The Kamiakin Braves know it will be very difficult to earn a third consecutive Class 3A state softball championship.
But they sure made it look easy through the first two games of their championship bracket, collecting 21 runs on 30 hits to earn a spot in today’s semifinals at Lacey Region Athletic Complex.
They weren’t the only Mid-Columbia team to do well. The Walla Walla Blue Devils pushed their way into the Class 4A semifinals for the third time in four seasons, beating Lake Stevens 5-4 and then knocking off Tahoma 6-1 at Merkel Sports Complex in Spokane.
The Richland Bombers weren’t as lucky, but they’re still alive after winning two games in the Class 4A consolation bracket after a first-round loss to Todd Beamer.
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Kamiakin defeated Liberty 12-6 in the first round, as Carlie Richards blasted a first-inning grand slam to put the Braves up 4-1. They scored another in the second and three more in the third, adding runs at will.
Kamiakin, the Mid-Columbia Conference co-champion, did the same in a 9-2 quarterfinal win over Ferndale, the Northwest Conference champs who finished 22-4 on the season.
“We started the first game, and (Liberty) scored first. After that, it was game time,” Braves coach Tim Bisson said. “We’re all hitting the ball pretty well still. That’s our game. That’s what we hope to continue to do (today).”
Kamiakin (19-2) will face Shadle Park (18-9) of the Greater Spokane League at 9 a.m. today for the right to represent Washington’s east side in the Class 3A title game.
Enumclaw appears destined for a spot in the championship game after rolling over Holy Names 10-4 and University 13-2.
“Everybody is talking like they’re the team to beat,” Bisson said. “We’ve got to get through Shadle Park first.”
The Braves got three home runs against Liberty, as Hunter Schneitter, Emily Benson and Carlie Richards all went deep. Schneitter and Richards both had three hits apiece.
Kamiakin didn’t hit any out against Ferndale but still pounded out 14 hits, including three apiece from Katie Lowery and Melanie Oord.
Every Braves starter had at least one hit in both games.
Liberty 101 100 3 — 6 8 0
Kamiakin 413 202 x — 12 16 3
Hopper and O’Conner; Emily Moore, Ramsey (7), Moore (7) and Becker. Highlights—Van Kamp (L) 3x4, 2B; Hunter Schneitter (K) 3x4, HR; Melanie Oord (K) 2x4; Emily Benson (K) HR; Carlie Richards (K) 3x4, HR, 4 RBI; Jenna Castilleja (K) 2x3; Cylie Richards (K) 2x4, 2B.
Ferndale 001 100 0 — 2 6 2
Kamiakin 041 112 x — 9 14 0
Maley and Westford; Moore and Becker. Highlights—Westford (F) 2x3, 2B; Dauthes (F) 2B; Shawler (F) 2B; Oord (K) 3x4, 3 2B; Katie Lowery (K) 3x4, 2B; Cy.Richards (K) 2x3, 2B.
Class 4A tournament: Walla Walla got a good mix of veteral leadership and young blood in advancing to today’s 9 a.m. semifinals against Bethel.
The Blue Devils (19-5) finished first in 2011 and second in 2012, but they missed out on state last season. Despite a young lineup with players who haven’t played in a state game, Wa-Hi is playing like they’ve been there before.
“We had a little bit of a slow start. We were still kind of sleeping, and we gave up two runs in the first (against Lake Stevens),” Blue Devils coach Kate Keyes said. “Then we decided to flip the switch.”
Walla Walla trailed 4-3 in the seventh and got four hits in a row — capped by a two-run single by Elli Rassbach — to pull ahead 5-4.
“That was huge. To get a Game 1 win is a big deal,” Keyes said.
Keyes was impressed with the contributions of Emma Sweet and Keziah Doyle, who she brought up from junior varsity to fill out the roster for the playoffs.
“It’s great to see kids take advantage of that opportunity,” she said.
Rassbach struck out six against Lake Stevens to get the win, and Brandi Schoessler followed that up for Wa-Hi with 11 strikeouts against Tahoma.
The Richland Bombers stayed alive despite losing their first game of the day, a 5-1 defeat against Todd Beamer. Kayla Andrews struck out eight but allowed nine hits.
Andrews rebounded in the consolation bracket, striking out 10 and allowing just three hits in an 8-1 rout of Camas. Stephanie Merwin sparked the offense with two hits, two steals, two runs and three RBIs.
Richland finished the day with a 19-4 win over Tahoma. The Bombers will face Moses Lake at 11 a.m. today in an elimination game.
Todd Beamer 002 010 2 — 5 9 0
Richland 000 100 0 — 1 7 0
WP—M.Rogers. LP—Kayla Andrews. Highlights—M.Chan (TB) 2x3, 3B, R, RBI; R.Gradel (TB) 2x3, 2B, R; M.Palmer (TB) 3x3, 2B, 3B, SB, 2R, RBI; M.Rogers (TB) RBI, 4 Ks; Andrews (R) 8 Ks; Abby Perryman (R) 2x3, 2B, R; Paige Liikala (R) RBI; Reilly Bramlett (R) 2x3.
Richland 100 033 1 — 8 7 1
Camas 000 100 0 — 1 3 4
WP—Andrews. LP—Harli Hubbard. Highlights—Bramlett (R) 2x4, 3B, R, RBI; April Utecht (R) 2B, RBI; Perryman (R) SB, R; Kelsey Hinkley (R) R; Stephanie Merwin (R) 2x3, 2 SB, 2R, 3 RBI; Courtney Kent (R) R; Andrews (R) 10 Ks, 1 BB; Katie Schroeder (C) 2x3, RBI.