Pahranagat Valley successfully defended the Division IV girls state softball championship last weekend in Reno.
Kennedy Huntsman was again the main star for the Lady Panthers. She pitched every inning of every game as Pahranagat (25-4) took three straight to hold on to their title. They finished the season on a 21-game win streak.
And in so doing, they became the first group in the history of girls sports at Pahranagat Valley High to win state titles in all three major sports in the same school year, winning volleyball, basketball and softball.
Lincoln County girls turned the trick in 1999, but Alamo principal Mike Strong said he did not know of too many other schools in the state, if any, who have also accomplished the feat.
PVHS beat Eureka for the softball title in 2013 and beat them in the 2014 basketball championship game as well.
A senior, Huntsman has been the go-to-girl for the team all season, and she was in the state tournament as well, with three complete games and 11 strikeouts.
Coach Mike Sparrow said of Huntsman, “She is solid. She really came to work during the summer. A three-sport athlete, I never doubted she would come here and do well here. It was good to see.”
Huntsman herself gave just as much credit to her teammates. “I couldn’t have done it without my amazing teammates, they had my back every time.”
In the finals against Eureka, she allowed only four hits with four strike outs. PVHS was cruising along with an 8-3 lead and Eureka down to their last at bat.
Things then got a little tight, as the Vandals rallied with one out for three runs before a ground out and a fly ball to left field ended the game and the victory for Alamo.
Huntsman said coach Mike Sparrow was having her throw the low ball most of the game, “so they would hit it on the ground instead of popping it up.” When the Vandals did hit the ball, it was usually right at somebody. Cassie Wells double was the only extra base hit for Eureka.
Pahranagat had a big third inning scoring five runs on three hits and three errors to take an 8-3 lead.
Just the day before, in a winner’s bracket game with the same Eureka team, Madison Harris was the hero, as her walk off single in the bottom of the seventh scored Huntsman with the winning run and a thrilling 6-5 win over the Northern Division champs.
Harris was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, Huntsman was 2-for-4 with a double. Taylor Usry was 2-for-4 and a double for Eureka.
The Vandals then went on to beat Wells 4-0 for a chance to play Alamo again.
On the first day of the tournament, Pahranagat had a late four-run rally to take a 5-1 win over Wells.
Marina Scott started the rally and Jade Jewett followed with a single, and Brook Higbee beat out a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Bailee Hosier had an RBI single and Higbee scored on a fielder’s choice. Jamie Hansen had a sacrifice fly to score a run and Traci Strong finished with a single behind second base to score another runner.
Sparrow said, “When we got a runner on, we started playing smart ball, the short game. We executed some bunts and have some girls who can run.”
Wells got the bases loaded in the sixth inning, but Huntsman got out of it. The Leopards got their only run on the seventh inning, before a double play ended the game.