The Lady Trojans and the Lady Bulls of SLAM Nevada have given their fans nothing but excitement in their two regular season matchups.
Their playoff meeting may have topped both of the regular season games.
After defeating Pahrump Valley in Pahrump on senior night last Wednesday, SLAM Nevada took the No. 2 Mountain seed away from the Lady Trojans, giving the Bulls a home game for the first round of the 3A Southern Nevada regional playoffs.
The Lady Bulls would end up hosting the Lady Trojans on Monday afternoon in the first round.
These two schools have been evenly matched this season with the away team winning each of the first two games.
In the first game this season, Pahrump Valley came away with a 15-13 victory in nine innings at SLAM.
SLAM then turned the tables and won an 8-4 game in 10 innings in the second game between the two teams.
What better time than in the playoffs for the rubber match to be played?
Monday’s game felt much like last week’s game – sunny, windy and full of emotions.
If the wind had calmed down a little bit, it would have been perfect weather for a ball game.
Both teams wanted to come out to set the tone. But, as they’ve done in their previous games, the tones were matched by the opposition.
The Lady Trojans jumped out to a 4-0 victory in the top of the first inning.
Senior outfielder Shania Hopkins had a huge 2-run single for the Trojans. She played a great game at a time when Pahrump Valley needed it the most.
Hopkins finished Monday’s game going a perfect 5-for-5 with five runs batted in and scored twice.
Junior pitcher Cat Sandoval got the start on the mound for the Lady Trojans.
Despite not pitching too well, Sandoval pitched a seven-inning complete game. She allowed 13 runs on 19 hits while recording six strikeouts, including the final out of the game to seal the win for the Trojans.
At the plate, Sandoval went 2-for-5 with two singles and batted in a run.
It didn’t take long for SLAM to get back into the game.
The Lady Bulls were able to tie the score at four in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a 3-run home run by sophomore catcher Carmen Castro.
As soon as the ball left her bat, everyone at the park knew it was a home run. She has great power for such a young hitter.
Castro would add a second home run during the bottom of the fourth inning, this time a solo shot.
She has hit three home runs this year against the Lady Trojans. Last Wednesday, she hit a game-sealing 3-run home run off of Sandoval in the top of the 10th inning.
The teams went back and forth throughout the entirety of the game.
After scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, SLAM Nevada took a 13-10 lead into the top of the seventh inning.
Things weren’t looking good for the Lady Trojans, who had scored just two runs in the game since the second inning.
However, they would find their groove in the last inning.
Pahrump Valley got seven consecutive hits to begin the seventh inning before registering a single out.
With those seven hits, the Trojans drove in six runs to take a 16-13 lead and complete the comeback.
Hopkins delivered the game-winning two-run single.
SLAM made things a tad uneasy in the bottom half of the seventh inning by loading the bases, but Sandoval was able to stay calm under pressure and get the final out.
With their win, the Trojans move on to the second round of the championship bracket. As I’m writing this on Tuesday, they’re currently on their way to play powerhouse Virgin Valley.
The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a perfect 32-0 record. They defeated the Lady Trojans 13-0 in their regular season matchup.
Pahrump Valley will have a tough task on their hands.
Win or lose, the Trojans are guaranteed a game on Wednesday afternoon – it’s just a matter of where and against who.
If Pahrump can defeat the Bulldogs, they’ll move on to face the winner of the Boulder City vs. Clark game for a trip to the regional championship on the line.
If Pahrump loses to Virgin Valley, they’ll be sent to the loser’s bracket to face the winner of Tuesday’s game between Canyon Springs and Moapa Valley.
You can follow along with the tournament by visiting niaa.com or by visiting maxpreps.com to see the final score of the games.
Contact sports writer/editor Danny Smyth at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @_dannysmyth on Twitter.