The winter sports season officially came to an end Saturday so now it’s time to take the action outdoors, for the most part.
This week marks the first full week of play for the five spring sports: baseball, softball, tennis, track and field and boys volleyball.
There was plenty of baseball and softball action at two local tournaments last week but both were cut short with Saturday’s wintry weather. That shouldn’t be a problem this week; forecasts are for mostly sunny skies and temperatures are expected to be in the lower 80s by Thursday.
Here are four things to watch this week as we transition into a new season:
Softball: Two of the top teams to watch in Southern Arizona this season are Canyon del Oro and Cienega. Coincidentally, the two local powers open the regular season against each other Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Cienega. The Dorados have won five titles in the last seven years while Cienega won the 4A-I championship in 2010 but lost in the state finals to CDO in both 2009 and 2011.
Girls tennis: Catalina Foothills, last spring’s Division II state champion, will kick off its season Tuesday at home with a solid test against Nogales, a state quarterfinalist last season. Foothills junior Kirtana Bhat will likely assume a bigger leadership role on the team now that her older sister, Rachana, is playing for New Mexico.
Baseball: Sahuaro and Canyon del Oro were both semifinalists in last week’s Ideal Physical Therapy Cowboy Up Classic. There was a chance they could have met in the championship game until rain cut the event short.
However, the two state tournament teams from a year ago will get a chance to square off Thursday at 4 p.m. in what could be one of the biggest games this season. It could be especially true if Sahuaro star left-hander Alex Verdugo makes his first start of the year.
Boys volleyball: There are 16 teams, all from Southern Arizona, registered for the annual two-day TUSD Invitational at Cholla High School. Among them is Catalina Foothills, which won the event last year. Action will be going all day Friday and the championship match will be sometime Saturday afternoon.