Here is a look at the 2012 women's softball season beyond Columbia Basin College for the East Division of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges:
Wenatchee Valley (40-7 overall, 23-5 East Region in 2011): The Knights finished third at last year's NWAACC tournament behind tough-as-nails pitchers Amy Greenough and Sydnee Jerome, who combined for 37 wins in 2011. But they are gone now, and so the Knights must regroup. But that shouldn't be hard to do for the six-time defending East Region champions, who are 10-3 in nonregional play. Left-hander Hailey Bator has come aboard from Cle Elum, the 2010 Class 1A state runner-up. There is another newcomer to the battery in catcher Alex Ellis, who has reunited with first baseman and former Eastmont teammate Sydney Chestnut.
Walla Walla (34-12, 23-5): Former Walla Walla High School teammates Alicia Baker and Jill McDaniels are back with pitcher/third baseman Katie Martell (Kamiakin) and catcher/infielder Kaylie Winston (Pasco) to help the Warriors (8-2) improve on their 1-2 finish at last year's NWAACC tournament. Reigning East Region MVP Dara Kosanke (Sisters, Ore.), a 20-win pitcher and a .533 hitter last season, also returns. Joining the Warriors is infielder Kate Hawk, who helped lead Connell to a 1A state championship in 2011.
Spokane (23-25, 14-14): The Sasquatch (5-5) fields a 19-person squad that includes several familiar faces from the Mid-Columbia. Lindsey Walchli was an all-CBBN 4A first-team pitcher at Richland and led the Bombers back to state in 2011. Second baseman Ryley Dennis played on the Kennewick team that reached last year's 3A regional tournament, and Jalissa Hutchins was a hitting and base-stealing machine for River View. Spokane will try to build on its 3-2 showing at last year's NWAACCs. The Sasquatch defeated Columbia Basin for the East Region's No. 4 seed.
Blue Mountain (4-36, 2-26): Outfielder Page Woodward (Royal) joins a squad featuring 12 freshmen, and already, there is hope for the Timberwolves. At 4-4, they have matched their win total from last season.
Treasure Valley (27-20, 17-11): Idaho infielder Anna Denn returns after finishing fourth in the NWAACC with 52 RBIs and landing on the East Region first team last season, but the Chukars (6-4) have lost another offensive powerhouse in Tara Talbott (16 HRs, 45 RBIs). TVCC was the East Region's third seed in the NWAACC tournament, where it went 2-2 and was eliminated by Spokane.
Yakima Valley (20-23, 10-18): First baseman Tori Slobig (Selah) is one of two second-year players on the 12-person squad. Kamiakin graduate Krysta Beach, a 2011 all-league first-team third baseman, is on the YVCC roster as a shortstop. Outfielder Jessie Ihly helped Selah place fourth in last year's 2A state tournament and has reteamed with former Vikings Slobig and Courtney Cable. With players who know how to win, expect the Yaks (7-1-2) to make some noise.
Big Bend (19-23, 9-19): The Moses Lake Chiefs are well represented here, with sophomore shortstop Bailey Ritchie and freshman fielders Tasha Gentry (an all-CBBN 4A first-team first baseman in 2011), Marina Rubio and Katie Martinez. Savanah Scarborough, a 4A state champion last year with Walla Walla, is in the infield, and freshman Randi Wright (Warden) is listed as a utility player for the 5-7 Vikings.