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5A softball playoffs could come down to Mountain League powers

The Class 5A Mountain League can make the case for being the toughest softball league in Nevada.

The logjam at the top of the standings showed how difficult the race it was. Shadow Ridge, Coronado and Palo Verde tied for first place, and the teams all went 2-2 against one another.

Calculators were needed for the tiebreakers, which made Shadow Ridge the No. 1 seed, Palo Verde No. 2 and Coronado No. 3.

The 5A and 3A Southern Region playoffs begin Monday, and the 4A state playoffs begin Wednesday.

Here’s a breakdown of how the playoffs shape up:

Class 5A

League champions: Arbor View (Desert), Shadow Ridge (Mountain)

Co-favorites: Shadow Ridge and Palo Verde

Shadow Ridge and Palo Verde showed during the regular season they are a slight step ahead of the rest. They played a pair of close regular-season games. Shadow Ridge won the first meeting 3-1 on April 1, and Palo Verde won 3-0 on April 17.

Both teams are as deep as any in the state. Shadow Ridge is led by starter Josslin Law (9-4, 1.52 ERA), and Jimena Barraza, Jacobi Gledhill and Stevie Robison are all hitting .441 or better. Palo Verde is led by Mya Bartlett (.544) and Taylor Johns (.448) at the plate and starter Bradi Odom (1.83 ERA) in the circle.

Dark horse: Centennial

Centennial, last year’s state runner-up, might be in store for another state tournament run. The Bulldogs enter the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak. While the Bulldogs have some returners from last year’s team, they have relied on several freshmen, including Sloane Merrell, who is 11-2 with a 1.75 ERA and leads the team with six home runs and 30 RBIs.

Potential first-round upset: No. 4M Centennial over No. 1D Arbor View

The teams split their regular-season meetings, as Arbor View won 5-2 on March 5 and Centennial won 6-1 on March 26. During the Bulldogs’ recent winning streak, they have picked up wins against the top three teams in the tougher Mountain League to earn their playoff spot. That recent run of playing in playoff-type games to clinch their postseason spot will give the Bulldogs an edge.

Class 4A

League champions: Rancho (Desert), Desert Oasis (Mountain), Basic (Sky)

The favorite: Basic

Basic is rolling into the playoffs on an 18-game winning streak. Only six games have been decided by seven or fewer runs. The Wolves were 10-0 in Sky League play, and their only losses have come to 5A or out-of-state opponents.

Halley Redd leads Basic, hitting .603. Mia Frias is 8-2 with a 2.69 ERA, and Melanie Hughes is 8-3 with a 2.62 ERA. Frias leads the Wolves with 40 RBIs and is hitting .463.

Dark horse: Sierra Vista

Two of Basic’s closest calls in league play came against Sierra Vista. Basic escaped 7-5 on April 8 and 9-7 on April 23. Those two defeats are Sierra Vista’s only losses to 4A opponents since March 28.

Potential first-round upset: No. 4S Doral Academy over No. 3D Legacy

Doral Academy won both regular-season matchups against Legacy, 14-6 on March 6 and 8-7 on March 28. The Dragons battled through the tougher Sky League with Basic and Sierra Vista, and have an edge on the mound with starter Jenna Becker, who is 12-4 with a 1.97 ERA.

Class 3A

League champions: Virgin Valley (Desert), Boulder City (Mountain)

Co-favorites: Boulder City and Virgin Valley

Boulder City is the only team to defeat Virgin Valley, with the Eagles claiming a 4-2 road win April 16. A second meeting will be just a close.

Otherwise, Virgin Valley has rolled through its 3A competition. The Bulldogs have compiled a 28-1-1 record and are outscoring opponents 490-80.

Dark horse: Pahrump Valley

The Trojans won at Boulder City 2-0 on April 5, handing the Eagles their only loss of league play. The second meeting saw Boulder City escape with a 5-3 win.

Potential first-round upset: None

Virgin Valley, Boulder City, Pahrump Valley and Moapa Valley were all a step above their competition and should roll in their opening-round games.

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

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