The scouting report on Southridge’s first opponent at the 3A state tournament didn’t take long to put together.
The Suns will square off against Mid-Columbia Conference foe Kamiakin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Pasco High School.
“It’s kind of an interesting way the state put this thing together,” Southridge coach Tim Sanders said. “They set the bracket, you play who they match you up with. It kind of feels like a home game for both of us. We will be supported by our fans, and them by theirs. It’s good for baseball and the athletic world in town.”
O’Dea and Timberline play the second game at 1 p.m. at Pasco High, with the two winners meeting about 4 p.m. The last team standing advances to the Final Four at Safeco Field in Seattle.
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The Suns (20-4) and Braves each won their District 2-District 5/8 3A glue crossover games last weekend, landing them in the same game.
“We are confident,” Sanders said. “The kids are playing hard. You play good baseball, you pitch, you catch and get situational hitting along the way, and you win.”
Kamiakin beat Southridge for the regional title, but the Suns swept the Braves during the regular season in “two good ballgames,” according to Sanders.
“This conference is extremely tough,” Sanders said. “From Jan. 1 to today’s practice to tomorrow, they have worked hard and the expectations are high. This week is no different from last week or the week before. You have to win.”
CHIAWANA VS. GLACIER PEAK: The Riverhawks are in uncharted waters in the round of 16 of the 4A state baseball tournament, but coach Dave Price is confident his players have the ability to keep their heads on straight.
“A lot of these kids played on the football team and they are used to that atmosphere,” Price said. “Anything can happen right now. They have worked hard all week and they are ready. We have a strong team chemistry — a brotherhood. We play for each other. When you have that, you will win baseball games.”
Chiawana (16-9) will take on Glacier Peak (15-7) at 10 a.m. Saturday at Heidelberg Park in Tacoma. The winner gets the winner between Tahoma and top-ranked Puyallup, with a trip to Safeco Field at the end of the rainbow.
“They are pretty good club,” Price said of the Grizzlies. “They have three or four guys who swing the bat well, a couple left-handers and a couple of right-handers. It will come down to who executes and gets the job done. I’m really confident in our kids right now. They are on a mission.
“They know what’s at the end of the tunnel. We have to continue to play our best baseball. There is no room for error. It’s every kid’s dream to play at Safeco. They have a chance to make that happen.”
The Riverhawks won two regional loser-out games last Saturday to advance to state.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” Price said.
WALLA WALLA VS. WENATCHEE: The Blue Devils are making their third consecutive appearance in the round of 16, and this time around they meet up with an old foe.
Wa-Hi (16-7) will take on Wenatchee at 10 a.m. Saturday at County Stadium in Yakima, with the winner of the Skyview-West Valley game waiting in the wings.
“Most of our guys are veterans and have been through this before,” Wa-Hi coach Keith Gradwohl said. “We are ready to go. We’re going to go out, play hard, have some fun and see what happens. We are tickled pink to be in the round of 16.”
Wenatchee (16-6), which finished third at state last year, could pose some problems for Walla Walla.
“They used to be in our league,” Gradwohl said. “They have been very successful the past few years. In the round of 16, everyone is pretty good. It won’t be easy.”
The Blue Devils will go with ace Dexter Aichele (3-2) against the Panthers, and throw Nick Zahner (7-1) in the second game, provided they beat Wenatchee.
“Dexter has been solid for us the last couple of years,” Gradwohl said. “Nick has done a nice job and we will go to him if we are fortunate enough to beat Wenatchee.”
Two wins would land the Blue Devils at Safeco Field for the Final Four.
“Safeco would be a dream come true, but we have two tough games ahead of us,” Gradwohl said.