After missing the Class 2A state softball tournament for the first time in five seasons last year, Lincoln County was determined to return to the showcase event.
They’ll do so with a league championship title in tow.
Lincoln County downed Needles, 13-6 in a winner-take-all final Saturday at Mountain View.
Needles won the opening game 11-5 to force the second championship game.
“I live on a ranch, so we always have to do things the hard way,” said Lincoln County’s Laura Pearson, who had three RBIs in the second game. “After the first game, we got our composure and coach (Phil Boucher) kept telling us just to settle in and play to our potential.”
Both teams advance to the state tournament, which begins Thursday at The Meadows.
“We worked hard this year after losing in the playoffs in 2018,” said Pearson, who reached base in four of her five plate appearances. “This certainly wasn’t easy today against a very good opponent.”
The Lynx (21-7) pounded Needles pitcher Paige Murch for 13 hits in the decisive game.
The first four hitters in the Lincoln County lineup — Macie Howard, Kylee Cameron, Sadie Soderborg and Pearson — scored nine runs, had seven hits and drove in five RBIs.
Soderborg, who came in to pitch in the third inning of the first game, threw a complete game in the nightcap. She scattered eight hits and struck out three.
Murch had a big day for Needles (20-7-2), with two home runs and a double in the first game and three runs in the second. In the two games Saturday, Murch was 4-for-6, all extra base hits and walked four times, three intentionally. The Mustangs are headed to state for the fourth straight year.
Needles 11, Lincoln County 5 — Murch and Imani Evams combined for three home runs as the Mustangs forced the if game.
Evans and Riley Breaux each drove in three runs for the Mustangs. Lincoln County managed five hits off Murch through the first three innings, but only mustered three the rest of the way.
Murch struck out four, and retired seven of the final eight batters she faced.
Class 3A Southern Region
Winning pitcher Allyson Rily went 1-for-2 with two runs and an RBI as host Pahrump Valley downed Moapa Valley, 8-4 in the Class 3A Southern Region final.
Terrena Martin was 1-for-3 with a triple and an RBI for the Trojans (27-9), who took advantage of eight walks.
Sierra Bunker was 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, and Sierra Staheli, Lainey Cornwall and Kaitlyn Anderson all went 2-for-4 for the Pirates (22-8), who will join Pahrump in next week’s state tournament.
Class 1A Southern League
Jessica Brede was 2-for-3 with two doubles, two runs and three RBIs to help Pahranagat Valley win the Class 1A Southern League title with a 16-1, three-inning victory over Tonopah at Indian Springs.
Hannah Castleton was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs for the Panthers (23-2), who scored 12 runs in the first inning.
Mariah Zander spun a one-hitter and struck out four for Pahranagat Valley.
Shelby Jones’ second-inning single was the lone hit for the Muckers (5-10-1).
Both teams advance to the state tournament, which begins Thursday in Overton.