Five-time defending champion Reno team to knock off
It should come as no surprise that on the eve of the 4A North regional baseball tournament, Reno is the team to beat.
The Huskies wrapped up the 4A North regular-season title with one week left in the season and are the favorites to win what would be their sixth-straight regional tournament. Reno is the only team ranked in the top ten in the state by maxpreps.com, which puts the Huskies at No. 6. Bishop Gorman is No. 1.
Tournament play starts Tuesday at 4 p.m. and the field of eight will be trimmed to six on Wednesday at host sites.
All eight teams are fighting for the 4A North’s lone berth in the state tournament next Thursday-Saturday at Las Vegas High School.
Here is a look at the four first-round matchups:
No. 8 Wooster (15-16, 10-12) at No. 1 Reno (26-4, 19-3)
Wooster tied with Reed for the final postseason position but got the nod thanks to a pair of regular-season wins over the Raiders.
Reno won both of its games against Wooster this season by scores of 16-0 and 4-1 in mid-March. If the Colts are to pull off the upset, they may have to get past ace and Oregon State signee, Christian Chamberlain.
However, with a potential meeting with Bishop Manogue waiting in the quarterfinals, coach Pete Savage could opt to save Chamberlain another day.
The two squads enter on opposite trajectories. Reno has rattled off a season-high 11 straight victories while Wooster has dropped seven of its last nine.
No. 5 McQueen (15-17, 12-10) at No. 4 Bishop Manogue (16-15, 13-9)
The first two meetings of the season between the Lancers and Miners one month ago could not have gone any differently.
McQueen went to Bishop Manogue in game one and rolled 9-3 only for the Miners to take game two in Northwest Reno, 19-5. This is the only of the four first-round matchups where the higher seed didn’t sweep the regular-season series from the lower seed.
Bishop Manogue dropped two of its last three regular-season contests but has won seven of its last 10 overall.
McQueen lost its last two to Reno, 8-2 and 4-3 in extra innings.
No. 6 Carson (16-14, 11-11) at No. 3 Galena (19-12, 16-6)
Galena is without question the best team in Northern Nevada over the last six years not to win a regional title. The Grizzlies have finishes second, second, third, third, third, and fourth since 2011.
However, because Northern Nevada earned two state berths last spring, the Grizzlies got in and beat Centennial, 4-2, in the first round before dropping their next two. That tournament was held at Bishop Manogue, which will host the final rounds of this weekend’s tournament.
Galena’s win over Centennial snapped Northern Nevada’s nine-game losing streak against Southern Nevada in the state tournament going back to 2012.
To get into the winner’s bracket, the Grizzlies will likely have to beat senior Bryce Moyle, who’s in the conversation with Chamberlain for best pitcher in the region. Moyle is 5-3 with a 2.24 ERA and has struck out 85 batters compared with just 17 walks.
The Grizzlies beat the Senators 8-1 in Carson on April 18 and 8-7 in south Reno two days later. Moyle did not throw in either game.
Galena has won five straight. Carson has claimed five of its last seven.
No. 7 Damonte Ranch (14-16, 11-11) at No. 2 Spanish Springs (21-6, 17-5)
The last school other than Reno to win a regional title? Spanish Springs.
The Cougars won it in 2011 when this year’s senior class sat through sixth grade. This is Spanish Springs’ best chance at another regional title, although last year’s team battled though the loser’s bracket and made it as far as the consolation semifinals, one win short of a state berth.
To avoid the loser’s bracket early, Spanish Springs will have to deal with Damonte Ranch. The Cougars took both games off the Mustangs this season, but neither was convincing. In their first meeting, exactly a month ago, the Cougars won 4-1 at Damonte and 5-2 three days later.
The Mustangs lost three of their last four to Galena and Bishop Manogue. The Cougars have won 12 of their last 14.