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Bryce Harper, CSN set sights on national title

By adding slugging catcher Bryce Harper to the roster, the College of Southern Nevada welcomed arguably the nation’s top prospect. It also has a baseball team that’s proving worthy of its No. 1 ranking.

The Coyotes depart at 6 a.m. Thursday for a 10-hour bus ride to Twin Falls, Idaho, where they will open Scenic West Athletic Conference play with doubleheaders Friday and Saturday against the College of Southern Idaho.

After a 40-game conference schedule, CSN coach Tim Chambers is planning on the journey continuing to Grand Junction, Colo., for the NJCAA World Series in late May.

The Coyotes are seeking their first national championship since 2003, and Harper has helped make that goal attainable.

"Bryce is a really good player, but we have a lot of good players," Chambers said. "If we didn’t have so many talented players, he probably wouldn’t have the success he’s having right now.

"I’m a little disappointed that we’re 13-3. Hopefully that doesn’t sound arrogant. Baseball is baseball, and you’re going to get beat. I like our chances. I think we’ve got a chance to be special."

Harper is batting .356 with team highs of four home runs and 18 RBIs. He left Las Vegas High School after his sophomore year and became eligible in the fall, and he’s among several local players at CSN.

Ryan Thomas and Trent Cook are leading the team with batting averages of .394 and .393. Trevor Kirk (Silverado), Scott Dysinger (Bishop Gorman) and Marvin Campbell (Las Vegas High) surround Harper in the lineup. Campbell has three homers and 17 RBIs.

Chambers praised the depth of his pitching staff, which includes starters Bryan Harper (4-0, 0.96 ERA), Kenny McDowall (Spring Valley), Joe Robinson (Green Valley), Chasen Shreve (Bonanza) and Donn Roach and closers Aaron Kurcz and Tyler Hanks.

"I don’t have to be the hero on this team," Bryce Harper said. "Our whole lineup is good. We have a great club, and we work hard every day. We don’t come out here and lollygag.

"Everybody expects us to win, and we expect ourselves to win every game. But that’s not baseball. The New York Yankees go 104-56 and lose some, but it doesn’t matter as long as they win the World Series. As long we have that ring at the end of the year, who cares?"

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907.

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