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Raiders gearing up for state tourney
by Dan Eckles
May 20, 2009 | 639 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Reed High softball coach Ray Charles probably feels like he just won a near decade-long battle of King of the Mountain. Charles’ Raiders have traditionally been among the best in northern Nevada, but regional titles have for the most part eluded Reed’s veteran skipper.

For years, Charles and his Raiders had to play second fiddle to Wooster’s

dominant teams. Then McQueen saw a run of success. The past two years have seen Reed’s cross-town rival Spanish Springs win back-to-back region and state titles. However, that streak came to an end last weekend when Reed battled back through the losers’ bracket and beat Spanish Springs twice on championship Saturday to capture the Northern 4A title and the North’s lone berth into this weekend’s state tournament.

“It’s amazing. It’s all of our dreams. We’ve worked so hard and gotten so close as a team. We’re all behind each other,” Reed senior Chelsea Cohen said after belting a game-winning walk-off homer. “It’s really a dream for all of us. To get this opportunity is amazing, and the feeling is indescribable.”

Reed (33-5) opens play in the 4A State Tournament against Sunset Region champion ShadowRidge at 4 p.m. Friday at Majestic Park in Las Vegas. The other first-round state game features Sunrise champion Foothill against Sunset runner-up Centennial, which won a play-in game Monday to keep its season alive. The winners of the first-round games play against each other at 6 p.m. as do the losers.

The Raiders will ride a bus down to Clark County Thursday. The trip starts at 8 a.m. Charles said his team will work out at Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas Thursday evening after its seven-hour bus ride.

“Long drives can be tough, but that’s why we’ll practice when we get there,” Charles said. “I’ll want to get them out and run them around, get them going a little bit.”

Reed played seven games in three days during last week’s regional tournament. One of those games went 10 innings and another took eight to decide a winner. Not surprisingly, the Raiders were a bit fatigued at the tourney’s conclusion.

“The kids have been pretty tired the last couple of days,” Charles said Wednesday. “Today was the first day I’ve seen them kind of have that energy back that we need to have.”

Reed players have received countless accolades in recent days. They’ll hear a few more if they can capture the school’s first state softball title since 1998. History is on the Raiders’ side. Only two southern Nevada schools — Clark in 1993 and Centennial in 2004 — have won a large school softball championship in the past 25 years.

Still, Charles said there is work to be done before his team can add itself to that North run of success.

“You can be overconfident. That can come into play and hurt you,” he said. “But I think we’ve got good senior leadership that keeps us from getting complacent. I think that will keep our kids working hard.”

Charles and his RHS squad got a surprise at their Wednesday afternoon practice. Most of the roster from Spanish Springs showed up to to give Reed players good luck gifts and wish them the best on their trip south.

“If that’s not the epitome of sportsmanship, I don’t know what is,” Charles said. “I don’t know exactly how many of them were here, but a good chunk of them. That kind of stuff needs to be recognized. That really represents class even more than sportsmanship. It’s nice to have that kind of support, not only in the North, but from our community. My kids and I are just excited to have that kind of support.”
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