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Baseball season preview: Nationally ranked Gorman, Basic battle early

Updated February 28, 2024 - 5:42 pm

Many high school baseball teams across Southern Nevada will wait until the weekend or the following week to start their new seasons.

Bishop Gorman and Basic won’t be waiting around.

The last two Class 5A state champions and early season favorites for this year’s title will face off at 6 p.m. Thursday at Gorman on the first day allowed for spring sports competition.

Gorman is ranked No. 8 nationally by MaxPreps, and Basic is No. 14.

“It’s the way we’ve built our schedule. We try to play the best,” Gorman coach Chris Sheff said. “We open with another nationally ranked club in Basic, and it’ll be a challenge. They’re very talented, and we expect a tough game.”

Basic defeated Gorman four times in the postseason to win the title in 2022. Gorman won the title last year and defeated Basic 1-0 in nine innings in the teams’ lone meeting in the regular season.

“I would hope that we were both in it at the end (for the state title), but it’s great for the kids and great for both programs,” Basic coach Scott Baker said. “Both of us are nationally ranked. It’s a really good test right off the bat to see where both teams are at.”

Gorman graduated 20 seniors from last year’s team that won the school’s first baseball state title since 2015.

“That target’s on our back because we are the defending state champions,” Sheff said. “From our side of it, our chemistry and the way we go about our business — and we talked about what we’re trying to accomplish — those things will help these young guys figure it out.”

Among notable returners for Gorman are catcher and Oregon commit Burke Mabeus and shortstop and Southern California commit Maddox Riske. Junior right-hander and Louisiana State commit James Whitaker will lead the Gaels’ pitching staff.

“We’ll have to lean on our returners that made us successful last year,” Sheff said. “(Mabeus) will have to be as good as he was last year for us to be successful. He’s our team leader. As he goes, we go. I would expect our guys that are returning to be a big part in helping us get to the next step.”

Basic lost on the first day of last year’s Southern Region playoffs and fell to eventual state runner-up Desert Oasis in an elimination game with the South’s second spot in the state tournament on the line.

“That was kind of a humbler for everybody, including myself,” Baker said. “Our goal is to always get to state and give us a chance. It’s a huge motivation for us to get back there after not making it last year.”

Baker said this year’s team will have a few freshmen who will contribute and six underclassmen in the lineup, including sophomore returning starters Andruw Giles, Randall Riley and Lyndon Lee.

The Southisene brothers —seniors Ty and Tee, junior Tate and sophomore Troy — are also notable returners for Basic.

“Anytime you have four players of that type of caliber, you’re going to be in most games just with those four guys alone,” Baker said. “They bring so much to the team as far as leadership and experience. Their talent level is through the roof.”

Basic will face tough competition from Green Valley and Centennial in the 5A Mountain League. In the 5A Desert League, Desert Oasis, which gave Gorman one of its two losses last year, will be in contention for the title.

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

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