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Small schools: Needles rallies to clinch spot in Class 2A final

Trailing 7-4 in the top of the fourth inning of its winners’ bracket final on Friday, Needles’ softball team needed a spark.

Kobrea Phillips provided one.

Phillips’ single keyed a four-run fourth that lifted the Mustangs to an 8-7 win over White Pine in the winners’ final of the Class 2A state tournament at The Meadows.

Needles (24-6-2) will again face White Pine in the championship at 10 a.m. Saturday at The Meadows. The Bobcats must beat the Mustangs twice to win the title. Needles is bidding for its second state title in three seasons.

“We thrive off of offense,” said Needles coach Abby Chandler. “That’s usually where we get our energy from and you can’t count out our sticks. They know their strengths and they use that to their advantage.”

White Pine scored seven runs in the top of the fourth to take a 7-4 lead, but Phillips single was the big hit Needles needed.

Mandy Zubiate was hit by a pitch, and Juliana Ortiz reached on an error to start the bottom of the fourth.

Phillips followed with a hit to score Zubiate and bring the Mustangs within 7-5.

Charley Andrews walked to load the bases, and two outs later, Imani Evans singled to score Ortiz and Phillips to tie the game.

The Mustangs took the lead when Avion Jackson’s fly to left was misplayed, allowing Evans to score.

“We’ve had a lot of trouble keeping our same energy, but our girls kept it through (the league tournament) and kept it up today,” Chandler said. “They put in three hours a day every day, so it’s nice to see their hard work play off and everything to come together.”

Senior Paige Murch held the Bobcats off the board the rest of the way to preserve the win.

“I’ve been here a long time and this is my fourth appearance here,” Murch said. “I knew I needed to take it pitch by pitch.”

Evans was 3-for-4 for Needles.

Silver Stage 10, Lincoln County 9 — The Nighthawks edged the Lynx in Friday’s first elimination game.

Class 3A

Kareena Nelson went 2-for-3 with two RBIs to help Pahrump Valley earn a 7-3 win over Fernley in the winners’ bracket final of the Class 3A state tournament in Mesquite.

Allyson Rily was 2-for-3 with two runs for the Trojans (29-9), who again will face Fernley (25-10) in the championship at 10 a.m. Saturday.

McKenna Montgomery was 2-for-3 for the Vaqueros, who must beat Pahrump twice on Saturday to win the title.

Lowry 9, Moapa Valley 7 — Sierra Mastrejuan went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs to help the Buckaroos overcome the Pirates in an elimination game.

Delanie Thompson homered and drove in three runs for Lowry (20-16), which erased a 7-4 deficit with a five-run sixth inning.

Sierra Staheli was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs, and Abbie Evans homered and drove in two runs for Moapa Valley (22-10).

Class 1A

Kaitlin Higbee was 2-for-3 with a double and five RBIs to help Pahranagat Valley outlast Smith Valley, 15-10 in the winners’ bracket final of the Class 1A state tournament in Overton.

Rebecca Taylor was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs for the Panthers (25-2), who will face Smith Valley (15-7) for the title at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Esmeralda Castaneda was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for the Bulldogs.

Coleville 19, Tonopah 16 — Camille Childs went 3-for-5 with four RBIs to lead the Wolves past the Muckers in an elimination game.

Chanlei Phillips was 4-for-4 with two RBIs for Tonopah (5-12-1).

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