Here’s what we’ve all been waiting for….STATE!
Congratulations to all of the teams who qualified! All of the tournaments should be very competitive, and there are some really good teams who didn’t quite make the cut.
I will be in Lacey for the 3A tourney, and we have a freelance reporter lined up to cover the 4A event in Spokane. I miss the days when both were at SERA in Tacoma – not the best facility, I know, but it was great to be able to keep up on 4A and 3A in the same place.
That said, I really like the RAC in Lacey (haven’t been to Merkel in Spokane, but hear it’s great, too). And the 1:30 p.m. scheduled start for the 3A championship game Saturday is a huge plus for those of us with deadlines!
I’ll have one last edition of softball notes looking back on the tournaments next Thursday, but in this version I am going to take a hard look at the 4A and 3A brackets, then give you some insight into a couple of the area 1A qualifiers, Eatonville and Seattle Christian. I’ll touch on the 2A tourney, too.
Then I’ll link you to the latest national rankings, and call it a wrap. I hope you can get out to see some games….and I hope the weather cooperates!
And in case you missed it in today’s paper, or on the web, you can read my short story on Woodinville’s Madi Schreyer here, and the notebook on 5 things to watch for state softball here. Plus our Star Times bios ran Tuesday, and you can see them here.
It’s a great field and there should be some outstanding first-round games.
I hate predicting games, so I’m not going to – but I will go as far as to say that I could see Arlington playing Emerald Ridge in one semifinal and Woodinville facing Camas in the other.
Of course, there are usually some surprises, if they should even be considered as such. Newport could definitely give unbeaten ER a game, so the Knights can’t be taken lightly.
Tahoma is young and scrappy capable of winning some big games in Spokane. I really don’t know anything about Richland, other than the Bombers got the No. 2 seed out of that tough Eastern Regional behind Central Valley. I’m sure they’re a quality team.
That opening game between Bothell and Beamer should be interesting. Bothell has been on a role and has some outstanding hitters. Beamer, making its first state appearance, is super young and might be a year away from making a big run, but the Titans are playing with a lot of confidence – they beat a pretty good Skyview team to finish third in the West Central District tourney.
Arlington has a head of steam with a healthy Ronnie Ladines in the circle and at the plate.
Woodinville, and Schreyer, haven’t been as dominating as last year, for a variety of reasons (they did lose seven seniors and Schreyer has been working a lot on her change-up and a couple of other pitches in preparation for playing at the next level – both at Stanford and the Canadian national team).
But I’d still say they have to be the favorite.
I was very impressed with Camas at the district tourney and the Papermakers might have an edge in the tourney with a two-pitcher rotation, but we’ll see. Meagan Hendrix has been a workhorse for ER.
CV is another team I know very little about, but would expect a good showing from.
I think this tournament could be wide open, and I’m really looking forward to it.
I don’t see a clear favorite, but I won’t be surprised to see Meadowdale in the semis. But I have no idea who to go with in the other quarter bracket. Holy Names? A couple of weeks ago, the Cougars would probably have been my pick – and they could still get there. But that opener with Shorecrest is a tough one.
And the Enumclaw-Interlake winner won’t be a pushover either. I’d give the Hornets the edge in that one, but look at what Interlake did at district!
Kamiakin-Kelso? Flip a coin? I think both are solid.
In the upper half, Juanita is coming off that Sea-King District championship and could get back to the semis. But I can’t pencil them past Bonney Lake with any certainty. Prairie is Prairie, but I like the way Mountlake Terrace has been playing.
If the Hawks and Rebels meet in the quarterfinals, that’s another toss-up in my book.
That Bainbridge-University game intrigues me a bit. U-Hi is always solid and could well be a semifinalist. Bainbridge has to play well to stay in the winner’s bracket, and the Spartans have certainly done that for most of the season. But they’ve had a couple of stinkers, too. If they beat U-Hi, they could get another shot at Bishop Blanchet – but it could just as easily be Peninsula.
Class 2A, 1A
We don’t have a true “local” team in the 2A tournament (coming from King or Snohomish counties), but three SPSL teams are in the field – White River, Fife and Sumner – and at least one of them could take home a trophy. White River didn’t give up a run in three district games, outscoring opponents 17-0.
To be honest, I’m pretty clueless on the rest of the field, although Colville comes in with an impressive 22-1 record, losing only to Lake City, Idaho in their opening game of the season. Oh, and Lake City is 24-0 in the 4A Inland Empire League.
I think Colville just became my tourney favorite.
Lynden – Sumner’s first-round opponent – won the tough Northwest District title and Selah survived the Eastern Regional, so I’d expect good showings from them as well.
I wanted to give a little love to a pair of 1A teams with local ties – Seattle Christian and Eatonville, both out of the Nisqually League.
Eatonville, which dropped from 2A this school year, made its only other state appearance back in 2000 (as a 2A school). The Cruisers went 12-0 to win the Nisqually title and are 16-3 overall.
Senior Maddie Smith batted an impressive .652 in Nisqually League play with 36 RBI in just 12 games. She was also 6-0 pitching with a 1.06 ERA. She shared time in the circle with junior Morgan Maida (6-0, 1.60 ERA).
K.K. Voss, a junior third baseman, batted .596 in league with 23 RBI and Eaonville hit .463 as a team.
Coach Erik Danielson is in his seventh season and said he has to share credit with assistant Leslie Booth. The team’s motto has been “stay in the now and trust each other,” according to Danielson, which has keyed the run to state.
Seattle Christian (16-4) is in the tournament for the second time in three years, missing out last season. The Warriors’ only two losses in league play were to Eatonville, and it was just 5-4 the second time around.
Coach Rick Ronish, in his sixth season, has a veteran team with seven returning starters – including four seniors who have stated every game since they were freshmen: Benita Beale (pitcher/first base), Kellie Kumasaka (shortstop), Molli Ronish (catcher) and Mikayla Wrolstad (third base).
Molli, the coach’s daughter, led the team in hitting during the league season with a .474 average. Lindsy Ronish, her sophomore sister, starts at second base and batted .344 in Nisqually play along with Beale, who was 5-0 in league and shares the pitching duties with sophomore Alyssa Baucom. Baucom was 5-2 in league play with a .438 average.
Wrolstad is the daughter of Craig Wrolstad, Seattle Christian athletic director who was a successful baseball player and coach at Lindbergh (and now is an NFL official). She hit .379 in league play and Kumasaka batted .333.
The Warriors won both of their games at the Northwest District tourney to finish third (the best they could with Eatonville and Nooksack Valley seeded into the title game as league champions). Seattle Christian is a smaller school and faces a big challenge in a tournament that includes nationally ranked Connell – the tourney favorite and a potential semifinal opponent.
“It always gets tough when we take our 100-pound little lefties over the mountains to square off against some big and strong competition,” coach Ronish said. “With that being said, the Warriors had an incredible day last Saturday qualifying at Tri-Districts, so they are loaded with confidence and ready to go.”
The Warriors wont he WIAA 1A academic state championship in softball with a 3.84 GPA.
The latest national rankings
Woodinville nearly cracked the top-10 in this week’s MaxPreps Xcellent 25 rankings, but wound up at No. 11 (up from No. 15). And now at No. 15 is Connell, which jumped one spot. The complete rankings are here.
In the NFCA poll, Woodinville holds at No. 7 and Connell moves up a spot to No. 24. Find those rankings here.