MESQUITE – The Spring Creek softball team opened the season with a bang, finishing the weekend with a mixed bag.
The Lady Spartans opened the Virgin Valley Tournament with an 8-7 victory in walk-off fashion against Pahranagat Valley, bookending the trip with a 12-2 victory over the Lady Panthers.
Spring Creek’s second and third games resulted in an 11-0 shutout loss to Aquinas (California) and a 7-6 defeat to Wells.
Versus Pahranagat Valley
Spring Creek’s season opener Thursday against the defending Division 1A state champion was a low-scoring affair throughout the contest, ending with an offensive explosion by each club.
The only run of the game through four innings was provided by Spring Creek in the bottom half of the first frame when senior Paige Nelms scored on a wild pitch.
No runs were scored in the middle frames, but the script was flipped in the fifth inning – the teams combining for 14 runs.
The Lady Panthers scored when a batter was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Pahranagat Valley drove consecutive one-singles for a 3-1 lead.
Another run crossed on a passed ball and a two-run single gave the Lady Panthers a 6-1 advantage.
Spring Creek momentarily stopped by the bleeding with consecutive outs, but a two-out RBI single pushed Pahranagat Valley to a 7-1 lead.
Facing an uphill climb, the Lady Spartans answered in the bottom of the fifth.
Nelms led off with a triple, followed by a single by from sophomore Hailey Watson that crossed sophomore courtesy runner Ashton Moon.
Spring Creek made hay with two outs, the rally started by an RBI single by senior Jade Conklin – driving in Watson.
The Lady Spartans pulled to within three when junior Tatum York scored on a single by sophomore Shawnee Walters-Haas.
Junior Josie Corona came across the plate on a bases-loaded walk – drawn by junior RaeAnn Chavez – and Nelms tied the game at 7-all with a two-RBI double that drove in Conklin and sophomore Nicole Southern.
Going through the entire order, Watson came back to the dish and provided the game-winner – smacking an RBI single that scored Chavez – Spring Creek walking off with an 8-7 victory.
Watson and Nelms each batted 2-for-3 with two RBIs, both of Nelms’ hits going for extra bases with a double and a triple – Watson’s final RBI serving as the difference.
Nelms also stole two bases.
Conklin finished a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate for the Lady Spartans.
The Lady Spartans were shut out in their second game of the tournament on Friday morning, falling 11-0 to Aquinas.
Aquinas scored two runs in the first inning, one in the second and blew the lid off the game with an eight-run third.
Spring Creek closed the game with just two hits, Nelms and junior Lexi Voegele each knocking a single.
After winning its first game with a walk-off win, Spring Creek was walked off against by Wells on Friday evening – the Lady Leopards winning by a final score of 7-6.
For stats and coverage of the game, check out the Wells story at elkodaily.com/sports.
Versus Pahranagat Valley
After needing a walk-off to beat the Lady Panthers in the season opener, the second matchup was all Spring Creek.
The Lady Spartans plated three runs in the top of the first inning.
Nelms opened the scoring after a Pahranagat Valley error at third base, and the next two runs were provided with two outs – Watson ripping a two-RBI double that drove in junior Allie Thompson and Southern for a 3-0 lead.
The Lady Panthers scored half of their total runs with on in the bottom half of the first, but Spring Creek answered with four runs in the top of the second.
An RBI single by Thompson drove in Conklin for a 4-1 lead, and Chavez strolled home for a 5-1 advantage on a single by freshman Jaycee Freyensee.
Nelms scored on the same play with an error in left field, and Thompson stole home for a 7-1 advantage.
The Lady Spartans retired the Lady Panthers one-two-three in the bottom half, and Spring Creek went back to work in the top of the third with five runs – all coming with two outs.
Corona crossed on an RBI single by Nelms – who stole second and took third on a passed ball – scoring on a double by Thompson.
The ball didn’t leave the park, but it counted as a home run just the same when Freyensee grounded to left field – driving in Thompson and Voegele – Freyensee staying on her horse and rolling all the way around for a 10-run lead.
Pahranagat Valley plated its final run in the bottom half, but the fourth inning played out scoreless and Spring Creek rolled to a 12-2 victory.
Freyensee drove in a game-high four runs – three coming on her inside-the-park homer – finishing 2-for-3.
Thompson and Nelms each finished with two RBIs, Thompson going 2-for-2 with a double.
Nelms finished 3-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and a triple, tying Thompson for the game high with three runs scored.
Spring Creek’s pitching was on-point – allowing just one hit in the game – Walters-Haas giving up one hit and two runs (one earned) over three innings, Southern closing the show with a flawless fourth inning.
The Lady Spartans will look to improve on their 2-2 record in the league opener, kicking off Division 3A North action against South Tahoe at 3 p.m. Friday in Spring Creek – weather permitting.