MESQUITE – For the first two games of the Virgin Valley Tournament, the Elko girls softball team made a habit of winning 9-8.
Despite the identical scores, the Lady Indians’ first two victories could not have come in more different fashion.
Elko nearly coughed up an eight-run lead in the season opener Thursday – surviving a seven-run rally by Wells that came up just shy – and the Lady found themselves on the wrong side of a 6-0 start Friday against defending 1A state champion Pahranagat Valley before making a comeback and winning in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The one-run habit came back to bite the Lady Indians on Friday night, falling 10-9 to Moapa Valley.
Versus Pahranagat Valley
The Lady Panthers found the scoreboard in the top of the first inning with an error on a fly ball in right field, junior Morgan Harris rolling home.
Senior Karley Whipple gave Pahranagat Valley a 2-0 lead when she was driven in on an RBI single by senior Madalyn Taylor.
The Lady Panthers added another run, freshman Rebecca Taylor crossing the dish after an Elko error at third base for a 3-0 lead.
Elko loaded the bases to start the bottom of the second inning, beginning the frame with three straight singles by senior Riley Harris, junior Lauryn Guenin and sophomore Breanna Whitted.
However, all three runners were stranded – Elko hitting a weak fly out and two groundouts.
In the bottom of the third, junior Jacqueline Pete ripped a one-out double but was left on the base path with a strikeout and a groundout.
The Lady Panthers took a 4-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning, Madalyn Taylor driving in junior Hannah Castleton with an RBI single to third base.
Pahranagat Valley went up 6-0 on the next at-bat, a line drive to center field by senior Kaitlyn Davis driving in Harris and Rebecca Taylor.
Elko finally made some offensive plays with runners on base in the bottom half.
Senior Mollie Gallagher opened with a leadoff single, followed by a base knock from sophomore Madi Murray.
With two outs, junior Alexis Elquist put the Lady Indians on the board.
She drove an RBI single and scored sophomore Mary-Tessa Slater.
Elko pulled to within three on a two-RBI double by Riley Harris, bringing home Pete and Elquist.
In the bottom of the sixth, Elko came up with another three-run frame – tying the game 6-6.
Junior Kenzie Ratliff scored sophomore Caresse Basaraba with a sacrifice.
A two-run rally was started with a huge double by junior Kaitlyn Rizo to score Gallagher, and another two-bagger was slapped by Pete – her second double of the game – bringing home Rizo.
The back-and-forth began, as the Lady Panthers plated two runs in the top of the seventh.
Whipple scored on an RBI single by Madalyn Taylor, and Rebecca Taylor crossed on a fielder’s choice.
Riley Harris was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom half for the Lady Indians, but Elko hit into a fielder’s choice double play.
Down to its final out, Elko gained a single by Whitted.
Basaraba tied the game when she drove in Guenin and sophomore Dariahn Primeaux with a two-RBI RBI double, and Basaraba stayed on her horse on the throw to the plate – taking third base.
With two outs and the game tied, Elko had speed at the plate and speed at third – Gallagher stepping to the dish.
She laid down a bunt and beat out the throw, Basaraba’s burst down the line providing the game-winning run – Gallagher walking off on the Lady Panthers.
Pahranagat Valley lost to Spring Creek on a walk-off on Thursday, falling 8-7.
Basaraba and Riley Harris led Elko with two RBIs each, Basaraba finishing 3-for-4 with a double – Harris going 2-for-3 with a double – and Basaraba led the Lady Indians with two runs scored, including the game-decider.
Pete finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI for the Lady Indians, Rizo’s lone hit going for extra bases.
Madalyn Taylor and Davis each drove in three runs for the Lady Panthers, Taylor hitting 3-for-4.
Rebecca Taylor scored a game-high three runs for Pahranagat Valley, and Morgan Harris and Whipple crossed the plate twice each.
PAHRNAGAT VALLEY – 300 030 2 – 8 8 1
ELKO – 000 033 3 – 9 17 4
Versus Moapa Valley
The Lady Indians plated two runs in the top of the first inning against the Lady Pirates, doing damage with patience.
Elko drew four walks in the inning, Gallagher scoring on a free pass to Basaraba with the bases juiced.
Ratliff gave Elko a 2-0 lead on a passed ball.
Moapa Valley tied the game with one swing of the bat in the bottom half, senior Kessa Evans kissing a two-run bomb to center field.
The crank started a trend, junior Lainey Cornwall going yard on the very next AB – the Lady Pirates on top 3-0.
With two outs, Moapa Valley extended its lead to 4-0 on an RBI single by junior Sierra Staheli that drove in junior Emilie Barraza.
The Lady Indians roared back in the top of the second.
With the bases cranked, Rizo cleared the paths – driving in Slater, Gallagher and Ratliff with a three-RBI double for a 5-4 lead.
Pete followed with an extra-base hit on the next AB, sending an RBI triple to left field and crossing Rizo for a 6-4 advantage.
A single by Guenin came on the following at-bat, scoring Pete for a 7-4 advantage.
Rizo earned another RBI in the top of the third – wearing a pitch with the bases loaded – bringing in Primeaux.
Pete gave the Lady Indians a 9-4 lead on the next at-bat with an RBI single that scored Gallagher.
Elko’s chance to add some insurance runs closed with a line-drive double play.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Anderson scored the first of six runs for the Lady Pirates in the bottom of the third on a fielder’s choice.
Sophomore Abbie Evans and Staheli scored on a two-RBI single by senior Sierra Harding, pulling Moapa Valley to within two at 9-7.
The deficit was cut in half on an RBI single by senior Aria Messer that crossed sophomore Sierra Bunker.
Elko finally recorded an out, but the groundball RBI by Kessa Evans drove in Harding and tied the game 9-9.
Messer also came home on a groundout, the RBI by Cornwall serving as the game-winner.
Trailing 10-9 in the top of the fourth, Elko was retired one-two-three and lost a game that it led by five at 9-4 – giving up six runs in the bottom of the third.
Rizo led Elko and drove in a game-high four runs, three coming on her three-RBI double.
Pete finished 2-for-2 with a triple and drove in two runs for the Lady Indians.
Gallagher scored a game-high three runs, and Ratliff crossed the dish twice for Elko.
Kessa Evans drove in a team-high three runs for the Lady Pirates, all coming on her home run.
Cornwall, Harding and Staheli closed with two RBIs apiece for Moapa Valley.
Messer scored a team-best two runs for the Lady Pirates.
ELKO – 252 0 – 9 6 1
MOAPA VALLEY – 406 X – 10 9 0
The Lady Indians will play tournament host Virgin Valley at 11 a.m. Saturday.