SPORTS: Port Angeles, Sequim and Quilcene seeking trophies at state softball tourneys

SELAH — Port Angeles and Sequim’s softball teams start their quest for 2A hardware today.

The Roughriders and Wolves, who have dominated the Olympic League this year, will try to make noise at the 2A championships, scheduled for Carlon Park in Selah.

Port Angeles (20-4), which earned third place at the West Central District tournament last weekend, will take on Granite Falls at noon today on Field 1 in the first round.

Sequim (21-2), meanwhile, will play host Selah at 10 a.m. on Field 4 after leaving the district tourney with the No. 5 seed to state.

The Riders, who went 16-2 in league after losing only to Sequim, went 3-1 at districts after pounding Orting 14-2 in the loser-out first round, surprising higher seed Franklin Pierce 6-1 in the quarterfinals before losing 3-0 to eventual champion White River in the semifinals.

White River did not give up a run at districts.

Port Angeles concluded district play by dominating Sumner, which had shocked Sequim in the quarterfinals, 10-2 in the third-fourth place game.

Seek first trophy

Now the work really starts for the Riders, who have never placed in state.

Port Angeles went 1-2 in 2009 and two-and-out in 2011.

Granite Falls, the first-round opponent, hasn’t had much better luck but does have a ton of state experience.

This will be the fifth consecutive year the Tigers have been to state, but they have not placed the last four seasons.

They were 1-6 in the past three years, but they did give eventual fourth-place Sequim a run for its money in the third consolation round last year, losing 4-3.

“We’re coming here to play one game at a time,” Port Angeles coach Randy Steinman said right after the Roughriders’ bus pulled into their hotel parking lot in Selah late Thursday afternoon.

“If we keep playing like we have been playing lately, we should do quite well.”

Steinman has scouted Granite Falls, and says the Tigers are a mirror-image of the Riders.

“They are just like us,” he said. “They have no big power, no home run hitters, and they play small ball just like us.

“All teams at state are good. You just need to make less mistakes to be able to keep playing.”

The winner between Port Angeles and Granite Falls will play the Othello and W.F. West winner in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. today on Field 2.

The defending state champion W.F. West Bearcats are a state powerhouse, winning first last year and third place both in 2011 and 2010.

The losers of the two first-round games will meet in the loser-out consolation quarterfinals at 2 p.m. on Field 2 today.

The Wolves, meanwhile, topped off a perfect unbeaten season in 2011 with their first state softball title.

They captured fourth place in state in 2012 and now will try to make it three state places in three years.

Last season the Wolves lost their first game, then won four in a row before dropping the consolation final to claim fourth.

The 4-2 record makes them 8-2 at state the past two years.

The 2013 Wolves looked almost as strong as 2011 in the beginning, losing just once in the preseason before romping through the Olympic League with an 18-0 record.

But they looked vulnerable at times at districts, receiving a bye in the first round but dropping the quarterfinal game 6-4 to Sumner.

Sequim then pounded Kingston 10-3 in the loser-out consolation semifinals before shutting down Olympic 11-0 in the consolation final to go 2-1 at districts and earn the No. 5 seed to state.

Like Sequim, host team Selah has a fair amount of state experience in recent years.

The Vikings will be playing in their fourth straight tournament, capturing fourth place in 2011 but not placing while going 2-2 each in the 2010 and 2012 tourneys.

The Sequim-Selah winner will play the Sedro-Woolley and Fife winner in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. on Field 3 today.

The losers play in the consolation loser-out quarterfinals at 2 p.m. on Field 3.

The state championship game is set for 2 p.m. Saturday on Field 4.

The third-place game will be at 2:30 p.m. on Field 3 on Saturday.

Rangers eying

1B championship

YAKIMA — Quilcene is going to ride sophomore standout pitcher Sammy Rae in the 1B state tournament at Gateway Sports Complex.

Other pitchers have give the Rangers some good innings this year, but coach Mark Thompson said Rae will likely be the only one to take the mound at state.

“I think our only chance of winning at this level is with Sammy on the mound,” Thompson said.

The Rangers open the tournament against the same team they opened the 2012 tournament with, Almira Coulee Hartline.

The Warriors won 12-2, but Thompson said his team is “clearly” better than last year, especially defensively.

Almira Coulee Hartline will test that defense with its small ball approach. Last year, the Warriors bunted six times.

Thompson is confident his team is not only improved, but that they are capable of winning state.

Of the Rangers’ four losses, only one came when they were playing their starters, and that was against the Port Angeles JV team.

“I have to think that all eight teams are going into this thinking they have a chance to win it all,”

“If the ball bounces the right way, any team can win if they have talent. We have the talent.”

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