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Las Vegas Ballpark expands role as state tournament site

It has been three years since state high school baseball tournaments were last played. But if any infielders who outlasted COVID are still around, they won’t have to worry about a bad hop on an unkempt playing field deciding who wins this year.

Nevada’s first 5A state tournament will be contested at Las Vegas Ballpark, home of the Pacific Coast League’s Aviators, and similarly well-groomed Morse Stadium on the College of Southern Nevada campus in Henderson May 19 to 21.

The 4A event is set for host sites, Las Vegas Ballpark, CSN and Bishop Gorman, and will run May 11 to 21. The smaller 2A schools will get to play on the manicured fields, too, with their state tournament running May 19 to 21 at Las Vegas Ballpark, CSN and Gorman.

“All three classes, 14 teams, are going to have the opportunity to play in Las Vegas Ballpark and we’re thrilled about that,” Nevada Interscholastic Activities spokesman Bartt Davis said of a continuing trend after Allegiant Stadium and the Raiders hosted most of last year’s state championship football games.

“It’s certainly something we’re trying to build on with the professional teams in the state, with our Division I universities and CSN also,” Davis said. “They have fabulous facilities. We’d just like our kids to have the opportunity to say ‘I did that, I played there.’ ”

Davis said Las Vegas Ballpark approached the NIAA about expanding its role after hosting the latter rounds of the 4A tournament in 2019 before the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled by the pandemic.

“They reached out and said we’d love to have you back. We came up with a schedule where we can go in there four days and Las Vegas Ballpark is absorbing quite a bit of the up-front costs,” said Davis, who added that CSN and Bishop Gorman were just as accommodating.

“To have partners like that is just amazing. Ideally, we’d love to have the top-notch facilities for everybody to play in and we’re getting there.”

Around the horn

— In other NIAA news, McQueen’s Robby Snelling set a state record for strikeouts in a seven-inning game by fanning 20 Spanish Springs batters in a 6-2 win Monday. The left-handed Louisiana State commit allowed three hits, struck out 20 of 25 batters and threw 100 pitches (the last at 95 mph) with more than a dozen MLB scouts on hand.

The previous record of 19 strikeouts in a seven-inning game was shared by Charlie Brown (Las Vegas vs. Boulder City, 1967) and former NFL defensive end Shawn Price (North Tahoe vs. Virginia City, 1986).

— Good problem to have: While there were 250,000 ticket requests for next week’s inaugural Formula One Miami Grand Prix at Hard Rock Stadium. there is only room for 80,000 in the grandstands (with the cheapest race day ticket going for $600). F1 will race down the Las Vegas Strip in November 2023, and now you know why.

— Former Centennial High and Arizona standout Sam Thomas made all three of her field-goal attempts and scored nine points in 27 minutes Thursday in the Phoenix Mercury’s 82-78 loss to the Seattle Storm in a WNBA preseason game.

— Phillies manager Joe Girardi had sage advice for former Desert Oasis and UNLV star Bryson Stott upon sending him down to Triple-A after a slow start (four hits in 30 at-bats, 0 for his last 18, 10 strikeouts).

“Basically, I told him don’t do what I did,” Girardi told Philadelphia baseball writers, recalling when he was sent down by the Cubs as a rookie in 1989. “Don’t go down and pout. Go down and play in case something happens. You know how quickly things can happen in this game.”

Stott, an infielder, apparently took the advice to heart, homering for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in a Friday night win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

0:01

And so, sadly, it had come to this, per a post on Thursday on the Golden Knights’ Twitter account before Friday night’s meaningless season finale against the Blues in St. Louis: “Reno fans — we invite you to our Watch Party at the Grand Sierra tomorrow at 5 p.m.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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