MESQUITE – The Wells softball team went into the championship bracket of the Virgin Valley Tournament after a walk-off win over Spring Creek, closing the tournament with a shutout victory.
The Lady Leopards beat Spring creek 7-6 on Friday night, blanking Lincoln County 7-0 on Saturday.
Versus Spring Creek
The Lady Spartans struck first, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning.
Junior Lexi Voegele singled on a fly ball to right field, driving in senior Paige Nelms for the game’s first run.
Voegele gave Spring Creek a 2-0 lead when she scored on an RBI triple to left field by freshman Jaycee Freyensee, and a two-out single to the pitcher by junior Allie Thompson crossed sophomore Nicole Southern.
A two-out error accounted for Wells’ first run in the bottom half, junior Laila Jackson scoring on a groundball by senior Lacye Pearson.
Wells senior pitcher Samantha Shamblin retired the side in the top of the second, striking out a batter and catching a line-drive comebacker.
In the bottom of the second, sophomore pitcher Shawnee Walters-Haas shut down Wells – striking out the side.
Freyensee doubled with two outs for the Lady Spartans in the top of the third, but she was stranded with a strikeout after a Shamblin punchout to close the frame.
The Lady Leopards cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the third, gaining a one-out double by Jackson.
She made the score 3-2 when she stole home, the inning coming to a close on a double-swipe – Pearson getting picked off at second by junior Josie Corona.
The Wells defense put a quarter in the error machine in the top of the fourth, committing three straight.
Thompson reached on a fly ball that was dropped by the shortstop, an error at second base allowed senior Jade Conklin to reach and Walters-Haas loaded the bases with an error at third on a bunt.
A passed ball allowed Thompson a run, and a one-out single by Nelms drove in Conklin for a 5-2 lead.
Nelms gave the Lady Spartans a 6-2 advantage when she was driven in with a two-out single by sophomore Hailey Watson.
Sophomore Julianne Wright hit a one-out single for the Lady Leopards in the bottom of the fourth, and senior Keegan Laughlin nailed a two-out base knock – Wells loading the bases when senior Kendra Franco drew a walk.
Wright cut the Spring Creek lead to three on a passed ball, and a two-RBI double by Jackson drove in Laughlin and Franco and made the score 6-5.
Shamblin struck out the side in the top of the fifth – allowing only a single by Thompson – setting the stage for a Wells comeback in the bottom half.
Shamblin led off with a single – scoring and tying the game on the next at-bat – senior Ady Prado ripping an RBI double to center field.
Walters-Haas struck out the next two hitters, but sophomore Lauren Steele reached on a fly ball to first base – the Lady Leopards walking off as Prado kept running with two outs.
Wells came back from a four-run deficit and defeated Spring Creek by a final score of 7-6.
Jackson drove in a game-high two runs, finishing 2-for-3 at the plate – each of her hits going for doubles – also topping Wells’ roster with two runs scored.
Shamblin went 2-for-3 at the plate, and came up big on the mound in a gritty performance.
She allowed six runs (three earned) on eight hits over five innings, but she struck out 10 batters without giving up a walk.
Nelms scored a team-high two runs for the Lady Spartans, finishing 2-for-3 at the dish and driving in a run.
Freyensee closed a perfect 2-for-2, both of her hits going for extra bases with a triple and a double, driving in one run.
Thompson also notched multiple hits for Spring Creek, closing with a 2-for-3 day at the plate – driving in a run and scoring another.
Walters-Haas gave the Lady Spartans a quality outing on the mound, allowing seven runs – only three earned – on eight hits over 4-2/3 innings.
She struck out eight batters and only allowed one free pass.
Versus Lincoln County
In the fifth-sixth ballgame, Wells dominated Lincoln County – the Lady Leopards blanking the Lady Lynx by a score of 7-0.
Wells retired the Lady Lynx in order in the top of the first, Shamblin closing the frame with consecutive Ks.
In the bottom half, Wells benefited from consecutive Lincoln County errors – Laughlin leading off and reaching after a miscue at shortstop, Franco using the same approach – and Jackson loaded the bases with a drawn walk.
Pearson scored Laughlin with a sac fly, and Franco was driven in by an RBI single by Shamblin to third base.
With two outs, the Lady Leopards put their running shoes on – Jackson and Shamblin scoring on separate passed balls on the same AB.
Wells took a 4-0 lead.
After allowing Lincoln County’s leadoff hitter to reach on an error in the top of the second and giving up a single, Laughlin and Jackson combined for a big out.
Laughlin fired to Jackson and nailed the runner at the plate as she attempted to steal home, and Shamblin sat the batter down with a K for the second out.
A walk placed runners at first and second with two outs, but a groundout to Shamblin ended the frame and the threat.
Wells could have done more damage than one run in the bottom of the second, but a runner was ruled out due to offensive interference.
The Lady Leopards took a 5-0 lead when Franco scored on a passed ball.
Shamblin struck out consecutive hitters after giving up a leadoff walk in the top of the third, and Wells escaped another two-on, two-out jam with a groundout to Wright at third base.
In the bottom half, Shamblin stole home for a 6-0 lead.
Déjà vu in the bottom of the bottom of the fifth, Shamblin stealing home once again for the final run of the game – opening a 7-0 advantage for Wells.
The Lady Lynx led off the top of the sixth with back-to-back singles, but the Lady Leopards came up with a pickoff at second by Prado and a strikeout by Shamblin – ending the game with a fly out to Prado.
Wells took fifth place in the Virgin Valley Tournament with a 7-0 shutout win.
Shamblin tied Pearson for the game high with one RBI each, Shamblin scoring a game-best three runs – two coming on steals of home.
Jackson finished 2-for-2 and Laughlin went 2-for-3 with a triple for the Lady Leopards.
Shamblin earned the win – throwing six innings of scoreless, three-hit ball – finishing with seven punchouts and five walks.
The Lady Leopards will face the nemesis that has beaten them in each of the last three state championships, squaring off with the Lady Panthers during the Pahranagat Valley Tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday in Alamo.