WIAA STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Class 4A at Merkel Sports Complex, Spokane
Class 3A at the Regional Athletic Complex, Lacey
Class 2A at Carlon Park, Selah
Class 1A at Columbia Playfield, Richland
Class 2B/1B at Gateway Sports Complex, Yakima
2017 champions: 4A - Woodinville. 3A - Redmond. 2A - W.F. West. 1A - Montesano. 2B - Pe Ell-Willapa Valley. 1B - Pomeroy.
Skinny: Could this be the year Puyallup wins its second state title in program history? The Vikings last won it all in 2014, and coach Tony Batinovich says this team might be stronger. Puyallup (23-1) has a potent offense led by San Diego commit Sophia Bjerk (batting .600 with 35 RBI), and plowed through last week's 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament with 46 runs — including 13 homers — in four games. The road in Spokane is tougher, though, and the Vikings offense will be tested, with a possible quarterfinals meeting with District 1 champion Jackson (21-1) looming. Timberwolves pitcher Iyanla Pennington (18-1, 0.28 ERA) has given up next-to-nothing in 113 1/3 innings, and has struck out 235 batters. Another pair of district champions in Richland (22-1) and Moses Lake (19-1) could also contend. ... Three heavy-hitters landed on the same side of the 3A bracket, and will battle for a coveted spot in the championship game. Redmond (23-1) and Yelm (25-2) — the teams that played for the title last season with the Mustangs winning the crown — meet in the first round. Yelm dropped to the No. 5 seed out of the 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament after a shocking loss in the quarterfinals. The Tornados won three consolation games to return to the state playoffs for the fourth consecutive season behind Whitworth commit Drea Schwaier (12-1, 1.01 ERA), but SeaKing District champion Redmond returns ace Kiki Milloy (13-0, 0.97 ERA). And, behind Washington commit Brooke Nelson (18-2, 0.31 ERA), bidistrict champion Bonney Lake is likely to meet one of those teams in the semis. ... Defending 2A champion W.F. West (20-3) is in the hunt for back-to-back titles after two extra-innings wins — including its sixth-straight district title — in the Southwest District tournament. But last year's runner-up Port Angeles (20-3) or GNL champion Cheney (19-2) could await in the semifinals, with CWAC champion Ellensburg (20-2) on the other side of the bracket.
Tickets: Single day — $10 adults, $8 students/senior citizens. Full tournament — $18 adults, $14 students/senior citizens.