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FIELDER’S CHOICES: Are you ready for the last big week of the year?

This is such a big week in high school sports, I heard NevadaPreps.com is sending three guys to Reno.
 
Make it five if you count me and Eric (or is it ‘Eric and I?’ I never stayed awake that long in English), who will head north to escape the heat and hang out all day Saturday at Aces Park.
 
It could be a big week for area schools, too.
 
Can Bishop Gorman, Virgin Valley and Needles all repeat in baseball?
 
In softball, will Palo Verde be able to stop Spanish Springs from scoring 29 runs? Can Boulder City break through and earn rings?
 
How about both Henderson International teams going to state in what looks like the Wolverines’ final year?
 
It’ll be three fun, hectic days, and I can’t wait.
 
Since I’ve got 453 miles to think about the matchups, here are a few predictions. Let me know what you think, but remember to keep it clean and positive.
 
Oh, and keep an eye out next week for my 10 favorite stories of 2009-10.

BASEBALL
Class 4A
State champion: Bishop Gorman
 
Runner-up: Rancho
 
It’s closer than in past years, but the state title is still the Gaels’ to lose.
 
Reno is clearly the class of the North, but its losses to Sierra Vista and Green Valley signal that it’s not any better than the top teams here.
 
Rancho has the horses to win it, but the Rams absolutely cannot fall into the losers’ bracket to have a chance.
 
Class 3A
State champion: Virgin Valley
 
Runner-up: Truckee
 
Truckee’s body of work is impressive, and the North already won in football, boys basketball and girls basketball this year.
 
But I’ll side with the two-time defending state champs to break that streak and take one for all three 3A schools in the South.
 
Class 2A
State champion: Needles
 
Runner-up: Whittell
 
Needles has won the title two years in a row, and you know what? This year’s version is better than either of those teams.
 
Forget picking this year. I see the Mustangs as the prohibitive favorites to win state next year as well, unless they decide to stay in California for away games, too.
 
Class 1A
State champion: Pahranagat Valley
 
Runner-up: Henderson International
 
Don’t look now, but the Panthers are the favorite to complete the trifecta with state titles in football, boys basketball and baseball.
 
I’ve had trouble telling whether some of the 1A scores this season were eight-man football or baseball scores, but I anticipate better played games this weekend.
 
Ah, eight-man football. Can’t wait to see you again in August.

SOFTBALL
Class 4A
State champion: Spanish Springs
 
Runner-up: Palo Verde
 
Just so you can’t say I picked nothing but teams from the South to win.
 
The Cougars are the obvious choice, though. Really; when you’re 31-1 with three Division I signees, a team ERA of 0.24, have eight regulars batting north of .400 and have clubbed 24 home runs, I’d say you have a decent shot.

Class 3A
State champion: Boulder City
 
Runner-up: Spring Creek
 
The Eagles are set to exorcise the demons of last year’s disappointment and take their throne atop 3A — and hold it for at least the next two seasons.
 
Boulder City has the most complete team in the field, and it will show.
 
Class 2A
State champion: Lincoln County
 
Runner-up: Needles
 
I know, you’re asking how can I pick against the three-time defending state champs?
 
Easy: Lincoln County is 4-2 against Needles this season, including a victory in the Southern League title game. The Lynx aren’t intimidated.
 
That said, no one will be surprised if Needles repeats.
 
Class 1A
State champion: Henderson International
 
Runner-up: Lake Mead
 
Talk about going out with a bang. How about winning the school’s first state championship in the final season of the last year of the school?
 
That’s the opportunity in front of the Wolverines, who should run away with the title.
 

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