Pick of the Preps

Pick of the Preps: State tournaments kick back into gear

2014-05-05T00:00:00Z Pick of the Preps: State tournaments kick back into gearBy Daniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The first state champions of the spring were crowned over the weekend but there are still several trophies and medals to be collected.

A bulk of them will be claimed this week.

Tennis team tournaments resume Tuesday and wrap up in Glendale on Saturday, the same day the state championship track meets in Mesa conclude. On top of that, the first two rounds of the boys volleyball playoffs will be that day.

There will also be plenty of baseball and softball action throughout the week, especially Tuesday with second-round games for Division II teams.

Here’s a look at six things to watch leading up to another super Saturday:

TUESDAY

Softball: At least three Division II softball teams from Southern Arizona will advance to Thursday’s third round at Rose Mofford Sports Complex and likely more. Local squads went 5 for 5 on Saturday in the first round, including No. 18 Salpointe Catholic which traveled nearly 700 total miles to knock off Bullhead City Mohave. The Lancers (15-9) have won five straight games and, on Tuesday, will play at second-seeded Cienega, which they lost to 8-6 on March 20.

Boys volleyball: Cienega is a lock to qualify for the state tournament and should hold on to be one of the eight host sites for the first two rounds of the state tournament on Saturday. The fourth-ranked Bobcats close out the regular season Tuesday with a match against No. 22 Sierra Vista Buena at 6 p.m. and could lock up a top-eight seed and first-round bye with a win.

WEDNESDAY

Baseball: Fourth-seeded Nogales will go for its seventh straight win when it hosts No. 20 Gilbert Campo Verde on Tuesday in the second round of the Division II state playoffs. As long as the Apaches get past the Coyotes, they’ll play again Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Diablo Stadium in Tempe in the third round, which begins double-elimination. Nogales (23-5) reached the quarterfinals last year before being eliminated in the losers bracket.

Girls tennis: Catalina Foothills junior Kirtana Bhat will return to action for the first time since winning her singles championship Saturday when the No. 2 Falcons host seventh-seeded Prescott in the Division II state quarterfinals on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Foothills, last year’s team champion, is trying to reach the state finals for the sixth straight season. If the Falcons advance to Friday’a semifinals, they could meet No. 4 Ironwood Ridge, the same team they beat in the championship round last year.

FRIDAY

Baseball: Desert Christian and Pusch Ridge Christian are the No. 1 and 2 seeds in the Division IV state playoffs and both will play their first tournament game Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Eagles, last year’s state champion, will play No. 16 Bagdad at Goodyear Baseball Complex while Pusch Ridge goes against No. 18 Chandler Prep. The rivals went a combined 36-2 in regular-season games.

Boys tennis: Ironwood Ridge, last year’s Division II state champion, hosts fifth-seeded Nogales in Tuesday’s state quarterfinals. The winner moves on the Friday’s semifinal round at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale. The No. 4 Nighthawks, led by junior Ryan Knox who reached the singles quarterfinals this spring, beat Nogales 8-1 on March 26. However, the Apaches have gone 9-1 since then with their lone loss coming against Salpointe Catholic, the No. 2 seed.

Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at dgaona@azstarnet.com or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13

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