What a difference a week makes.
Last week, the Pahrump Valley High School softball team played two noncompetitive games. First was a Tuesday trip to Western High School in Las Vegas, where 16 first-inning runs made the Sunset League contest a joke. Ally Rily went 3-for-3 with 2 doubles and 6 RBIs in the 26-4 win.
Two days later, Democracy Prep came to Pahrump with similar results. Facing a pitcher who seemed to alternate between playing slo-pitch softball and bocce, the Trojans somehow saw enough pitches to hit to pound out 17 hits in two innings in a 23-2 laugher that left Pahrump Valley 17-7 overall and 6-0 in the Sunset.
But it gets more interesting this week, as the Trojans again will travel to Majestic Park in Las Vegas, where Centennial High School will host its 12th annual Spring Jamboree. The defending champion is West Torrance of California, and the field has included teams from Arizona, Oregon, Utah, South Carolina, Idaho, Hawaii and Florida as well as California and Nevada.
The 40-team field guarantees five games for each team starting at 10 a.m. Thursday. The championship game will be at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“We’ve been talking about this tournament all season,” Pahrump Valley coach Cassondra Lauver said. “There should be a lot of great teams there.”
And great teams require a different approach. Patiently watching bad pitch after bad pitch until one that can be reached with a bat comes along will not cut it in the Spring Jamboree.
“Our pitching coaches will be throwing to our hitters during practice this week, and they throw fairly hard,” Lauver said. “We’ve also been using our machines at higher speeds in preparation for the pitching that we will likely see this week.”
Lauver said Trojan pitchers have been working at adding more pitchers to keep hitters off balance, something that would come in handy during postseason play.
“This is a great test for us early enough in the season that we can still make adjustments to fix what is necessary before the state tournament,” Lauver said. “These teams will expose any weaknesses that we haven’t addressed or noticed at this point, and that is priceless.
“I would assume that every team in this tournament would be a contender for the 3A state championship if they were in our division. We don’t have to win a state championship this week, but it would be nice to see where we stand right now so that we have time to make necessary adjustments.”
The Trojans open play in the Spring Jamboree at 2 p.m. Thursday against Poly (12-7) of Riverside, California.