Prairie and Heritage (Class 3A) and Ridgfeild (2A) also playing in their state tournaments starting Friday
The Skyview Storm and Battle Ground Tigers noticed. Of course they noticed.
They just can’t allow themselves to spend all of their focus on the possibility.
But fans can. The media can.
If Skyview and Battle Ground win their first-round games at the Class 4A state softball tournament in Spokane on Friday morning, they will face each other in the quarterfinals.
“We’ve played them twice. We’ve got the best of them both times,” Skyview coach Kim Anthony said this week.
Which means it could be even tougher to beat the Tigers again.
“It would be a fight,” she said, calling Battle Ground a “complete” team.
“I really respect Jeremy,” Anthony said, referring to Battle Ground coach Jeremy Barr.
The feeling is mutual.
“Kim does a tremendous job,” Barr said.
He said Skyview, traditionally, has a solid program, with strong talent. And every year, he said, the Storm are always better off in May than in March and April. They are always getting better throughout the season.
Skyview and Battle Ground are two of five Clark County softball teams that have reached their state tournaments this weekend.
Prairie and Heritage are in the Class 3A tournament, and Ridgefield is in the 2A tournament.
By seeding, Skyview and Battle Ground lead the way. The Storm are No. 3 in the 4A tourney, with Battle Ground at No. 6.
The coaches wish the seeding committee had noticed that and moved one of the teams off of that number. Because 3 and 6 play each other in the quarterfinals. Anthony said she would have preferred the two 4A Greater St. Helens League teams to be in separate brackets.
Then again, all of this is moot if they don’t win their first games.
Skyview will face No. 14 Inglemoor at 10 a.m. Friday. Battle Ground takes on No. 11 Mount Si, also at 10 a.m. The winners meet in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m.
In the end, the Storm and Tigers can’t worry about the schedule. They just have to focus on the mission.
“If you’re going to compete for a state championship, you have to get through everybody,” Anthony said.
Skyview won the 4A GSHL then finished second in the bi-district tournament, earning the No. 3 seed. The Storm have four seniors on this squad who were varsity players as freshmen. That team reached the quarterfinals. Now they are back in the first state tournament since 2019.
Anthony said the squad has a great mix of seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen.
“We’ve just had zero drama,” Anthony said. “They really clicked early. They have a lot of fun together. They work hard.”
Now, the Storm have two more days to this stellar season.
“We’re prepared, so let’s be confident but not cocky,” Anderson said.
Battle Ground also made it to state in 2019. The Tigers are led by seniors Emma Elliott and Kelly Monaghan. Barr called them “the heartbeat of the program.”
Like Skyview, Battle Ground has a great mix of talented athletes from all four classes. In other words, do not be surprised to see these programs going on long runs in the future, as well.
Barr also noted that everyone going to state appreciates what they have gone through the past two years.
“I have a roster that is grateful to be able to play a full, true season,” Barr said. “These girls really enjoy being with each other. They are grateful.”
In Class 3A, Prairie and Heritage did not get the best of seeds, but they made it to state, which means they still have a shot at shocking their peers.
They also will have to win the play-in game at state in order to get to the traditional bracket. The 3A tournament is 20 teams, which means eight teams battle in play-in games to fill out the 16-team bracket.
Prairie, the 14-seed, faces No. 19 Timberline at 9 a.m. in Lacey. Heritage, the 20-seed, takes on No. 13 Monroe, also at 9 a.m. The winners will play in the round of 16 later in the day.
This is Prairie’s seventh state appearance in the last eight tournaments.
Heritage, meanwhile, is celebrating its return to state softball. Heritage last made it to state in 2010, going all the way to the championship game that year.
The 2A tournament is in Selah. Ridgefield, as the No. 9-seed, is representing Clark County. The Spudders finished third in the District 4 tournament, which likely led to the 9-seed. They are hoping to do a lot better, though.
After all, District 4 and the 2A Greater St. Helens League are traditional powers in this sport. The last three 2A state champions have come from District 4. And in 2019, three teams reached the final four, including Ridgefield.
The Spudders face Port Angeles at noon Friday. The quarterfinals are at 4 p.m.For more information on every softball tournament, go to the WIAA’s softball page: https://www.wiaa.com/subcontent.aspx?SecID=320