One year removed form deep playoff runs in the 2B State Tournament, the Pe Ell-Willapa Valley Vikings and Ocosta Wildcats open their quests for state supremacy this weekend at the Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima.
2B State Tournament
Pe Ell-Willapa Valley vs. Liberty Christian
Two seasons removed from winning a state title, the Pe Ell-Willapa Valley Titans are primed for another deep tournament run.
PWV put the entire 2B section on notice last weekend, romping through the competition and shutting out the state’s No. 1 team at the time — the Adna Pirates — 7-0 to clinch the 2B District IV title.
The Titans (19-4 overall) jumped up a few spots in the maxpreps.com 2B rankings after the dominant win over Adna and sit behind the Pirates as the state’s No. 2 team.
PWV got there using a prodigous offense that has scored 10 or more runs in 18 of its 23 games.
The Titans’ offense is led by reigning Pacific League MVP Britney Patrick, who is hitting .536 with seven home runs, 44 RBI and 39 runs scored.
But Patrick is one of several sluggers featured in PWV’s lineup. Twelve PWV players are hitting .400 or higher (minimum 10 games), leading to a team batting average of .458 and team on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of 1.279.
As the season has progressed, Olivia Matlock has emerged as the ace of the Titans staff. The freshman right-hander is 10-2 on the season with a 1.23 ERA, 99 strikeouts and seven shutouts.
After losing its first-round game in the 2B District V/VI Tournament, Liberty Christian earned its trip to the state tourney through the consolation bracket, taking third in district with a 14-10 win over Tonasket.
The Patriots (17-7) finished third in the EWAC league this season and are led by senior Maddie Goodwin (.700, 48 R, 21 RBI).
Liberty Christian’s lineup features five starters hitting .450 or better and the Patriots hit .441 as a team, though they lack power. Of the Patriots’ 288 hits this season, 45 have been for extra bases with just one home run on the season.
The Patriots rely on a two-pronged pitching staff of senior Abby Croskrey and sophomore Emma Reed. But both have allowed their fair share of runs this season, with Croskrey giving up 52 earned runs in 68 innings pitched (5.35 ERA) and Reed allowing 52 earned runs in 63 innings (5.78 ERA).
The first round state-playoff game is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Friday in Yakima.
Ocosta vs. Colfax
The Ocosta Wildcats extended their season by getting hot at the right time.
After losing in the 2B District IV Tournament to Onalaska, the Wildcats ran off three consecutive wins and returned the favor by beating the Loggers 16-1 in the district third-place game.
Ocosta (14-10) is led by senior shortstop Kaylee Barnum, who was recognized as the Pacific League MVP in 2018 and had another tremendous season this year. Barnum is batting a team-best .610 with nine home runs, 34 RBI and a prolific 1.960 OPS.
With Wildcats catcher Kristi Raffelson (.500, 5 HR, 1.635 OPS) hitting behind Barnum in the lineup, Ocosta has a 1-2 punch in the middle of the lineup capable of knocking pitches out of the park.
Mekenna Fletcher will likely get the start for Ocosta. The junior has thrown the bulk of the innings for Ocosta this season and is 7-4 with a 5.93 ERA in 69 2/3 innings pitched.
In Colfax, the Wildcats will face a young, yet talented team that won the NE-South League.
The fourth-ranked Bulldogs (20-3) have just two seniors on the roster, but have plenty of pop in the offense, scoring at least 10 runs in seven of its last 10 games.
Most of Colfax’s offensive damage comes from players such as leadoff hitter Raine Jones, Helina Hahn and Perry Imler.
Jorja Koerner does the bulk of the work in the circle and pitches to contact. The freshman has allowed five earned runs on 15 hits with six strikeouts over her last three outings (14 innings pitched).
The dog-and-cat fight is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Friday in Yakima.