KENNEWICK -- The CBBN's power display against its Greater Spokane League brothers -- going 5-0 in sub-regional crossover games Tuesday -- has Kennewick in position to play host to a pair of championship baseball games today.
First, Richland (18-5) and Walla Walla (19-6) will play at noon at LaPierre Field for the 4A sub-regional title to determine first and second seeds into next Saturday's rounds of regional state games.
Then, Hanford (13-11) and Southridge (19-2) will square off at 3 p.m. at the Suns' home field for the 3A sub-regional crown.
Earlier, Kamiakin (19-5) takes on University (18-5) at noon, with the winner earning the area's third berth to state.
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Having a state berth already in hand is "pretty big for us," said Wa-Hi's Keith Gradwohl, who earlier this week shared CBBN 4A coach of the year honors with Moses Lake's Quintz Whitaker. "Richland deserves a lot of credit. They've been at the state championship a lot. We're real happy to be where we're at."
The Bombers' state pedigree is prodigious: Four championship banners hang on their fence, all of them since 1999. They have reached the state semifinals in each of the previous four seasons and six of the last nine.
For the Blue Devils, though, this is just their third trip to state and their first since 1990. Wa-Hi does have a title to its credit, in 1988, when Gradwohl coached the freshmen under head coach Scott Tibbling and assistant coach Earl Streufert, now the head basketball coach at Richland.
This time, Tibbling is the assistant, though Gradwohl said they are really co-coaches.
"He's been down this path before," Gradwohl said. "Coming home from the all-league meetings, we were comparing the '88 team to this team. They won the big one and went all the way, but if you go player to player ... you might have to give the nod to this club."
Walla Walla will go with ace Drew Cristina (10-1), while Richland likely will counter with Syd Hall (7-0). Wa-Hi swept Richland in their regular-season meetings, including a 10-run mercy-rule finish.
The Bombers and Blue Devils will be joined at state by the winner of the Moses Lake-Ferris game in Spokane (noon today). Next Saturday's games are slated for County Stadium in Yakima, with the No. 8 team from District 3/4 -- the loser of today's Auburn Riverside-Federal Way game -- as the fourth team.
In the 3A ranks, Hanford and Southridge will be joined by the Kamiakin-University winner as well as the No. 5 team from the Metro/KingCo 3A, which will be determined Tuesday.
The 3A teams advance to state at Avista Stadium in Spokane.