Divisions might have realigned this season, but it likely didn’t do much to shake up the CBBN races.
All signs point to Walla Walla and Richland slugging it out for 4A supremacy. Walla Walla, which went 14-0 in the Cascade Division last season and tied for third at state, returns power pitchers Hope Klicker (10-0, 0.37 ERA, 81 K in 2010) and Alyson Ambler (10-0, 0.58 ERA, 75 K). They not only prevent a lot of offense, but they can create it: Last season, Ambler batted .514 with 26 RBIs, while Klicker hit .470 and drove in 19 runs. At No. 45, the Blue Devils are the only Washington team ranked in the ESPN Rise Softball Fab 50.
Meanwhile, all six of Richland’s 2010 all-leaguers are back this season. The Bombers have a strong pitching duo of their own in senior right-hander Lindsey Walchli (12-6, 2.09 ERA, 93 K in 107 IP) and sophomore left-hander Paige Goulet, who shocked Walla Walla last year at districts.
Wenatchee, which last year tied Southridge for first place in the Columbia Division, and Moses Lake likely will battle for third in 4A. Wenatchee lost seven players from last season’s team, including all-league outfielder Korynn Blanksma, who has committed to play soccer at Washington State. But the Panthers have the Columbia Division’s top returning hitter in senior Haylee Douglass (.549, 15 stolen bases). Moses Lake seniors Katie Martinez (.441, 20 RBIs) and Tasha Gentry (.436, 17 RBIs) lead a squad that graduated six players last year.
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Other squads in the league are undergoing a youth movement. Five of Eisenhower’s seven new players are underclassmen. Chiawana has five returning starters, but first baseman Katie Arendt is the Riverhawks’ only senior. Chiawana will rely on sophomore Katie Axelson and freshman Whitney Weber in the circle.