Northern 4A playoff picture still a big cloudy
May 2, 2002
After Carson swept all three games from North Valleys to start the Sierra League season, coach Ron McNutt said the Panthers would surprise somebody this season. They surprised not once–but twice. Scott Cousins pitched North Valleys to win over Douglas and it didn’t even need Cousin to beat Wooster.
“I wish he would have pitched against them,” said Douglas coach Hal Wheeler about the Wooster game. “That way, they might have won again and we could have a chance at second.”
Well, that might still happen, but the Tigers need a lot of help. One thing is for sure, though. There will be lots of reshuffling in the standings between tonight’s 7 p.m. game at Ron McNutt Field between Carson and Reno and by Saturday, when the regular season ends.
If the Senators (11-4) sweep the Huskies (12-1), the two teams will tie for the Sierra League Championship. Carson would get the No. 1 seed at the Northern 4A Regional Tournament because of its sweep of Reno. If the Senators lose once to the Huskies, they finish in second and the Huskies win the league title. If Carson loses twice, it would finish in fourth place, assuming Douglas (9-6) and Wooster (9-6) sweep its three-game series against South Tahoe and Hug, respectively, the two worst teams in the league.
If the Tigers and Colts both finish 12-6, which they should, Wooster would get the higher seed because it won two of three games against Douglas in the regular season. If the Senators tie with either the Tigers or Colts in the final standings, they would lose both tie breakers because they lost two out of three to both teams.
Confused yet? Don’t be.
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Even with its hiccup against North Valleys, a first year school, Wheeler thinks it doesn’t matter unless his team, or any team for that matter, is the No. 1 seed playing the No. 4 seed from the High Desert League, which should be the weakest of the eight teams.
“Everybody is so equal and it’s all going to matter who is playing well at the right time,” Wheeler said. “We’ve played Reed, McQueen and Galena. I don’t think Reed has as many pitchers but they might hit better than the others. I just think there is so much parity.”
If Reno finishes in first, it would have the easiest first round game, most likely against Elko. Of course, the Huskies must take care of the Senators, which they probably should.
“They’ve had a great season and are playing good,” McNutt said of the Huskies. “But I think we’re playing pretty well, too. It’s nothing to be ashamed of if you don’t finish in first. You can go 17-1 but if you don’t play well at the zone tournament, you’re going to be sitting at home. I’ve seen good teams stumble before.”
McQueen (13-2) appears to heading for the High Desert League Championship, unless it’s swept by Elko this week and both Galena (11-3) and Reed (11-4) sweep Sparks and Fallon, respectively. The Greenwave (6-9) still have a shot at the No. 4 seed if they sweep Reed and Elko is swept by the Lancers and also lose to Galena on Friday in Reno.
Really, though, it’s such a logjam among the top seven teams that only time will sort everything out. Both Wheeler and McNutt also agree that it would be impossible to predict which two teams from the Northern 4A will advance to the state tournament.
“I don’t think there isn’t anybody better than us, if we’re playing our game,” Wheeler said. “A lot of teams could also say that. The big thing for us is going to be our consistency. Hopefully in the zone tournament, we’ll be peaking.”
North Valleys 7-11
South Tahoe 1-12
High Desert League
Spanish Springs 0-18
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