Zone questions linger

With just hours remaining before the scheduled first pitch of the Northern 4A Zone baseball tournament at Carson High, the tournament's participating teams are still up in the air. The biggest question mark surrounds whether Sparks or Galena will take to McNutt Field during the tournament.

Some clarity to this issue should occur this morning. District Court Judge Connie Steinheimer will decide whether to issue an injuction blocking an Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association appeal ruling that left Sparks High out of the playoffs. The court procedings begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Reno courthouse.

However, Steinheimer's ruling may not end court procedings surrounding the incident. Late Tuesday, Galena High filed an injunction against the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association. The motive behind Galena's filing is likely to buy time for an additional appeal should Steinheimer's injunction ruling favor Sparks High.

"We don't know who will play, to be honest," said Dr. Jerry Hughes, the executive director of the NIAA. "We don't know the teams, it hasn't been settled."

Hughes spent time testifying before Steinheimer on Tuesday. He said his testimony consisted mainly of repeating the facts of the case to the judge and explaining the rules surrounding the case, such as how grade checks are conducted.

With the decision pending, Sparks High is retaining its hope of being one of the participating teams in the tourney. The Railroaders were knocked out of the eight-team field when Galena had to forfeit just two games - instead of the 11 it was originally to forfeit - in a NIAA Level III ruling on April 25.

That ruling essentially reinstated Galena into the zone tournament after it appeared the Grizzlies would be left out of the playoffs due to the 11 forfeits. Galena was forced to forfeit those games because it used an ineligible player, Josh Green.

Sparks is seeking to have Hughes' original decision, in which Galena had to forfeit 11 games, restored. Should that scenario occur, Sparks would be the No. 7 seed in the tournament and would likely play on Thursday at 7 p.m. at McNutt Field.

The zone tournament's opening rounds are scheduled to run today through Saturday, then resume with semifinals on Thursday, May 11.

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