SMALL SCHOOLS: Boulder City softball steeled by the one that got away

Nearly a year has passed since Boulder City’s softball team left Faith Lutheran’s field in shock and heartbreak.
The Eagles had just dropped a doubleheader against Fernley when all they needed was a split to win the program’s first Class 3A state title since 1999.
Most puzzling was the fact that Boulder City committed seven errors in losing the winner-take-all finale, 9-1. But the Eagles returned all 14 players from that team, and the learning experience last year’s disappointment provided has not gone to waste.
“Last year we just went into state thinking, ‘This is fun; we’ve got this in the bag,’ ” Boulder City sophomore pitcher Karlee Koopman said. “But this year, we’ve really worked a lot harder. We have to take one game at a time and just go by that.”
Class 3A Southern League champion Boulder City (31-2) opens the four-team, double-elimination state tournament against North No. 3 seed Dayton (15-12) at noon Friday at Bishop Manogue.
Boulder City coach Bruce Reid said his team is ready to return to the big stage.
“Until you’ve been there, you don’t know what to expect,” Reid said of last year’s state tournament. “As a group, I think that was outstanding for us because we didn’t lose anybody. This group is ready for that. They know what they have to do.”
The Eagles scarcely have been challenged this season, sweeping their eight league games by a combined score of 96-12 before routing Virgin Valley 14-0 in the league tournament final.
Boulder City, though, also proved itself outside of league with wins over 4A Sunrise Region finalist Liberty and 1A Southern League champion Henderson International.
“It helps us a lot,” Koopman said of the nonleague slate. “We need that competition.”
Koopman has been the Eagles’ No. 1 pitcher all season, but the team also has a solid No. 2 option in senior Dylan Scott. That could prove key in a tournament setting.
“Dylan’s not a strikeout pitcher, but she puts the ball in play,” Reid said. “As long as we’re playing defense, I’ve got two pitchers I have a lot of faith in.”
The winner of the Boulder City-Dayton game will play either Lowry or Spring Creek at 4 p.m. Friday. The tournament concludes Saturday.
The 2A softball tournament begins Friday at Carson High with Needles (27-10) playing Pershing County (20-7) at 10 a.m. and Lincoln County (27-5) facing Battle Mountain (18-10) at noon.
The 1A softball tournament opens Friday at Bishop Manogue with Lake Mead (21-11-1) taking on Carlin (23-6) at 10 a.m. and Henderson International (27-4) playing Wells (17-13) at noon.
In 3A baseball, Virgin Valley (22-8) opens against Dayton (15-13) at 1 p.m. today at Wooster.
The 2A baseball tournament begins Friday at Carson High with The Meadows (17-11) playing Whittell (29-3) at 10 a.m. and Needles (21-7) taking on Battle Mountain (20-9) at 12:30 p.m.
The 1A baseball tournament starts today at Damonte Ranch with Pahranagat Valley (21-2) facing Mineral County (20-7) at 1 p.m. and Henderson International (19-12) playing Carlin (13-11-1) at 4 p.m.

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