In one of the most anti-climactic games imaginable, the Pahrump Valley High School softball team wrapped up its third consecutive Sunset League championship Tuesday with a 13-3 victory over Mojave in North Las Vegas.
The Trojans (21-9, 9-0 Sunset) won their 30th consecutive league game and 29th in a row via the mercy rule while showing just how much difference there is between themselves and the second-place Rattlers.
“It’s the league that we’re in,” Pahrump Valley coach Cassondra Lauver said. “This is what we have to play in, and as long as we’re taking steps forward to be better athletes individually, that’s what we need to be doing.”
One of those players is junior pitcher Hannah Cuellar, who started off strong and bounced back from the minor hiccups she had. Cuellar set down the Rattlers in order twice, striking out the side in the first and getting three infield grounders in the third. She also faced the minimum in the fifth thanks to a nifty game-ending, around-the-horn double play.
“She did do a great job,” Lauver agreed. “She regained her composure and got back into it and just did a great job.”
Cuellar allowed an unearned run in the second inning on two walks and an error, then one of Mojave’s runs in a 2-run fourth scored when the routine throw from catcher to pitcher after a pitch didn’t quite find the mark.
But that was about it for the Rattlers, who fell behind early as the Trojans jumped on them with 5 runs in the first. The key hits were and RBI double by Skyler Lauver and a 2-run triple by Jackie Stobbe.
Pahrump Valley’s other extra-base hits were third-inning doubles from Deeanna Egan and Hailey Cuellar, the latter plating 2 of the 3 runs the Trojans scored in the inning. The Trojans pounded out 12 hits, including 4 from Skyler Lauver and 3 from Kareena Nelson, who each drove in 3 runs and scored twice.
But there were contributions from throughout the lineup, as eight players scored at least once and six drove in at least 1 run.
“These girls hit the ball very well today,” Cassondra Lauver said. “They hit the ball into the gap, had some nice line drives.
“We’ve been working very hard, very diligently, on the pitches we want to be hitting, the pitches we should be looking for to hit. And I think the girls did a great job looking for those pitches today.”
Both teams wrapped up league play Thursday, with Pahrump Valley hosting Western and Mojave traveling to Democracy Prep. Then, after the Trojans wrap up the regular season with a nonleague game today at Bishop Gorman (14-19), the teams begin the Class 3A Southern Region Tournament on Tuesday.
The top four teams in the Sunrise and Sunset League make the playoffs, meaning just one team from the Sunrise — Sunrise Mountain (6-14, 0-7) — and two teams from the Sunset — Democracy Prep (0-15, 0-9) and Western (4-15, 2-7) — will be done this week.
The Trojans will open tournament play Tuesday at home against either Chaparral (13-8, 3-4) or Virgin Valley (12-15, 3-5), likely Chaparral, which finishes Sunrise League play today against Sunrise Mountain. The teams have met this season, with the Trojans routing the Cowboys 20-0 back on March 18 in Las Vegas on a 3-inning no-hitter by Ally Rily.
In fact, the Trojans already have beaten every team they could face in the regions. Along with being undefeated in the Sunset, they own wins over Moapa Valley (10-8, March 25 in Overton), Virgin Valley (17-2 on March 20 in Pahrump) and Boulder City (14-10 on March 11 in Pahrump).
The opening rounds will be played at the higher-seeded teams with the final games next weekend in Pahrump. The top two teams advance to the Class 3A State Tournament on May 16-18 at Virgin Valley High School in Mesquite.