They say patience is a virtue. Patience is especially virtuous when you’re a softball player facing a pitcher who couldn’t find the plate with a map, a compass and a team of bloodhounds.
That was pretty much the case Tuesday as the Pahrump Valley High School softball team benefited from 8 walks and 3 hit batters on offense and received a dominating pitching performance from Ally Rily to post a 15-0 win over Desert Pines at Floyd Field.
But the game was a formality; Tuesday was about honoring the team’s five seniors, who, with last season canceled and no state tournament this season, will graduate as part of the defending Class 3A state championship team.
Rily is one of those seniors, and despite the strong possibility of being bored during the Trojans’ seemingly endless at-bats was sharp throughout. Officially, she pitched a 3-inning perfect game, something that looks more impressive because it came with 7 strikeouts — 3 looking — including striking out the side during the third inning to wrap up the game.
Although it was Senior Day, junior Dee Dee Egan insisted on getting the big hit, a booming bases-loaded triple to the fence in left field during the second inning. She then scored Pahrump Valley’s 15th run on a dropped fly ball off the bat of Ava Charles.
Not surprisingly, winning the Class 3A state championship two years ago was cited as the best memory by four of the seniors, although Makayla Cadwell said it was “traveling with all the girls, the team bonding. The girls are like family to me,” a sentiment shared by all five. But two of them had specific memories of that tournament in Mesquite which brought the Trojans their first state title since 2005.
Alannah Coen remembers the end of the final game, when Kaden Cable’s 3-run eighth-inning home run beat Fernley for the championship.
“Everyone just started running out,” she recalled. “I watched them do regionals because I was brought up from JV, and it was really cool to see all of the juniors, which turned out to be their senior year.”
Fellow senior Kalea Whitney has another moment from that tournament stuck in her head.
“During the state championship. Nicky (Velazquez) was playing shortstop and I was playing left, and we collided to catch a fly ball,” she said. “It was the funniest thing ever. I caught her, and she still caught it.”
Of course, it’s a lot funnier when the catch is made.
Getting mentally tougher and improving communication skills were cited more than once as things the players will take with them from their years playing softball.
“It helped me get closer to people, communicate with other people,” Makayla Cadwell said. Coen took that one step further.
“This year I learned that I can be extroverted,” she said. “I never thought I was going to be able to accomplish that.”
But fortitude kept creeping back into the conversations.
“With this sport I became way more mentally tough, and I love that,” Velazquez said. “You need that in life and work and just everything.”
“There have been a lot of hard times with me and the coaches, not me and the players really, but just softball in general,” Rily said. “You’ve just got to push through. When I was younger I was really weak mentally, and I can say now that I’m a lot stronger now. I would cry in the circle. It was bad. My parents were like walking away, embarrassed.”
Trojans coach Cassondra Lauver knew Rily back then; in fact, she knew several of the players from coaching them with the Pretty Vicious travel team — and Rily even earlier, because she played with Lauver’s daughter, Skyler, who is now playing at College of Southern Nevada.
“Shane (Rily) and I coached together before our girls were on Pretty Vicious,” Lauver remembered. “We had them when they were called Sweet Fury and Flirt with Dirt when Skyler and Ally were just little, little things.”
Velazquez and Whitney also played with Pretty Vicious, while Coen showed up sophomore year, a transfer from Explore Knowledge Academy, a charter school in Las Vegas.
“Don’t go there,” was all she said about that.
But even with only three years in Trojans softball, she shares the same emotion her teammates have about it coming to an end.
“I’m going to miss all of them,” Coen said.
“I’m going to miss my team, my family,” Velazquez said. “We’re sisters on this field, and I’m really going to miss them. This team is different to me.”
But it’s not just the other players the seniors will miss.
“I think I’m just going to miss the players and coaches,” Whitney said. “The spirit and the love is so great. Our coaches make us work so hard, and working so hard makes us push each other.”
“We’re very fortunate to have so many coaches helping us, and my teammates are the best of all that I’ve had in my years in sports,” Rily said.
Rily is headed to Chandler Gilbert Community College in Arizona to play softball, and Cadwell will be making videos to send to colleges — “I’m aiming for CSN, but any college that’s close to home,” she says — with the long-term goal of becoming an anesthesiologist.
Then there’s Coen.
“I am hoping to do community college to get my prereqs done here at (Great Basin College), and then I want to go to Dixie for animation or graphic design because I’m a cartoonist,” she said. “I’ve been drawing since freshman year, and I’ve always loved animation. If it was on TV and it wasn’t a cartoon, it wasn‘t on my TV.
“No, this is real life, this is people, and I don’t want it.”
Maybe not, but the Trojans seniors all seem ready for it.
Softball Senior Day
Pahrump Valley High School softball coach Cassondra Lauver spent a few minutes after Tuesday’s game in the dugout, talking about the five seniors honored on Senior Day at Floyd Field.
Kalea Whitney: “She started off with our Pretty Vicious team. She’s just a ray of sunshine. She’s so, so fast; speed is her thing, that is the number-one tool that she has. She’s just worked her butt off to earn a position and do everything that’s ever asked of her. She’s a great kid, love her to death.
Alannah Coen: “She has grown so much over the last few years. She’s just very shy and an introvert, and she has just blossomed into this great leader on the team. She leads us in cheers, she grinds things out, in practice she’s cheering girls on and hustling to her postion. She’s just really stepped up this year. You can’t ask more of a kid.”
Nicky Velazquez: “We’ve coached her since she was a sixth grader, I believe. On the Pretty Vicious team she took a ball to the face in a rundown one time. We whisked her off to the hospital, and she was out here with her swollen eyeball. She looks sweet as can be, but don’t you dare put anything past her. She’ll go after anything, and she wants to win. She’s been a blessing.”
Ally Rily: “Ally was a Pretty Vicious member before she got to high school and has been on varsity all four years. She’s another one who has that competitive spirit. She wants to win at all costs. She’s got that gritty mentality. She’s got that natural athletic instinct. She is a mentally tough person who can hang with the best of them. She’s a strong kid.”
Makayla Cadwell: “She has been just a rock star this year. She has taken some really bad hits off the ankle this season, and she has bounced back up and played through a lot of sore aches and pains and bruises. She comes in and she wants to hit the ball, and when she hits the ball she hits it hard and long. She’s got a great arm, and she also has been stepping up, being a leader on this team as well.”