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Tom Rysinski: Trip down memory lane fills space in sports section

Shutting down professional and collegiate sports because of the COVID-19 pandemic left enormous holes in television programming, and not just on networks devoted to sports.

CBS, which expected to fill Saturday and Sunday with the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, showed us “classic” tournament games from the past. ESPN, which would have filled time on four of its networks with the women’s tournament, did the same thing.

Well, here I sit (and here, of course, is at home in my fabulous Las Vegas apartment and not the palatial offices of the Pahrump Valley Times), and I started wondering: What if I did the same thing? I’m as desperate as the TV networks, albeit with far less money on the line.

Well, no, I’m not going to do that, but it got me to thinking. If I did, what stories would I choose to run again? What classic games, what great moments, what brilliant, well-thought-out, inspiring pieces of journalism should be revisited?

OK, what games and what moments.

(The good news is I have a couple of really good stories for the next two Fridays, so you will not be subjected to lame attempts to fill space too often before we inevitably start using these pages for news.)

So where do we start? Well, state championships don’t come along too often at Pahrump Valley High School, so clearly the softball team winning the 3A title last year in Mesquite would be one worth telling again. Remember?

From the moment the ball left the bat, Kaden Cable’s teammates knew it was gone.

“We knew,” senior Jackie Stobbe said. “It was Kaden, and she’s known for hitting home runs in practice, so we knew.”

But this was no practice. And when Cable’s moon shot fell gently onto the grass beyond the fence in left field, the Pahrump Valley High School softball team had its first state championship since 2005.

The Trojans scored three times in the bottom of the seventh inning to force extra innings and three more times in the bottom of the eighth on Cable’s home run to post a wild 13-10 victory over Fernley in the Class 3A State Tournament final.

“I knew it was my pitch, so I swung at it,” Cable said. “It was two outs, the bottom of the eighth. It’s extra innings, and it just feels so great to be able to get that clutch hit.”

The fact that the Trojans had to rally from a 10-6 deficit after surrendering 6 runs in the top of the fifth made the drama that much more intense. Yes, that’s worth mentioning again.

Well, if you can’t have a state championship, how about a region championship? The girls soccer team won a thrilling battle with Western, a team the Trojans had split two league games with during the regular season, to claim the 2018 3A Southern Region crown.

The game summary shows that Makayla Gent scored the only goal Saturday when the Pahrump Valley girls soccer team defeated Western 1-0 to win the Class 3A Southern Region championship at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex in Las Vegas.

Don’t tell that to Gent.

“It was our team,” she insisted. “We were working our butts off the entire time. And that goal wasn’t me, it was everyone working together the entire game.”

It took 77 minutes for a goal to be scored in that game. Definitely a memory worth repeating.

Well, if you can’t have a state championship or a region championship, how about a dramatic playoff victory? When Pahrump Valley’s football team played its first home playoff game since before one of the current coaches was born, that was a big deal. And the whole town seemed energized by it, especially when the opponent turned out to be Boulder City.

After all, as assistant coach Tom Walker would put it to wrap up the postseason awards ceremony, “Boulder sucks.”

Joe Clayton knew exactly what his Pahrump Valley High School football team was facing against Boulder City on Friday night in the Class 3A playoffs.

“I grew up on boxing with my old man, watching Friday Night Fights all the time,” he said. “And I told the boys, ‘You know what? This one’s going to be a 15-round fight. And we have to win unanimously, which means our one-on-one battles have to be won by all of us, all 11 on the field, so you better get ready for a battle.’ ”

They were ready.

Nico Velazquez carried 34 times for 180 bruising yards, Dylan Wright directed a critical scoring drive as the first half closed and the Pahrump Valley defense came up with a couple of huge stops as the Trojans advanced by winning a 32-30 slugfest at Trojan Field.

Good stuff, right? And the game was pretty good, too. (Couldn’t resist.)

Now, to any aspiring young journalists reading this, that is how you fill up space.

How are athletes at Pahrump Valley and Beatty high schools filling the time left open by not having sports? Still training or playing video games? Let us know what you’re up to by emailing trysinski@pvtimes.com

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