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Baseball preview: Basic, Gorman enter as favorites for 5A title

This year’s Basic baseball team will look a bit different.

The Wolves graduated 17 seniors from last year’s Class 5A state championship team, but they still enter the season as one of the favorites to win the title.

Schools across Southern Nevada begin the baseball season with a full week of play starting Monday.

Basic lost several key starters, including 5A Desert League Player of the Year Chase Ditmar. But several underclassmen are expected to build upon the success from last season to fill the void.

Now a senior, infielder Cooper Sheff returns for Basic after hitting .438 and driving in 42 runs. Sophomore Tate Southisene and junior Ty Southisene are expected to help lead the Wolves’ offense, while senior Ben Smith returns to lead them on the mound.

Basic’s biggest threat to its repeat bid is Bishop Gorman. In last year’s Southern League playoffs, the Gaels defeated Basic to advance to the championship game. Basic had to win an elimination game against Palo Verde and defeat Gorman twice to claim the Southern League title.

In the state tournament, Basic defeated Gorman twice to claim the school’s seventh title.

At Gorman, Chris Sheff returns for his second stint as coach after leading the Gaels to five consecutive state titles (2006-2010).

Just like Basic, Gorman graduated several key seniors, including two starting pitchers — Tyler Avery and 5A Mountain League Pitcher of the Year Lucas Boesen — and 5A Mountain League Player of the Year Justin Crawford, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round of the 2022 MLB draft.

The Gaels feature 12 seniors on their roster, including Easton Shelton, who led the team in home runs (12) and was second in RBIs (50).

Basic opened up the regular season with an 8-0 win over Durango on Friday. Bishop Gorman defeated Faith Lutheran 9-1 in its season opener Thursday.

In 4A, Shadow Ridge enters as the reigning state champion. But the Mustangs have a new coach, Travis Juneman, after Dan Thomas was dismissed from the school last month.

Thomas’ dismissal came to light after he and parents of players spoke at a recent CCSD board meeting.

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

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