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FIELDER’S CHOICES: Teams push for postseason

Look no further than spring sports season for the silver lining in our spring break coming to an end.

After spending my time away from the classroom hopping from one ballpark to the next the past six days, I’m going to miss these tournaments.

But now we can return to what really matters — league play — as teams push for the playoffs.

The postseason in baseball, softball, boys volleyball and swimming begins May 12. The track and field postseason opens May 6 and boys golf May 13.

Here’s my picks for the crucial week ahead:

Monday, April 13

Boys golf: Southeast League Meet at Anthem, noon

They’re probably not going to let me out of class to watch this one, so I’ll be brooding during a history lecture.

Speaking of history, look what Coronado is doing this season.

Led by freshman sensation A.J. McInerney, the Cougars are having a campaign for the ages.

They have convincing wins this season over solid teams like Green Valley (200-219), Centennial (185-199) and Bishop Gorman (191-209).

They have at least three players — McInerney, Tad Darland and Kevin Stratton — who are good enough to play in college.

If I could bet my entire baseball card collection (for more cards) on Coronado to win the Class 4A Sunrise Region, I’d do it. And yes, baseball cards are all I have to bet.

The pick: Coronado first, Green Valley second, Foothill third

Tuesday, April 14

Baseball: Cimarron-Memorial at Legacy, 3:30 p.m.; Del Sol at Green Valley, 3:30 p.m.

These are two league dandies I wish I could watch at the same time.

Is Legacy for real? I take the Longhorns seriously, but something tells me the Spartans are on another level.

As far as the Dragons and Gators are concerned, Del Sol is hot after a 5-0 showing at the Lions Tournament in San Diego, but what goes up must come down.

The Gators eventually will break out and play more like the team most people thought they’d be.

The picks: Cimarron by 3, Green Valley by 4

Softball: Needles (Calif.) at Boulder City, 3:30 p.m.

This is a slice of heaven for a small-school die-hard like me.

You get the two-time defending Class 2A state champion (Needles) against a team that has opened 16-2 and hasn’t lost since March 14 (Boulder City).

The Eagles have won 14 straight games for a reason, including an 11-2 win at Needles on March 31. I say more of the same.

The pick: Boulder City by 7

Boys volleyball: Cimarron-Memorial at Centennial, 5 p.m.

Both teams have opened 3-1 in the Northwest League, and this match should give a good indication as to what team will be a better challenger for Shadow Ridge.

When in doubt, go with the home team.

The pick: Centennial 3, Cimarron 2

Wednesday, April 15

Baseball: Durango at Sierra Vista, 3:30 p.m.

The Trailblazers are proving me foolish for sleeping on them in my league predictions.

There are rumblings that Durango pitcher Danny Reynolds is topping 95 mph on the radar gun this season and has scouts drooling. If he’s going, I like Durango. If not, I like Sierra Vista.

But Vista is tough in the Lions Den, and this one easily could go either way.

The pick: Durango by 1

Boys volleyball: Desert Pines at Rancho, 6 p.m.

OK, so the Jaguars fell short in their showdown against Las Vegas on April 1.

In fact, they weren’t even close, getting swept, 25-7, 25-8, 25-12.

But they get a second chance to make a statement against Rancho. Both teams are 3-1 in the Northeast League.

The pick: Desert Pines 3, Rancho 1

Boys golf: Northwest League Meet at Aliante, 12:30 p.m.

Though this league lacks the dominance of a team like Coronado, the competition is significantly better.

Centennial and Palo Verde have been only a few strokes apart all season in front of the pack, but Cheyenne, Mojave and Legacy could have something of a home-course advantage.

The pick: Centennial first, Palo Verde second, Arbor View third

Thursday, April 16

Baseball: Legacy at Palo Verde, 3:30 p.m.; Del Sol at Foothill, 3:30 p.m.

Talk about a tough week for Legacy. The Longhorns play two of the league’s top three teams in a span of three days. They are the other team.

It’s doubtful they can win both games, but I see them getting one here.

And raise your hand if you had Foothill in first place in the Southeast League after spring break.

The picks: Legacy by 2, Foothill by 4

Softball: Shadow Ridge at Cimarron-Memorial, 3:30 p.m.

The softball game we’ve been waiting for is here.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better pitching duel all season than Shadow Ridge’s Mandy Harmon against Cimarron’s Carrie Sheehan.

One run might be enough to win this one.

The pick: Cimarron by 1

Boys golf: Coronado vs. Palo Verde at Badlands, 3 p.m.

About as intriguing of a nonleague contest as you’ll see, but the Cougars are just too good.

The pick: Coronado by 15 strokes

Friday, April 17

Baseball: Indian Springs at Lake Mead, 2 p.m.

This might look like an attempt to add small-school flavor to the list, which it is.

But it’s also a matchup of what looks like the best team in the 1A Central League (Indian Springs) against the best in the 1A Southern League (Lake Mead).

Indian Springs has played a tougher schedule to this point, and the Thunderbirds will be ready.

The pick: Indian Springs by 5

Saturday, April 18

Baseball: Legacy at Durango, 7 p.m.

Everyone in my crew probably will be at the movies right about now, which is a shame considering the quality of baseball they’ll miss.

I’ll be under the lights staring in awe at what I like to call the Purple Monster.

The pick: Durango by 2

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