In second season, Arbor View joins elite teams

Seeing Green Valley and Bishop Gorman in the bracket for the Class 4A state baseball tournament should be no surprise.

The Gators have won eight state titles since 1993, and Gorman lost just two seniors from last year’s state championship team.

Southern Nevada’s other entrant in the tournament doesn’t have such a resume. But that’s mostly because Arbor View is competing in only its second season.

The Aggies (23-10) will play Green Valley (25-10) in the first round at 6 p.m. today at the Community College of Southern Nevada. Gorman (32-6-1) will play Northern Regional champ Galena (33-2) at 3 in the first game.

"It’s real exciting," Arbor View shortstop Michael Blazek said. "The first state appearance for a second-year school — it’s not every day."

It’s not necessarily what this group expected when it came together last spring. Center fielder Robbie Garvey, who transferred from Centennial, said he didn’t know any of his new teammates.

"Coming here, I didn’t think we would do anything significant like this," Garvey said. "To me, it’s amazing. I’m thankful."

Blazek looks at Green Valley’s tradition and sees what he hopes the Aggies can become.

"We want to be a team that everybody knows and is feared every year," Blazek said. "We want to be one of the top teams in the state every year."

Green Valley beat Arbor View 9-0 this season, but that was more than two months ago. Aggies coach Gary White said he hopes his team concentrates on playing the game and not on the opponent.

"We can’t be really concerned about Green Valley; we have to be concerned about playing against the game," White said.

Green Valley has won 14 of 15 games to close the season with a flourish.

"We sort of challenged the kids halfway through league," Green Valley coach Nick Garritano said. "We were in fifth place and outside looking in for the playoff picture. We had one slip-up against Basic, but besides that we’ve won a lot of baseball games in a row."

Gorman entered the season with lofty expectations. The Gaels appeared in several national rankings and looked to be the obvious team to beat.

Things didn’t go as smoothly as some expected, as Gorman finished second in the Southwest Division. But the Gaels closed the season by winning the Sunset Regional and appear poised to make another run at state.

"It’s what we’ve been working on since we won," Gorman’s Paul Sewald said. "We’ve been working on back to back. One’s not good enough. We want another one."

Gorman coach Chris Sheff expects a good challenge from Galena, which won Northern Regional titles in football, basketball and baseball this school year.

"They’re a good club," Sheff said. "They swung the bats well. We opened up with them last year the first game at state. They return most of their team. We’re in for a dogfight."

The Gaels have superior pitching depth. Taylor Cole, considered the team’s No. 1 pitcher by Sheff, threw only 1 2/3 innings of relief in the regional. Sheff said Cole probably will start today.

"They weren’t taxed," Sheff said of the staff. "Our arms will be rested and ready to go."

Sheff hopes his team takes advantage of the opportunity and doesn’t expect an easy time.

"We talked from Day One that this wasn’t going to be an easy path and there was going to be a lot of challenges," Sheff said. "And we’ve had a lot of challenges, and I think they responded and played some of their best baseball in the regionals.

"It’s a great opportunity to defend what they did last year and show everybody that we’re still that type of club."

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