A rundown of the area leagues.
This could be the year Southridge breaks through with the league’s top battery returning in P Caitlyn Klepper and C Heather Worley, plus all-CBL DH Kacie Sams.
CBL 4A co-champ Walla Walla should be strong with three all-leaguers returning, including OF Kelsie DeBroeck and DH Tarynn Fortune. Watch out for Eastmont, which brings back a strong core of young players, including P Tara Lloyd and OF Mae Larimer.
Kaylie Winston hit .463 last year with 12 stolen bases and will anchor Pasco’s state hopes. Richland graduated six all-leaguers but will rely on a strong tradition in its attempt to repeat as champs.
CBL 3A champ Kamiakin graduated seven seniors but returns the league’s top player in 3B Allegra Wilde, who will lead the Braves’ youth movement. Kennewick 1B Amanda Hall posted the top batting average (.471) among all 3A-4A returners and will have help from P Taylor Bakos.
Hanford OF Stacy Stanhope and SS Jessica Albertson will anchor the Falcons’ chances of getting through the 3A regional.
Defending 2A state champion Othello graduated a ton of seniors from its title squad but still returns plenty of talent led by OF Kylee Mollotte, who finished among the league’s top 5 with five HRs, 23 RBIs and 16 SB.
Ellensburg, led by P Sarah McNamee, and Selah will be Othello's biggest challengers. Prosser and Grandview will battle for district spots but will be hard-pressed to challenge for one of the league’s three state berths.
Defending league champ Connell is looking for a return to the 1A state tourney and should get there behind two-time SCAC East MVP and P Debbie Molsbarger and two-time all-league IF Yesenia Vergara.
Warden could make a strong run at state led by P Randi Wright and a strong infield. River View returns two-time all-SCAC East C Chani Brisby. Royal, with three returning all-leaguers, could surprise.
Southeast 2B/1B South
Defending 1B state champion Touchet could make another strong title run with three-time all-league C Kelsey Dorman, SS Linda Solis and C Zoe Weaver. Dayton (P/1B, Michele Barker) and DeSales (C/OF Erin Mertens) each returns a strong core to build on in the 2B ranks.