By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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The Wolves struggled at the district tournament in 2013 and took the fifth seed into the state tournament.
There, they had to open with host and eventual state champion Selah and then fell to a hot Sedro-Woolley team.
The 2011 state champs and 2012 fourth-place finishers were two-and-out.
This year, Sequim (19-4) was the district runner-up and opens state against a sub-.500 team in Capital (10-12) today at noon at Carlon Park.
“It's all about seeding and draws,” Wolves coach Mike McFarlen said Thursday shortly after arriving in Selah.
“We play Capital first, and on paper, we should be able to beat them.”
With this set up, the Wolves have more hardware in mind.
“I hope to be in a trophy game,” McFarlen said.
The top four teams win trophies.
Sequim also will face some familiar competition at state.
“The nice thing is we've played half the teams and beaten them,” McFarlen said.
The Wolves have faced Port Angeles, Fife, Anacortes, White River, Orting and Lynden this season.
Riders' tough draw
Port Angeles, meanwhile, has a tough road ahead.
“We have a tough draw,” Roughriders coach Randy Steinman said. “Probably the toughest.”
Port Angeles (15-7) starts the state tournament against Lake Washington, which enters state with an 18-1 record, at noon today at Carlon Park in Selah.
The Kangaroos' ace pitcher, Tori Bivens, is good enough that there are videos of her pitching on YouTube, which the Riders' coaches have been watching this week.
Steinman said Bivens also pitches for Team Seattle, which is the select team of University of Washington coach Heather Tarr.
Steinman compares Bivens to Sequim's Makayla Bentz, who excels more with pitch location than throwing heat.
Despite the Kangaroos' credentials, Port Angeles won't bow down for Lake Washington.
“We think we can compete with anybody,” Steinman said.
“Last year we came [to state] and won one, and now the girls want to win two.”
Quilcene excited confident
YAKIMA — A reasonable goal for a team that finished fourth at state in 2013 would be more hardware this year.
But the Rangers are just happy to be back at state.
“We just want to represent our school and community and play our best,” Quilcene coach Mark Thompson said.
“Anything other than that is a bonus.”
That being said, another state trophy is a reasonable “bonus” for the Rangers to aim for.
They return most of their team from last year's fourth-place team, and they've all improved.
“Considerably,” Thompson said. “Everybody's better.”
Quilcene has improved its pitching depth this season with three solid starters, but Thompson said the Rangers will ride junior standout Sammy Rae's arm for as long as she can pitch.
But it won't all be on her shoulder. Quilcene's defense has made strides since the middle of the season, which should help Rae keep her pitch count down and allow her to pitch more innings.
The Rangers open the tournament today at 1 p.m. against Almira-Coulee-Hartline, which defeated Quilcene in the opening game of last year's state tournament.
The winner of that game will face the winner between Oakville and Colton, which has won five straight state titles, at 5 p.m.
It's a tough draw, but Quilcene feels it can compete against any team.
“Confidence certainly isn't something our players and coaches lack,” Thompson said.