The state softball tournaments get underway with first-round games and semifinals on Friday at Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima. The championship game and third-place bracket are Saturday.
For the first time since the reintroduction of the sport in 2005, the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association has sanctioned state tournaments for 4A and 3A/2A.
Two years ago, the WIAA adopted a nonsanctioned state tournament to help the sport grow across the state. Mead topped Central Valley as champion.
Since then, other leagues have formally added the sport to get more athletes involved. Last season, the Big 9, Greater Saint Helens League and Mid-Columbia Conference sent league title winners to the tourney, where Mt. Spokane knocked off University in the title game.
This year, eight Seattle-area KingCo League teams picked up the sport among others, adding to the resurgence.
Central Valley lost once this season, as it split with Greater Spokane League 3A champ Mt. Spokane in league play. The Bears carry a five-game winning streak into the state tourney, where they will face Skyview out of the Greater St. Helens League.
CV eliminated University in a District 8 semifinal before topping Chiawana 7-2 in the district final. Freshman Madison Saty drove in a pair of runs on two hits, while three others – junior Jaidyn Smith and seniors Maddie McVey and Haley Lance – all had three hits in the game.
Lewis and Clark entered districts as the No. 6 seed and upset third-seeded Mead 9-3 in a first-round game. The Tigers fell to Chiawana in a semifinal but earned the third bid with a 9-5 win over University. Madelyn Dibble had a four-hit day, including a home run, and drove in a pair.
Mt. Spokane took the GSL 3A/2A regular-season crown by six games over second-place Rogers. The Wildcats have a deep, senior-rich lineup – led by OF Katie McKinnis and Sydney Wiyrick – and gets contributions up and down the roster.
Mt. Spokane beat fifth-seeded East Valley in a semifinal in the District 8 tournament but fell to MCC champ Hermiston 10-9 in the title game, despite a four-hit day by McKinnis and a homer by Lindsey Thompson.
The Wildcats face Lake Washington, out of the KingCo League. The Kangaroos earned the KingCo 3A bid with a 9-5 record in league.
Lake Washington is led by KingCo coach of the year JoDee Hull and five first-team all-leaguers.
Rogers is the third seed from District 8, knocking off East Valley 19-2 in the third-place game. The Pirates will face undefeated R.A. Long (20-0) from the Greater St. Helens League.
As she has all season, junior Destiney Sandbergen led the way for the Pirates with a complete-game six-hitter, a home run and a double with two RBIs. Sophomore outfielder Jacinthia Moore added three hits, three runs and five RBIs in the game.