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December 16, 2010 at 2:51 PM

State 4A and 3A softball tournaments changing sites

The WIAA is changing sites for the 2011 4A and 3A state softball tournaments, which have been played since 2000 at the South End Recreation Area (SERA) in Tacoma.

The 4A tournament will be at the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex in Spokane, while the 3A tourney moves to the Regional Athletic Complex (RAC) in Lacey.

Both venues are described as “state of the art” by John Miller, WIAA assistant executive director who oversees softball.

“They are really phenomenal facilities that will really showcase the athletes,” Miller said. “We’re excited about it.”

He said the WIAA had concerns with some of the field and fence conditions at SERA.

“We’ve had a great relationship with Tacoma for a number of years,” Miller said. “But they couldn’t give us a long-term commitment on upgrading the facility.”

A primary problem is the lack of safeguards at SERA to prevent foul balls from hitting spectators, according to Miller.

Since there is not another six-field facility suitable to host the two tournaments together, the WIAA Executive Board voted to split the 4A and 3A events, which will still be on the same weekend, May 27-28.

RAC features an all-weather surface on the infields that should reduce rain delays. The Merkel Sports Complex has dirt infields.

The WIAA has made a two-year commitment to these sites.

Miller said it is possible the 1A tournament might move from the Tri-Cities to another complex in Spokane, but that decision won’t be finalized until January. The 2A tournament will be in Selah, while the 1B and 2B events will be in Yakima.

The Executive Board also approved changes in sites for some of the state golf tournaments, which were all been played in Spokane this past spring. The 4A and 3A tourneys will remain in Spokane, while the 2A, 1A and 1B/2B events move to the Tacoma area.

Here are the sites:

1B/2B Boys & Girls: Meadow Park Golf Course, Lakewood

1A Boys & Girls: The Home Course, Dupont

2A Boys: The Classic Golf Course, Spanaway

2A Girls: Lake Spanaway Golf Course, Spanaway

3A Boys: MeadowWood Golf Course, Spokane

3A Girls: Liberty Lake Golf Course, Spokane

4A Boys: Creek at Qualchan Golf Course, Spokane

4A Girls: Downriver Golf Course, Spokane

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