The race to state will heat up Saturday during the CBBN 4A/3A district softball tournaments at TRAC in Pasco.
And it might not get any hotter than in a potential Richland-Walla Walla matchup in the 4A title game, scheduled for 2 p.m.
When asked Tuesday whether they’d rather see Wenatchee or Eisenhower in the second round, Walla Walla’s coaches looked further ahead in the tournament toward the team that gave the Blue Devils their only loss of the season.
“We want Richland,” Wa-Hi assistant coach Arch McHie said.
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But for that to happen, the defending district champion Blue Devils (19-1) first must get past Wenatchee (11-10), and Richland (17-3) must beat Chiawana (10-11), which upset No. 3 Moses Lake in an elimination game Thursday.
Three of those teams will advance to the CBBN/Greater Spokane League 4A regional tournament May 19 at Central Valley High School in Spokane. Walla Walla, Richland and Wenatchee were the CBBN’s regional representatives last season, and all three went to state.
On the 3A side, Kamiakin (20-0) will try to protect its undefeated record, and Southridge (12-8), West Valley (11-10) and Hanford (11-10) also will jockey for seeding for next weekend’s CBBN/GSL regionals at University High School in Spokane. Kamiakin defeated Southridge 4-0 for the 2011 district title.
Also today, the CWAC’s top six teams are meeting in their district tournament at Carlon Park in Selah. Defending champion Selah finished 18-0 in league.
Siblings on the rise: Big things are happening for sisters Ashley and Andrea Hamada.
Younger sister Andrea, a Wa-Hi senior third baseman, will lead the top-seeded Blue Devils in Saturday’s CBBN 4A District Tournament.
Last month, she signed a letter of intent to play softball at Central Washington, changing her mind about a prior commitment to San Diego State.
“I’m raised in a small town, so I guess I still don’t mind being in that small town, but also as far as what my education was going for, I matched up better with Ellensburg,” Hamada said days after signing with CWU. “I want to go into teaching maybe, and they have a coaching minor. It just seemed like a better fit personally for me, just looking ahead at my future.”
Ashley, a senior right fielder at Texas Tech, will find out this weekend whether her Red Raiders will play in the NCAA Division I tournament. The NCAA selection show airs at 7 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU. The Red Raiders reached 40 wins for the second season in a row and third time in their history.
Ashley Hamada batted .247 (23-for-93) and committed no errors in 55 games this season. Perhaps more impressive, the exercise and sport science major made the Academic All-Big 12 Softball Team with a 4.0 GPA.
Eagle-eyed at the plate: Ashley Thompson can add another honor to a lengthy list of awards.
After hitting three home runs against Mabton on Thursday night, the Connell junior has set an unofficial state season home run mark with 18.
According to the National High School Sports Record Book, the national season record is 35, set by Shelby Holley of Pisgah, Ala., in 2011. Holley now attends Jacksonville State.
CBC closes season: Columbia Basin College finishes its season Saturday with a home doubleheader against Walla Walla.
CBC is 6-20 in the East Region, while Walla Walla (22-4) has clinched a spot in the NWAACC tournament May 18-21 in Portland.
The Hawks will not hurt for sophomore leadership next year. Only three players -- Breann Feser, Renee Mulcare and Andrea Roeder -- are set to leave after this season.
Freshmen lead the team in batting average (Maddie Chambers, .398), home runs (Stephanie Hunter, six) and RBIs (Chambers, 32). Former Othello standout Brenda Rodriguez has a 6.62 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings.
Walla Walla has the second-best record in the East Region behind Wenatchee Valley (24-2). They will represent the East Region in the NWAACC tournament with Treasure Valley (17-9) and Spokane (15-11).
NCAA notes: Amanda Hall (Kennewick) and Katie Lowery (Southridge) each drove in a run in Pacific Lutheran’s 8-0 victory against Huntingdon College (Ala.) in their NCAA Division III regional tournament opener Friday in Tyler, Texas. The game was called with two on and two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. PLU (38-11), the No. 2 seed in the Tyler Regional, will face No. 3 Redlands (32-11) at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Redlands defeated Birmingham-Southern 6-4. ... The University of the Incarnate Word, featuring former Kamiakin outfielder Sarah O’Brien, went 0-2 last week in the NCAA Division II South Central 2 Regional in Edmond, Okla. Incarnate Word fell 3-1 to Central Oklahoma on May 4, then was eliminated the next day after a 5-2 loss to Abilene Christian. The Cardinals finished their season 29-25. In her final season at Incarnate Word, O’Brien started in all 52 games she played. She batted .336 with 15 RBIs and five home runs.
w Katie Dorsey: 582-1526; email@example.com