Few will deny that Desert Oasis has been the best legion baseball team in the Las Vegas Gold Division this summer.
The Aces have rolled through their hectic schedule by beating nearly every team they have faced, including a two-game sweep of Bishop Gorman, en route to winning the league title.
But even with that distinction, the team isn’t fully satisfied.
“Our goal was to win the league, and we’ve accomplished that so far,” Desert Oasis coach Paul Buboltz said. “But we have other goals headed into the state tournament. We’ve got a couple guys back from college and most of our guys are juniors, so we’re feeling really good going in.”
Top-seeded Desert Oasis (20-2) faces No. 8 Silverado (8-14) at 8 p.m. Saturday at UNLV’s Wilson Stadium in the state American Legion tournament. The double-elimination event starts at 5 p.m. with No. 5 Rancho (11-11) taking on No. 4 Basic (13-9) in the opener.
The Aces, who are led by Jordyn Compehos’ .464 batting average and Alex Tafesh’s 50 RBIs, will be looking to dethrone two-time defending state champion Liberty.
The Patriots (18-4) were the only local team this season to beat Desert Oasis, winning twice in three games. They also knocked out the Aces in last season’s state tournament.
“It’s turned into a pretty good rivalry,” Buboltz said. “Both sides like playing each other because the games are pretty competitive and intense on both sides. You don’t find that a lot out here. We’ll most likely have to go through Liberty if we want to claim that title.”
For the second consecutive season, Desert Oasis combined with Sierra Vista to form one team. Caeden Marin, Bubba Almaguer, Chandler Smith and Dylan White were eligible to play for the Aces because of school zoning.
“It’s a numbers game,” Buboltz said. “We just decided to combine schools because of the lack of numbers. There are 16 guys on the roster for Gold and 15 on Silver. That’s a combination of schools. Without those numbers, we aren’t quite as competitive. It gives the kids a little bit of a change of pace. They like playing each other during the regular high school season and then joining forces in the summer.”
The winner of the Nevada tournament advances to the American Legion Western Regional Tournament, which is scheduled for Aug. 7-11 in Surprise, Ariz. The American Legion World Series, featuring the eight regional winners, takes place Aug. 16-20 in Shelby, N.C. Bishop Gorman won the 2008 World Series in Shelby.