By DAVE BELCHER
Moapa Valley Progress
The Eagles are the two-time defending State Champion team. This year, they look to be a strong contender again.
The Eagles’ biggest loss this year has come with Jacob Hubel graduating. Last year Hubel hit .379 and had 28 RBI’s on offense.However, he was also 10-3 as the Eagles ace pitcher. He finished with a 2.08 ERA on 70.1 innings pitched allowing 21 earned runs and striking out 60. He walked just 15 all season.
The Eagles biggest addition this year is head coach Ed McCann. McCann was Moapa Valley’s head coach last year leading the Pirates back to the state tournament. He coached just the one year for the Pirates before jumping ship and replacing Coach Reese who had led the Eagles to two state championships.
Returning for the Eagles is D.J. Reese who hit .430 last year. He had 34 RBI’s in 107 at bats.
Rhett Armstrong also hit .430, hitting 2 homeruns and bringing home 29 RBI’s.
Anthony Pacifico returns with his .380 batting average. He had 28 RBI’s and 3 triples for the Eagles last year.
The Eagles lost six players to graduation last year.
They return enough players to make the Eagles look like the favorite from the Sunrise to lead the south in the state tournament.
The Eagles were 23-15 last year overall. They were 8-2 in the Sunrise and the second seed.
The Cowboys ended with a third-place finish in the Sunrise. Dave Soto the head coach led his team to a 21-11 overall record. They finished with a 5-5 league record. Soto is in his seventh season as the Cowboys head coach.
The team returns nine from last year including five starters. They also return four pitchers from last year which should make them a contender for the league title.
James Cobian a senior who was .333 from the plate was 3-1 on the mound last year. Jacob Mauro a senior hit .346. Robert O’Connor a senior hit .381 and drove home 21 runs last year. Antonio Vara a senior scored 22 times last year while Talon Green hit .405 and scored 31 times last year.
The Dragons were 11-15-1 overall last year and 2-8 in the Sunrise. But the Dragons return just three players from last years team. Thus they will be very young and inexperienced. Jorge Romero is starting his fifth season as head coach.
The Bulldogs have struggled the past few seasons finishing with a 14-15 record overall and a 4-6 league record. The positive thing about this season is they will return all but two from last years team.
The team leader Jayden Perkins returns for his senior season with a .500 batting average. He had 14 RBI’s and 28 stolen bases.
They will return every pitcher from last year including Dillian Fugua who was 6-3 with a 2.18 ERA. He gave up 18 earned runs striking out 69 and walking just 18 batters.
Cade Anderson returns with his 12 doubles and 16 RBI’s. He hit .377 last year.
Virgin Valley won’t be a push over this year as they figure to contend for the playoffs, making a deep run in the post season.
The Roadrunners were 2-8 in the Sunrise last year finishing in fifth place out of the regional tournament. They were 12-12 overall.
Head Coach Bill Stuber is in his 13th season with the Roadrunners.
They return eight from last year’s lineup, six of them starters.
Their strength will be their pitching this year as they return every pitcher from last season.
They did take a huge hit on the offensive players, though. Gabe Kermode was 6-5 last year with a 2.89 ERS and 58 strikeouts. Jose Leon as a freshman last year finished his varsity season with a 3.96 ERA. Drew Cole a Junior is the Roadrunners leading hitter returning from last years team. He hit .343 and scored 28 runs.
Last year the Desert Shields finished with a 2-18 overall record. They finished with a 1-9 league record and did not qualify for the playoffs. They were the fifth-place team in the Sunset last year.
Cheyenne will be returning just four from last years team including two starters: Zac Childress and Christopher Rose. They will have a young team this year that can do nothing but move up in the standings.
Three sophomores will join the varsity team and figure to see a lot of playing time as second year head coach Aaron Bailey tries to get a few more wins.
Ricky Earp is in his fourth season as the Jaguars head baseball coach.
Last year his Jaguars finished third in the Sunset with a 5-5 record. They won the tie breaker with Sunrise Mountain for the third seed in the regional tournament. They were 9-19-1 overall.
The Jaguars figure to be a contender for the Sunset title this year as they return eight of their nine starters from last years team. Juan Castaneda a senior, Steven Laureano a senior, Cesar Bailon a senior and Salvador Becerra also a senior are their four returning pitchers. This will be their final season in the 3A and they hope to leave the 3A with a title.
