PANACA, Nev. — The Laughlin High School Cougars put an end to Lincoln County’s undefeated season in the NIAA 2A South League last Friday, splitting a doubleheader against the Lynx.
“This is as hard of a road trip as you will find anywhere in high school baseball,” head coach Tony Petrik said. “We left at six in the morning, drove 5 1⁄2 hours, got the kids off the bus and said, ‘Let’s go play.’ ”
The Lynx took the opener of the doubleheader 7-2 and Laughlin won the nightcap 10-5. Laughlin is now 15-3 overall and 9-3 in league play.
Lynx pitcher McKinley O’ Connor was awarded the game one win after tossing seven strikeouts and walking four. Teammate Kobe Kelly closed out the game on the mound, striking out three, walking one, and not giving up a hit.
Petrik reported the Cougars left eight runners stranded on base in game one.
“I was happy with the effort given by the boys; they battled in that first game,” he said. “We had our chances, we hit the ball hard. ... Lincoln just made four spectacular plays on balls that if they hit the grass,we score a bunch of runs.
“Give credit to Lincoln, they make those plays, that’s why they are the three-time defending state champion.”
The Cougars’ batting warmed up in game two as they scored four runs in the opening frame. The team registered a total of 10 hits against three Lincoln pitchers. Laughlin’s lead-off man Malik Ksouri led the charge, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and run scored.
Ksouri set the tone for game two with his first at-bat of the game when he launched a shot to left-center off Lynx ace Kobe Walker.
The first nine Laughlin batters reached base in the first inning. Dann Perry and Daniel Montoya both blasted run-scoring doubles in the inning.
Diego Trujillo doubled to open the second and scored on a base hit by Tyreece Gonzalez.
Ksouri and Trujillo both singled in the top of the third inning, and both were brought home when Gonzalez singled.
Three Cougar base runners crossed the plate in the top of the sixth inning.
A pitch hit by Tyrell Gonzalez and Tyreece Gonzalez’s third hit of the game put runners on base. They both advanced on a passed ball. Tyrell Gonzalez scored when the Lynx defense could not handle the hard-hit ball by Robert Anderson.
Another hard hit ball by Daniel Montoya couldn’t be handled, which loaded the bases. Josh Furr drew a walk, forcing home Tyreece Gonzalez, and Anderson scored on Ksouri’s third hit of the game.
“I was really pleased with the performance of our three seniors,” Petrik said. “They are starting to really take a lead role with this team, and it was good to get Josh Furr back in the lineup after being out for six weeks with a broken finger.”
Trujillo was the starting pitcher for the Cougars in game two. He worked 52⁄3 innings before being relieved by Robert Anderson. Trujillo picked up his fifth pitching win of the season, striking out seven and walking four.
Cougar relief pitcher Anderson performed well in doubleheader, striking out two and allowing only one hit in both games on the day.
“The boys were in control of the game for all seven innings,” Petrik said. “It was fun watching them play.”
Lincoln, Meadows, Laughlin, and Needles all have sealed playoff spots. The only question is the seeding order as the regular season wraps up this Friday.
The Meadows School picked up two wins against Calvary Chapel Christian, taking over Laughlin’s second place spot in the standings, moving the Cougars to third.
However, Meadows still has to go through Lincoln County this Friday.
The Cougars close out their regular season at home playing one more conference doubleheader this Friday against Lake Mead Academy. Lake Mead is 4-6 in the league. The first game starts at 1 p.m.