckers (4-7) in a five-inning game.

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