Very few coaches have to “worry” about entering the postseason undefeated.
However, it’s something Reed coach Jon Wunder has at least had to consider the last three years.
The Raiders played 14 games this season before suffering their first loss of the season. It may have been the best thing to happen to the defending state champs.
Since wearing a surprising 2-1 non-league loss (5 innings) to a Lincoln team that owned a losing record, and playing Vacaville to a scoreless tie, Reed has rattled off eight straight wins.
It won the two following games in the Victory Tournament against quality teams and has topped Bishop Manogue, as well as Reno twice. The Huskies may be the biggest threat to the Raiders’ fourth straight regional title.
“If you’re going to lose one, you want it to be one that doesn’t count, right?” Wunder said of the loss to Lincoln following Saturday’s doubleheader sweep at Reno. “We want to be ranked No. 1 at the end of the season and everything in between is just working to get there.”
Reed fell to Lincoln in the Victory Tournament in Sacramento. The tournament, which Reed had won the two previous seasons, is typically played at the start of the season. It had to be pushed back midway through the season due to a storm.
Wunder said his team still grew from the experience, although in a different fashion.
“You look at that tournament and we always like it at the beginning of the year because it’s a bonding thing. It was just as beneficial in the middle of the season even though we lost a game and tied a game. It still served its purpose as far this time it gave them a break. They got to have some fun. They got to do some prom dress shopping. And we were able to get some games in.”
Now 22-1-1, 15-0 in the DI North, the Raiders are just seven games from going unbeaten in league play. If it wasn’t for a rare off night in Sacramento against Lincoln, Reed could have very likely entered the postseason with a 0 in the loss column.
The pressure of a state title defense will already be felt when the regional tournament starts in two weeks. The additional prospect of a perfect season would only add to that pressure.
The scoreboard said Reed lost to Lincoln on April 15. But it is better off for it.
Spanish Springs baseball struggling
The Cougars picked a tough time to go through their first slump of the season. It’s not entirely surprising though.
The schedule makers decided to put Spanish Springs through a gauntlet at the end of the year.
Because they took care of the teams they were supposed to beat at the start of the season, the Cougs are still in a good spot to host a first-round playoff game. They are just two games back of Reno and Carson for second place.
A league title, however, is likely out of the picture after entering last week tied atop the standings with Galena. The Cougars are four games back with six games to go. And the Grizzlies own the head-to-head tiebreaker following a sweep of the Cougs last week.
Spanish Springs starts an important two-game series with Reno this afternoon.
Nathan can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org