Skyview finished second last year in Class 4A state tournament, and Ridgefield is making its fifth consecutive appearance in 2A state tournament
The seedings show that Skyview and Ridgefield have a pretty good shot at doing something special this weekend at the Washington state softball tournaments.
Then again, maybe they are just a way to show respect for the season up to date.
Skyview, the No. 3 seed in the Class 4A tournament, and Ridgefield, No. 3 in the 2A tournament, are the best seeds among the Clark County teams at WIAA state tournaments this week.
Their coaches, though, don’t seem to focus on the number.
“I’m not a coach who sits there and looks,” said Skyview’s Kim Anthony. “Let’s just keep playing and working harder than our opponent today. I would say the parents are more into the bracket and seeding that I am.”
“To be honest, to me, it doesn’t matter,” said Ridgefield’s Kelsey Anchors. “State is a different ball game. Everyone can come in and beat anyone. Seeding is a placeholder. You still have to show up and play ball.”
Clark County has five softball teams in three state tournaments.
Heritage and Evergreen, in the Class 3A tournament, begin play Thursday in the first round of the 20-team 3A bracket. The 3A tournament is in Lacey.
Battle Ground, the 11-seed, and Skyview are in the 4A tournament that begins Friday. That tournament is being held in Richland.
Ridgefield, in the 2A tournament, also starts Friday in Selah.
Skyview, which finished second in state last year, won its first 20 games of this season. The Storm lost two in a row this past weekend in the bi-districdt tournament. Star pitcher/hitter Maddie Milhorn did not play that day, suffering what is being described as an ankle sprain. Anthony said Milhorn is expected to play this weekend.
“I love our depth. I love our energy. I love how they play for one another,” Anthony said.
All year, the Storm have been getting it done from up and down the lineup. When a reserve comes into the game, that athlete often makes a key contribution to the game.
“It helps for everybody to have a role on the team,” Anthony said. “Everybody is important and gets an opportunity.”
This is Skyview’s third consecutive state tournament appearance. Skyview will face Olympia at 9 a.m. Friday in the opening round.
Battle Ground earned the 11-seed. This is the third consecutive tournament appearance for the Tigers and fourth in the past five tournaments played. Battle Ground takes on Glacier Peak at 9 a.m. Friday.
Anthony said she wishes the seeding committee had separated Skyview and Battle Ground. If both teams win in the opening round, they will face each other later that day in the quarterfinals.
“I think the GSHL is well represented,” Anthony said, noting that Clark County has always had a strong presence in softball.
If the Storm and Tigers face each other, they will deal with it. Skyview beat Battle Ground twice in the regular season.
“Even though we’re competitive when we play them, it’s friendly competition,” Anthony said. “Respectful competition.”
Skyview, of course, is looking for one more win this year than last year after losing in the state finals in 2022. The Storm have plenty of talent returning, but Anthony cautioned anyone thinking that means Skyview is a lock to go on a long run.
“It’s not that simple,” Anthony said. “There are so many variables in it for sure.”
Ridgefield can relate. The Spudders only lost one senior from last year and are back at state. This is the fifth consecutive appearance for the program.
But returning a bunch of talent is no guarantee for a winning weekend. Just gives the Spudders a better opportunity, but no guarantee.
Still, Anchors likes her team’s chances.
“The seniors that I have now … they’ve been through it all,” Anchors said.
There was the start of COVID, wiping out the 2020 season. Then the abbreviated season with no state tournament in 2021.
“Just knowing they can pretty much put their mind to anything and overcome a lot of stuff makes them special,” Anchors said. “They’re not done yet. We still have four games to win come this weekend.”
Anchors said the Spudders have not peaked yet this season. Of the team’s four losses, three came against 4A state participants Skyview and Battle Ground.
“I’m ready for it all to click together with the hitting, the pitching, and the defense,” Anchors said. “Let’s go out and play Spudder softball.”
Ridgefield takes on East Valley of Spokane at 9 a.m. Friday in the opening round.
In the 3A tournament, Evergreen, the 14-seed, is taking on No. 19 Timberline at 3 p.m. Thursday. Heritage, the 15-seed, is taking on No. 18 Garfield, also at 3 p.m. Thursday. The winners advance to the sweet 16.
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