Reed was scheduled to open its season at Mackay in the Battle Born Classic for the second straight year this fall, but the team it was slated to play, Saguaro, was baited away by the sports empire.
ESPN offered to pay for Saguaro to play in another game that the network will air on national television. Nobody can blame the Saguaro coaches for opting out of the game at Mackay. It’s a great opportunity for their players.
However, ESPN’s interference also robbed one school (Reed) of an opportunity of its own.
Kurt Warner (yes, that Kurt Warner) is the offensive coordinator for Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Carson’s opponent in the Battle Born Classic. He has a son who is a wide receiver on the team.
Warner will address the players of the teams before the season-opening weekend at Mackay Stadium. The Raiders will miss it.
“That’s the thing that sucks too, I mean how cool of an opportunity to listen to Kurt Warner speak?” Reed coach Ernie Howren said.
Saguaro agreed to play the game nearly three months ago, but never signed a contract, allowing the possibility of a falling out.
Howren and his staff was able to scramble and find an opponent for that week, and a quality opponent at that. Clayton Valley Charter is legit. And Howren, who is an alumni of Clayton Valley, said it will be one of the best atmospheres his players will experience. Reed will have to open on the road opposed to at the biggest venue in Northern Nevada.
It will still be a valuable experience for the Raiders in their pursuit of a sixth straight regional title. However, it will be a different one. That’s because of ESPN. And that feels wrong.
Reed baseball clinging to playoff spot
Earlier in the season, I wrote about the Raiders’ prospects of winning a league title.
At one point, they were 14-1, 5-1 in the DI North. That fast start included a sweep of Carson, which has been one of the best teams in the region.
That start feels like it was last season. Reed has gone a combined 3-9 against Reno, Bishop Manogue, Damonte Ranch, Douglas, McQueen and Galena and is suddenly fighting for its playoff life.
After getting swept by Reno over the weekend, the Raiders fell to 10-10 in the DI North and own just a one-game lead over Douglas for the final playoff spot.
Reed split with Douglas but should own the tiebreaker by virtue of a win over Damonte Ranch. If Reed splits with Spanish Springs this week, and Douglas sweeps Carson (which would be a longshot), Reed will get the No. 8 spot at least.
However, if Reed is swept by Spanish Springs and Douglas sweeps, the Raiders will likely miss out.
So it’s simple for the Raiders: Beat their rivals from up Pyramid Way (who are going through their own struggles) at least once, and they’re in.
I’m good luck, apparently
I had stud Aces outfielder Peter O’Brien on my radio show on Thursday afternoon before Reno started a four-game set with Albuquerque.
— Nathan Shoup (@Trib_Shoup) April 28, 2016
The Isotopes had given the Aces fits this year, winning seven of the eight previous matchups this season.
On Thursday night, hours after enduring my questioning on the airwaves, O’Brien went 3-for-5 and scored the game winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Aces a 3-2 win.
On Sunday afternoon, O’Brien hit a walk-off solo home run, again in the 12th, to give Reno a 1-0 win. He was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week.
Any correlation between O’Brien’s big weekend and my radio show is unlikely to say the least. Let’s not rule it out though. We’ll see what happens next time he comes on.
Nathan can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org