Preview: Bradshaw Mountain nabs 3-seed in 4A state playoffs
PRESCOTT VALLEY — The 4A No. 3-seeded Bradshaw Mountain softball team will not only play host to a first-round game in the 16-team 4A state tournament at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, on its campus field.
The Grand Canyon region champion Bears, who learned their playoff seeding from the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) April 25, are set to face a familiar opponent in Grand Canyon region foe and No. 14 seed Flagstaff.
And, if they win, the Bears will host a second-round contest versus the winner of a first-round game pitting No. 11 Desert Edge vs. No. 6 Canyon del Oro, a state stalwart that captured a 4A crown in 2017, at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 2. The eight first-round winners will qualify for the double-elimination part of the tournament.
In other words, garnering a Top 8 seed can have its privileges.
However, Bradshaw Mountain coach Sharon Haese, who led the Bears to back-to-back 3A state titles in 1996 and 1997, knows that her 2019 squad will have a big, red target on its back as a state championship contender. The Bears sported a 31-1 record this season, with their lone loss coming March 26 at region rival Mingus by a 3-2 score.
“We are excited that we put ourselves in a good position to compete at state,” Haese said. “But as you know, everyone comes in with a 0-0 record. It’s an even playing field for all of the teams, regardless of your seed.”
The Bears last reached the state title game in 2006 as a member of the former Division II. Under then-coach Joe Cappelli, they finished as D-II runner-up to Arcadia with a 32-6 record that year.
This season, Bradshaw Mountain convincingly swept its annual two-game region series with Flagstaff (10-8), winning 10-2 March 5 at home and 15-1 in six innings on the road April 13.
“Any time you play a team for the third time during the season, it will come down to who makes the quickest adjustments, takes advantage of opportunities, and makes the least amount of mistakes,” Haese said. “We have prepared very well this week and I’m confident my players will compete.”
Both Mayer and Bagdad qualified for the 1A state softball tournament on Thursday – and they will lock horns in the first round.
No. 9 seed Mayer (11-6 record in power-point games) is scheduled to battle No. 8 Bagdad (14-4) at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 27, on Field 5 of the Rose Mofford Complex in Phoenix. The winner advances to the quarterfinals of the 16-team, single-elimination tournament at 6 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the Rose Mofford Complex.
Neither of these Yavapai County teams met this season.
The Mayer-Bagdad winner takes on the victor of the No. 1 Ray-No. 16 Red Mesa game in the quarters.
Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at email@example.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.
4A State Softball Tournament
April 30 & May 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 14
First Round Only
Tuesday, April 30
#9 Gila Ridge at #8 Douglas, 4 p.m.
#12 Vista Grande at #5 Coconino, 4 p.m.
#13 Sahuaro at #4 Mingus Union, 4 p.m.
#16 Combs at #1 Salpointe Catholic, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, April 30
#15 Seton Catholic Prep at #2 Cactus, 4 p.m.
#10 Casa Grande at #7 Poston Butte, 4 p.m.
#11 Desert Edge at #6 Canyon del Oro, 4 p.m.
#14 Flagstaff at #3 Bradshaw Mountain, 4 p.m.
1A State Softball Tournament
April 27 & May 3, 4 and 6
First Round Only
Saturday, April 27
Rose Mofford Complex
#16 Red Mesa vs. #1 Ray, 9 a.m. (Field 1)
#9 Mayer vs. #8 Bagdad, 9 a.m. (Field 5)
#12 Hayden vs. #5 St. Michael, 11 a.m. (Field 5)
#13 Baboquivari vs. #4 Williams, 9 a.m. (Field 4)
#14 Joseph City vs. #3 Superior, 9 a.m. (Field 3)
#11 Mohave Accelerated vs. #6 Valley Union, 11 a.m.
#10 Fort Thomas vs. #7 Mogollon (Field 6), 9 a.m.
#15 Duncan vs. #2 St. David (Field 2), 9 a.m.