The NIAA division IV regional softball tournament didn’t start out the way the Eureka County High softball team would have hoped for, but when the dust settled the Lady Vandals would stand tall, winning their second consecutive regional title.
In their first game of the weekend, top seeded Eureka drew the number four seed and host, Virginia City. The Lady Vandals had beaten them in both of their meetings earlier in the season, but they quickly found out that the Lady Muckers wouldn’t go down without a fight.
Virginia City opened up the game by scoring four runs in the first inning, and looked poised to pull off the upset, but Eureka battled back. The Lady Vandals pulled within one run going into the seventh, and scored twice to take the lead in the final inning to earn a tough 5-4 victory. Tayler Anderson had three big rbi’s and Annette Hayward gutted out seven strong innings on the mound in the complete game win.
C.C. Brown carried the way for Eureka in their semi-final game against Wells later in the afternoon, as she pitched a gem, en route to a 3-0 win. Brown pitched a complete game one-hit shutout and struck out 15 to help lead her team to the championship game on Saturday against Wells.
Brown followed up her masterful pitching performance with another solid game in the circle on Saturday, and the Eureka offense exploded for 12 runs as they secured a 12-2 win, locking up the regional championship.
“I’m very proud of our girls,” said coach Mary Jane Hodson. “They started out with a few jitters early, but then reset, regrouped and pulled it all together. They had a goal and that’s what they went after. They didn’t let the errors or mistakes get to them, and just played ball.”
Bridgette Bacon, Cassie Wells and Taylor Usry had two hits each in the title game, and Angela Porter added two rbi’s. Brown only allowed one hit to Wells and struck out seven.
Eureka will face Indian Springs, the number two seed from the south, in the opening game of the state tournament in Reno on Thursday at noon at Hixson Park. In the other matchup, number one seed Pahranagat Valley will take on Wells. The semi-finals and finals will be played at Bishop Manogue High School.
Hodson said her team feels confident heading into state.
“We feel like we are firing on all cylinders but we can’t take anyone for granted,” she said. “They’re all good teams and we will have to play hard and strong and stay focused. We have worked all year for this and are going in with a positive but protective attitude.”