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5A softball teams seeking edge with playoffs approaching

If there’s any question about how tough the Class 5A softball Mountain League is, just look at the standings.

Coronado (11-3), Palo Verde (14-5) and Shadow Ridge (13-5) are tied for first place at 4-2 in the league with two weeks remaining in the regular season, and Centennial (17-9-1, 1-4) and Liberty (9-6, 1-4) are tied for fourth.

Only four can make the Southern Region playoffs, but any one of the five can make a strong case as a contender to qualify for next month’s state tournament.

“It’s very tough,” Shadow Ridge coach Julia Meyn said. “This is probably the toughest league, and all the coaches have agreed with that.”

Shadow Ridge, which entered the week No. 2 in the Review-Journal’s Class 5A rankings, split its two games against its Mountain League rivals. The Mustangs were blanked by Palo Verde 3-0 on Wednesday and then responded with an 11-2 rout of No. 1 Coronado on Friday.

“We are playing one game at a time. That’s all we can do,” Meyn said. “One game at a time. One pitch at a time. … That’s our focus.”

Coronado defeated Shadow Ridge 5-4 on April 3 and beat Palo Verde 7-4 on April 15. Palo Verde hosts Coronado on April 30.

The race in the 5A Desert League is just as close. Arbor View (9-13, 4-1) has a half-game lead over Green Valley (9-7, 4-2). Faith Lutheran (7-11, 3-3) and Bishop Gorman (8-15-1, 2-3) are separated by a half-game for third.

Arbor View and Green Valley have beaten some of the Mountain League’s top teams. Arbor View defeated Centennial and Palo Verde in March, and Green Valley defeated Palo Verde in two nonleague games.

Arbor View defeated Green Valley 15-4 on April 11. The teams play again Wednesday at Arbor View.

Meyn said everyone getting multiple looks at one another before the postseason can help the top teams get ready to make a run come playoff time.

“I think it’s going to make every team have an edge,” Meyn said. “I think there’s gonna be a heck of a regional championship and a heck of a state championship.”

Whichever teams earn the South’s two spots in the state tournament will face a tough task against reigning state champion Douglas. Douglas is undefeated in 5A Northern League play and is outscoring league opponents 101-6.

In 4A, Rancho (Desert League) and Basic (Sky League) are atop their divisions. Rancho has a two-game lead over Cimarron-Memorial and Legacy, while Basic is a game up on Sierra Vista. Basic hosts Sierra Vista on Tuesday.

Desert Oasis and Tech are tied for first in the Mountain League. Tech hosts Desert Oasis on April 29.

Virgin Valley can wrap up the 3A Desert League title with a win at second-place Moapa Valley on Tuesday. Pahrump Valley has a half-game lead over Boulder City in the win column in the Mountain League. The teams play Tuesday at Pahrump Valley.

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on X.

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