East Valley is two wins away from its first state softball berth since 2003. Fifth-year Knights coach Ray Riggin is as surprised as anyone at the news.
“If you would have asked me where we were going to finish at the beginning of the year, I would have agreed with everyone else – fifth or sixth,” Riggin said Tuesday, the day after EV (14-6) clinched the No. 2 berth to the District 7 2A tournament.
EV has won 12 of its last 14 games, including a nine-game winning streak that began with a victory over league champion Colville (18-2).
“We didn’t know what was going to happen, because there were a lot of new girls who had never played with us before,” said senior pitcher Ciera Lockwood (14-3 with 132 strikeouts). “But we just came together.”
Shortstop Brianna Lasso hit .444 with 33 runs; Lockwood hit .388 with 10 doubles; center fielder Jackie Lucas hit .476 with five homers; and junior catcher Katy Sinn hit .631 (41 for 65) with five homers and 40 RBIs.
“It means something now,” Sinn said of Saturday’s home playoff game. “…It’s pretty awesome. It’s a real accomplishment for us.”
Highlanders on the rise
Shadle Park began the year 2-5 but won seven of its final eight games to earn the No. 2 seed to the District 8 3A tournament.
The Highlanders rotate their pitching staff with senior Brittney Gately and freshman Jaya Allen, who are second cousins.
“We kind of mixed it up, depending which team we were playing,” Gately said. “(Allen) has more velocity than I do, but I have more movement. We offset each other well.”
“We had a really rough beginning of the season,” senior outfielder Berkley Fisher said. “Now that we’re winning and competing with teams, we might be catching them by surprise.”
Shadle will play No. 1 seed University (15-4) at 5 p.m. Thursday at Whitworth for the district title.
“U-Hi has pretty much owned us, so we have to take it to them and show them that this is not the same team,” Shadle coach Guy Perham said.
Idaho teams at state
Coeur d’Alene (20-3) and Lake City (19-6) could be on a collision course when the 5A State tournament begins at 10 a.m. Friday at Skyview Softball Complex in Nampa.
CdA, the 2012 champion, opens against Boise. Lake City, the champion last year and in 2011, will open against Eagle.
League and regional champ CdA is 5-0 against Lake City this year, but three of the games were decided by one run.
• Also at Nampa on Friday: Moscow returns to the 4A field for the first time in three years and will open at 8 a.m. against Canyon Ridge; 3A perennial Timberlake will open at 10 against Sugar-Salem; and St. Maries returns to the 2A field with an 8 a.m. opener against New Plymouth.