Previews and picks for today’s opening round at the WIAA 3A state fastpitch tournament

Good morning. And especially to the Mount Si softball team and its parents and fans as they get ready for today’s first day of action down in Lacey at the state 3A softball tournament.

Here’s a preview – and our picks – of Mount Si’s matchups, and we also will have our thoughts on the rest of today’s draw.

First Round: Mount Si Wildcats vs. Bonney Lake Panthers, 9:00 am – We told you a lot about what to look for earlier this week in this matchup; see that here. So with that said, there’s a couple of other things to think about that we neglected to mention the other day:

-Bonney Lake’s run through the postseason has come amidst some tremendous adversity for the team, and its star player. The Tacoma News Tribune noted in this story that the Panthers’ ace pitcher Melissa Charron, who likely will get the call in the circle in this first-round game, recently lost her mom to cancer, so as one can imagine, the past number of games have likely been a challenge from an emotional perspective not just for Charron, but her teammates as they help her grieve and get through this very tough time. But it is a testament to everyone on that team that they have been able to work through that and do so with such success. We wish the Charron family all the best as they continue to deal with their loss, and hope that regardless of the end result of today’s game, that the Panthers will continue to shine in the face of the adversity that they are dealing with.

-Mount Si’s team pitching is averaging 3.40 earned runs a contest thus far, with Claire Lis leading the way, going 6-1 with a 2.55 ERA. Thing is, though, this will be the first go-round at state for both Lis and Bayley Barnett (7-1, 3.19), so nerves could be a factor for both of those pitchers. Meaning that it is more likely you see junior Paige Wetherbee (6-4, 3.98) in this opening game, if for no other reason than for her fellow pitchers to get a taste of it from the bench before they get the call later on in the event.

-And let’s not forget, a win here and they can go celebrate coach Larry White’s 200th with a bash at the RAM nearby, or heck, even at Cabela’s, because the next game is at 4:00.

With that all said, the key will be whether the Wildcat bats get a quick start or not. We think the answer to that will be yes, and while BL will certainly give it its best, Mount Si has already proven once in this postseason – their win over Bainbridge in the district semis – that they can outslug even good offensive teams. We look for 200 and for Mount Si to move on to meet Shadle Park in the next round. MOUNT SI 7, Bonney Lake 4

Quarterfinals*: Mount Si Wildcats vs. Shadle Park Highlanders, 4:00 pm (*Projected matchup) – The Wildcats will meet a Shadle Park team that comes from a perennially tough Greater Spokane League, and one where the pitching is leading the show. We found their stats on their website, and as of May 11, Brittney Gately is 6-3 with a 1.94 earned run average, while her teammate Jaya Allen is 5-3 with an eye-popping 1.17 ERA with 51 K’s. The guess here is that the Wildcats will probably see Allen and that means a tough go for the Mount Si senior bats. But, from the looks of their offensive numbers, it’s pretty clear the Wildcats have more depth in this area than Shadle Park. Sarah Tiffany is SP’s top hitter; she is hitting .435 and is one of only two Highlanders hitting better than .400. Their impact bat, Berkley Fisher, has four homers and 13 RBI’s in addition to 16 runs scored, but is hitting a modest .315. SP is 16-9 on the spring thus far, but again, tough league preparation should be helpful. Should be a close game, but we like Mount Si’s depth offensively to win the day. MOUNT SI 8, Shadle Park 4

After the break, here’s our thoughts on the rest of the draw.

ROUND ONE 9:00am first pitches
Ferndale vs. Bainbridge: Ferndale won the NWC, going undefeated in the largely 1A/2A league. However, Bainbridge survived a tough SeaKing event, and pitcher Deahna King will look to drive Spartans to title. Bainbridge 5, Ferndale 3

Liberty vs. Kamiakin: Kamiakin is expected to be among the favorites to win the title, with a solid offense and deep pitching, but the Patriots will give them a good test to open things up. Sydney Hopper and Olivia Kutzke lead Liberty, who rebounded from heartbreaking defeat in SeaKing tourney against Bainbridge and landed fifth seed from district. Kamiakin 6, Liberty 2

Mountain View vs. Shadle Park: GSHL’s Mountain View of Vancouver comes into this tournament looking to make some noise backed by league player of the year Bailey Gaspar, but they face a foe from another pretty tough league, the GSL out of Spokane and Shadle Park. Whoever comes out of this could be a challenge for Mount Si in round two, and we like Shadle. Shadle Park 5, Mountain View 1

ROUND ONE 11:00am first pitches
Columbia River vs. Juanita: The Rebels’ result for falling to Mount Si is seeing a team out of the GSHL in Columbia River from Vancouver. Rebels look primed for win here, backed by senior pitcher Milly Kawabata and their top hitter, Madi Hedlund. River is led by freshman OF Bailey Sievers, who made GSHL first team, which is no easy feat as the talent down there has always been quite good. Juanita 7, CR 1

Prairie vs. Glacier Peak: Prairie placed a pair of players on the GSHL first team as well, and they will look for upset against solid GP team from Wesco. Peak comes in at 15-8 on season and beat Ferndale for top Northwest District seed into state tourney. Glacier Peak 3, Prairie 2

Meadowdale vs. University (Spokane): Meadowdale made it in as the third out of Northwest despite going undefeated within Wesco play this spring, and they meet a tough team in U-High from Spokane, with senior pitcher Brittany Hecker leading the way. University 5, Meadowdale 4

Holy Names vs. Enumclaw: If there’s anyone Mount Si will cheer for here, it’s Holy Names – boy, did they get a tough draw or what? The Cougars meet the state title favorite Hornets, but with the hitting that HN reportedly has, this could be a good test for Enumclaw. Might be an upset special here, but we’re taking Enumclaw. A lot of folks are paying attention to their sophomore pitcher xx and she has led them to an undefeated 25-0 record thus far. Enumclaw 4, HN 0

2:00 GAMES*
*Losers out, all matchups projected based on our projections of first-round matchups

Liberty vs. FerndalePick: Liberty 3, Ferndale 2
Mountain View vs. Bonney LakePick: Mountain View 5, Bonney Lake 3
Columbia River vs. PrairiePick: Prairie 4, CR 3
Meadowdale vs. Holy NamesPick: Meadowdale 4, Holy Names 0

4:00 GAMES**
**Quarterfinal matchups, all based on projections of first round matchups

Bainbridge vs. KamiakinPick: Kamiakin 6, Bainbridge 2
Juanita vs. Glacier PeakPick: Juanita 4, GP 0
Enumclaw vs. UniversityPick: Enumclaw 5, University 1

6:00 GAMES***
***Loser out, all based on projections from earlier games

Liberty vs.UniversityPick: University 6, Liberty 4
Mountain View vs.Glacier PeakPick: Glacier Peak 6, Mountain View 3
Prairie vs. Shadle ParkPick: Shadle Park 4, Prairie 1
Meadowdale vs. BainbridgePick: Meadowdale 6, Bainbridge 1

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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