Girls softball begins this week for both Lincoln County and Pahranagat Valley High Schools.

At Lincoln, Pat Kelley returns as coach with more years under his belt than he can remember.

The Lady Lynx were 24-6 last season, finished 11-1 in league, behind Needles, but won the league tournament over Needles, and took the No. 1 seed to the state tournament where they first defeated defending state champion Yerington, but lost two games the next day to Needles and White Pine.

Kelley said he has nearly his entire starting lineup returning this year, with seven players back.

He expects the top players to be Kaylee Teel CF (Sr), Jaycee Wadsworth 2B (Sr), Chelsea Lloyd 1B/P (Sr.), Aspen Wilkin P (Jr.), and Bailey Free C (Sr.),

“We have a lot of potential this season,” says Kelley. “We really have, with the starters coming back and the young kids coming in, it’s all about how much the girls want to put into it.”

The Lynx have quite a few assistant coaches, as they all will coach JV and varsity. Mike Scott, John Christian, Cody Tingey, Dan Lloyd, Tommy Sears, and Evan Schimbeck.

This weekend the team plays in the St. George (Utah) Warm-up. Kelley says that is “always a great tournament and we’re looking forward to it. We’re in a pool with Kanab, South Severe, and Morgan. And we got our JV team into that tournament this year also.”

Lincoln’s first home and league game is March 18 hosting Calvary Chapel at 1 and 3 p.m.

Pahranagat Valley is the defending Division IV girls state champions and 12th-year coach Mike Sparrow returns his entire team minus one senior.

They closed the season last year with a 15-game win streak and a 22-4 record.

PVHS this year will be a senior dominated infield with four among the eight returning starters. They are Kennedy Huntsman P, Cheyenne Harris 1B, Traci Strong SS, (Sr.), Bailee Hosier 3B.

Other returning starters include Jamie Hansen C (Jr.), Merinna Scott OF (Jr.), Jade Jewitt OF (Jr.), Monica Heredia OF (Sr.) and Brook Higbee 2B (So.).

Sparrow says he feels the Panther girls “have gained more depth only losing one (senior) and gaining five freshmen.” He explained the five freshman have some experience having played youth softball before coming to high school. “And we have a lot of experience coming back from a state championship team.”

The Southern League only has four teams, Sandy Valley, PVHS, Indian Springs and Tonopah. Round Mountain has not fielded a team for a few years, and play as an independent, when they do have a team.

PVHS begins the season hosting the four-team PV Tournament featuring Eureka, and Moapa and Faith Lutheran JVs this weekend.

Alamo’s first game is Friday against the Moapa JVs at 1 p.m., and then again at 7 p.m. against Faith Lutheran JVs. On Saturday, they play Eureka at 10 a.m. The championship game will be Saturday at 4 p.m.

On March 18, PVHS plays at The Meadows, and plays a non-league doubleheader with Tonopah in Alamo March 21.