Prep Baseball & Softball

Undefeated Mid-Columbia champion Richland High opens district softball tournament in Tri-Cities

Casey Emery isn’t being arrogant.

Far from it.

The Richland softball coach is driving, and he just can’t accurately answer the question on the phone at the moment.

“Either we’ve been league champion or co-league champion for at least the last 10 years in a row,” Emery said.

When you win that much, it is hard to keep track. But does it ever get old?

“No. No way. Never,” Emery said. “I tell everybody all of the time is that we have a phenomenal coaching staff and phenomenal players. And I’m sure it’s more about the second part.”

The Bombers swept Southridge on Friday to finish 16-0 in Mid-Columbia Conference softball play. That may have surprised Emery a bit.

“This year is a bit of a surprise finishing the league undefeated,” admits Emery. “It’s a tough league, first off. But we had 10 seniors graduate off this team last year. We did have four returning starters this season. But we had very little or no varsity experience. A lot of players had to step right up and play.”

2019 team undefeated

That being said, Emery really likes this squad.

“It has balance,” he said. “We have great pitching. Our catching is outstanding. And we play great defense. Offensively, we average 13 runs a game. We are just hitting it. The kids can swing it.”

Emery said he told the girls after Friday night’s sweep to enjoy their weekend, but come Monday on this week of the playoffs, the Bombers are 0-0.

“The main talk after our games Friday was about prom on Saturday,” Emery said with a laugh.

But he expects the Bombers will be ready this week when the District 8 Class 4A tournament begins.

“This is our season,” he said. “I think we’re pretty well focused. These kids just get along so well. And we’re healthy, both mentally and physically.”

Softball standings

  • MCC softball standings: 1. Richland 16-0; 2 (tie), Chiawana and Kennewick at 16-5; 4 (tie), Hermiston and Southridge at 10-6; 6. Hanford 7-9; 7. Walla Walla 5-11; 8. Kamiakin 2-14; 9. Pasco 0-16.
  • First-round pairings of the 4A district tournament, starting Tuesday, May 7: Game 1, Mead at Richland, 5 p.m.; Game 2, Hanford at University, 5 p.m.; Game 3, Lewis & Clark at Chiawana, 4 p.m.; Game 4, Walla Walla at Central Valley, 4 p.m.
  • First two rounds of the 3A district tournament, Friday, May 10: Game 1, Hermiston vs. Shadle Park at Kennewick Civic Fields, 3 p.m.; Game 2, Rogers vs. Southridge at Mt. Spokane, 3 p.m.; Game 3, winner 1 at Kennewick, 5 p.m.; Game 4, winner 2 at Mt. Spokane, 5 p.m.

MCC baseball

The Mid-Columbia Conference went 5-2 against the Greater Spokane League in the first round of the district tournaments on Saturday.

MCC regular-season champ Kamiakin advanced to the Class 3A district title game with a 3-2 victory over Kennewick at LaPierre Field, as Braves ace Tristan Vrieling tossed a complete-game victory.

Kennewick got into that matchup after beating Shadle Park 5-3.

Up at Mt. Spokane, Southridge took care of business by beating North Central 11-1. But the Suns ran into trouble later in the day when they lost 9-1 to Mt. Spokane.

So here is what Tuesday’s schedule looks like:

Kamiakin plays host to Mt. Spokane at 4 p.m. at LaPierre Field in the tournament title game. Winner qualifies for the state tournament, while the loser must beat those remaining for the second state berth.

In loser-out contests Tuesday, Shadle Park will visit Southridge, while North Central travels to play Kennewick at Roy Johnson Field. As of Sunday night, those times have not been set.

• In the Class 4A District 8 tournament, the MCC’s top seed, Richland, pounded visiting Gonzaga Prep 11-1 on Saturday.

In other games, host Mead beat Chiawana 5-2; host Hanford stopped Ferris 7-3; and visiting Walla Walla knocked off Central Valley 7-2.

Here is Tuesday’s schedule:

In the winners’ bracket semifinals, Mead visits Richland, and Walla Walla is at Hanford. Both games are set for 5 p.m.

The winners will qualify for the state tournament, and will play for seeding purposes at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at Gesa Stadium in Pasco.

Meanwhile, two loser-out games are also being played this Tuesday, with Gonzaga Prep at Chiawana, and Ferris at Central Valley. Both contests begin at 4 p.m.

MCC soccer

The Pasco soccer team punched its ticket to the 4A state tournament on Saturday, beating Central Valley 2-0.

The Bulldogs will play host to Ferris at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 11, at Edgar Brown Stadium to determine the 1 and 2 seeds to state.

Here are last Saturday’s other 4A games: Ferris beat Gonzaga Prep 4-0, Chiawana edged Walla Walla 1-0 in a loser-out game, and Richland blanked Lewis & Clark 2-0 in another elimination contest.

So Tuesday’s two loser-out games are these: Central Valley vs. Chiawana at Joe Albi Stadium at 4 p.m.; and Richland at Gonzaga Prep at 6 p.m.

• In the 3A tournament last Saturday, Hermiston beat Kennewick 1-0, while Kamiakin stopped North Central 1-0.

So games set for Tuesday, May 7, are as follows: Game 5, Kamiakin at Hermiston, 5 p.m. (Winner to state tournament); Game 6, Mt. Spokane vs. North Central (loser out), Albi Stadium, 6:30 p.m.; Game 7, Shadle Park at Kennewick (loser out), 5 p.m.

Jeff Morrow is former sports editor for the Tri-Cities Herald.