Castaneda hit .493 last year with three homeruns and 36 RBI. Bailon hit .308 with two home-runs and 16 RBI’s. Laureano hit .297.
The Rattlers were the second seed from the Sunset last year with a league record of 8-2. They finished with a 14-15-1 record overall. The Rattlers lost most of the team to graduation last year, ten overall.
The Trojans finished with a league record of 10-0 and the first seed in the regional tournament. They had an overall record of 22-13-1.
The Trojans will be a favorite for the southern regional champion as they return fifteen from last year’s team, seven of them were starters. Among the returners is Sunset MVP Garrett Lucas who hit .372 with 28 RBI’s and was 6-2 as a pitcher with a 1.63 ERA. Willie Lucas was 4-3 with a 3.47 ERA, he hit .359 with 10 doubles and 26 RBI’s.
The Miners qualified as the fourth-place team from the Sunset last year with a 5-5 league record. They finished with a 5-19 overall record.
Antonio Morales is in his fourth season as head coach with the Miners.
They will start this season with a new roster. The Miners lost everyone but two players to graduation. Outfielder Cecil Hall a senior and pitcher Brian Ruiz a junior return to lead the Miners. Ruiz finished with a batting average of .380 and was 4-3 as a pitcher with a 3.62 ERA.
The Miners will be young but hope to be in the hunt of a playoff spot come May.
The Warriors were 2-20 overall and 1-9 in league play last year. They lost five from last years team.
The Eagles finished with a 23-9 overall record and a first place 9-1 league record. The Eagles are the favorite this year as they return eight starters from last year and ten overall.
Bailey Bennet-Jordan, a senior, returns with a pitching record of 240 strikeouts. She hit .424 with 7 homeruns.
Marleena Mills, a junior, returns batting .434 with 3 homeruns and 54 RBI’s.
Jordan Moorhead hit .457 and had 13 RBI’s.
Ashley Wishard, a sophomore, returns for her second season with a .381 batting average, 2 home-runs and 29 RBI’s.
The Cowboys were fourth in the Sunrise last year with a 5-5 record. They were 14-10 overall. They return five from last years team, four of them were starters.
Losi Brown was .594 at the plate last year with 5 homeruns.
Fiona Togagne, a sophomore, hit .404 with 2 homeruns.
Fernanda Rivas, a junior, hit .358 last year.
They have a good core but will need a lot of help if they are hoping to return to the playoffs.
The Dragons were 2-8 in the Sunrise last year and 6-13 overall. They lost five from last years team.
The Bulldogs were 1-9 in league play last year and 10-19 overall. They lost just three from last years team and look to be much better as they will likely compete for a playoff spot.
The Roadrunners were 5-5 last year and 11-8 overall. They lost six from last year’s team.
The Desert Shield were 7-3 last year in league play, good enough for third place. They were 10-8 overall.
They return Madelyn Kennedy, a junior, who hit .559 with 27 RBI’s and pitched her team to 9 wins with a 3.81 ERA. She had 99 strikeouts for the season pitching 79 innings.
The Jaguars were 1-9 last year in league play and were 1-18 overall. They will return eight from last years team including seven starters.
The Rattlers were 7-3 in league play last year with a 14-7 overall record.
The Rattlers were eliminated by Moapa Valley in the regional tournament when the Pirates scored nine runs in the fifth inning to get the win.
The Trojans finished with a perfect 10-0 league record and the top seed from the Sunset. They were 26-11 overall as Eli Armendariz finished his sixth season as the head coach of the Trojans.
They will return seven girls from last years team including pitcher Amaya Mendoza, a senior; Skyler Lauver, a sophomore; Evandy Murphy, a senior; Kathy Niles, a senior; and Jackie Stobbe, a junior. The Trojans qualified for the state tournament last year.
The Miners finished with a 1-9 league record and were 1-18 overall last year. They will have some experience returning this year as eight starters came back.
Solangel Gamez, Christable Garner, Alyssa Guevara and Julia Miles, all juniors, will lead the team this year.
The Warriors were the fourth-place team from the Sunset with a record of 4-6 in league play and 6-13 overall last year. They will be young this year as they return just three starters from last year. Seniors Edna Madrid and Arianna Lawson; along with Alevis Cho, a junior willreturn to lead the Warriors.
Last year’s qualifying for the regional tournament was the first appearance in 25 years for the Warriors.