Wildcats made it to the state quarterfinals this spring and believe they can make school history in 2024
The La Center Wildcats get it.
They know what happened Saturday.
Just a few too many miscues turned into a one-run loss in the Class 1A state baseball quarterfinals.
Still, an elite-eight season — with only one senior on the squad — is impressive.
“We’re such a good team. We’re such good brothers,” said junior Smith Stimmel. “Today wasn’t our best baseball, but we can go far.”
Cedar Creek Christian of Bothell got past La Center 6-5 in the quarterfinals Saturday at Camas High School. Earlier in the day, La Center had a big lead, lost the lead, then rallied for a 9-7 win over Lynden Christian to advance to the quarterfinals.
The other three Clark County baseball teams that qualified for state all fell in the round of 16 on Saturday.
This was the third trip to the quarterfinals in program history for La Center. The Wildcats, who received the No. 2 seed going into this tournament, are expected to return all but one player next season. That means there is already a lot of optimism for 2024.
“I can’t believe it’s over. It went by so fast,” Stimmel said of this season. “But it just makes me more excited. It gives all of us more drive to come back next year and hit it harder.”
For the Wildcats, the game means more to them than just a game. It is a chance to represent the entire city.
“It means family and love,” said Stimmel, who was voted the Trico League player of the year. “We care so much for each other, and we have such a good community. It seemed like we had the whole town out here cheering for us.”
A year from now, the team expects to be back in the WIAA state playoffs. The hope is for La Center to be making school history with a final four appearance.
While Camas High School was the host of a Class 1A regional, Camas’ baseball team was on the road for its Class 4A state regional. The Camas bats were silenced, though. Kamiakin got the best of the Papermakers 5-0 in the round of 16.
In Class 2A, Hudson’s Bay returned to the state playoffs for the first time since 2006. The Eagles just missed out on a trip to the quarterfinals. The Eagles scored two runs in the top of the 11th inning, but White River scored three in the bottom of the frame for a 6-5 victory in the round of 16.
Also of note for local teams, District 4 had two teams reach the semifinals in Class 2A. W.F. West and Tumwater will face each other in the semifinals.
Back to 1A baseball, King’s Way Christian hung tough with Naches Valley, but Naches Valley got the 3-1 victory in the round of 16.
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