While the winter sports season was coming to an end Saturday, the Ironwood Ridge baseball team was getting its season off to a good start.

The Nighthawks completed an undefeated run through the 17-team Cowboy Up Classic with an 8-7 walk-off win over Mountain View in 11 innings at Kino Sports Complex.

If that's any sort of preview of the spring sports season, the next few months are going to be pretty exciting.

Here are three things to watch in this first full week of the new season:


• Softball: Canyon del Oro hosts Ironwood Ridge at 4 p.m., in a rematch of last year's Division II state tournament games.

Last season, the Nighthawks knocked Canyon del Oro from the winners' bracket in the state quarterfinals. But, two days later, the Dorados beat Ironwood Ridge 11-6 in the consolation state semifinals to advance to the state championship.

The two-time defending state champion Dorados are coming off a second-place finish in the Dorado Classic this weekend.


• Baseball: A dozen teams will be playing at three different sites over four days in the Panther Invitational.

The first three days will be made up of pool play at Amphitheater and Flowing Wells starting at 4 p.m., 1 p.m. and 10 a.m., respectively. Palo Verde will host a game at 3:15 p.m., Thursday and 10 a.m., Saturday.

The semifinals are set for Saturday afternoon at Amphi with the championship scheduled for 7 p.m.

Amphi, Santa Rita, Douglas, Sierra Vista Buena, Palo Verde, Flowing Wells and Pueblo are the local teams in the field.


• Boys volleyball: Cholla is hosting the TUSD Invitational, starting a day of pool play at 3 p.m., Friday.

The tournament will resume Saturday at 9 a.m. with bracket play. The championship is scheduled for 2 p.m.

The 16 participating teams are Sahuaro, Tucson, Rincon/University, Catalina Foothills, Catalina, Cienega, Canyon del Oro, Marana, Desert View, Amphitheater, Palo Verde, Desert Christian, Pueblo, Flowing Wells, Sunnyside and Sabino.

Contact reporter Daniel Gaona at dgaona@azstarnet.com or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13.