Paul Buboltz saw what happened with last year’s American Legion state baseball champion.
The Desert Oasis Aces lost to the Southern Nevada Blue Sox, Basic’s summer persona, who went on to win the national championship. So the Aces coach thinks if Basic can do it, why can’t Desert Oasis? They’ll get the chance when they open the region tournament against California’s state champion at noon Wednesday in Denver.
“We’re trying to take it one step at a time, but, yeah, definitely we’re going up there to win,” Buboltz said. “We’re trying to get back to where Basic was last year. You look at them winning the whole thing last year, winning the regional, then wining the World Series, it makes you think it’s possible.”
The state championship is the second in three years for Desert Oasis. The Aces outscored opponents 61-18 in the state tournament, hit .446 and slugged .800 with nine home runs.
The team is comprised primarily of kids who play for Desert Oasis during the high school season, but it also received a boost from Rancho stars Edarian Williams and Jimmy Gamboa.
“I think this is the best team we’ve had so far,” Buboltz said. “To bring a couple of players of their caliber over to join our team has only made us better. Everybody is dialed in a little bit more and want it a little bit more.”
The region tournament pits Desert Oasis against the state champions from Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Utah, with an additional team from Colorado. The regional winner advances to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina, in late August.
Buboltz has gone to the region tournament once before, after winning state in 2016. The Aces went 0-2, but Buboltz called it a learning experience.
“Having some experience from once before has given me a little more insight into what to expect, and I can relay that to the kids,” Buboltz said. “That definitely helps.”
American Legion Western Regional
Game 1 — Albuquerque (N.M.) vs. League City (Texas), 9 a.m.
Game2 — Desert Oasis vs. Petaluma (Calif.), noon
Game 3 — Tucson (Ariz.) vs. Fort Collins (Colo.), 3 p.m.
Game 4 — Greeley (Colo.) vs. Pleasant Grove (Utah), 6 p.m.
Game 5 — Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 3, 9 a.m.
Game 6 — Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 4, noon
Game 7 — Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 3, 3 p.m.
Game 8 — Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 4, 6 p.m.
Game 9 — Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 7, 11 a.m.
Game 10 — Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 8, 2:30 p.m.
Game 11 — Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 6 p.m.
Game 12 — Winner Game 9 vs. Loser Game 11, 2 p.m.
Game 13 — Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 11, 6 p.m.
Game 14 — Winner Game 12 vs. Winner Game 13, 11 a.m.
Game 15 — Winner Game 14 vs. Loser Game 14, if necessary, 2:30 p.m.