It’s the goal of every sports program – playing your best at the end of season. Few squads locally have been able to do that year after year as well as the River Ridge High School baseball team
And this year is no different as Arko has River Ridge back again in the Class 2A state playoffs.
River Ridge (19-6) will head to Johnson O’Brien Stadium in Ephrata to open the 2A state tournament on May 18 against two-time defending state champion Ellensburg (14-5). The game will have a 10:00 a.m. first pitch with the winner moving on the quarterfinals to face either North Kitsap (13-4) or Selah (18-2).
The Hawks claimed the No. 3 seed out of the 2A West Central District with an 11-8 victory over Lindbergh in the seeding round on May 11.
River Ridge defeated Steilacoom, 7-4, in the district quarterfinals and lost, 5-1, to 2A South Puget Sound League champion Fife in the semifinals.
This marks the sixth time in school history the Hawks have advanced to the state tournament and their first appearance since 2016. All six state berths have been under Arko’s watch. River Ridge will now look to post its first opening round victory since 2009.
Ellensburg, runner-up of the 2A CWAC, has won back-to-back state championships, defeating Mountlake Terrace, 2-1, last year and W.F. West, 5-1, in 2017. The Bulldogs have won nine consecutive state tournament games, last losing in the 2016 semifinals to Selah, 5-1.
River Ridge is led by senior Jeter Larson, the 2A South Puget Sound League most valuable player. The Hawks also feature first-team all-2A SPSL players Blake Anderson, Samuel Flynn, Ryley Larson and Sehyun Park, second teamer Dillan Crouch and honorable mention selections Alex Noll and Josh Prouty.
Capital (12-13) and Timberline (13-11) both head to the 3A state tournament following strong showings at the 3A West Central District tournament. Both teams advanced to the semifinals before the Blazers knocked off the Cougars, 14-3, to secure the No. 3 seed.
Timberline, which knocked off Pierce County League Wilson, 4-0, in the district quarterfinals, will square off against Mount Spokane (21-2) in the first round on May 18 at County Stadium in Yakima. The game is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. with Lake Washington (21-2) playing Kamiakin (20-2) in the opposite bracket.
The Blazers are making their fifth state appearance over the last six year.
Capital, which needed to win a pigtail game just to make the district tournament, plays Mercer Island (13-8) in the first round at 1:00 p.m. at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. Edmonds-Woodway (14-10) and Mountain View, which knocked off Timberline, 5-1, in the district semifinals, play in the opening game at 10:00 a.m.
Capital, which already has a pair of state baseball titles on its resume, advances to the state tournament for a third consecutive season and the 20th time overall. The Cougars defeated Lakeside of Seattle, 3-2, in the first round last year before being eliminated by Edmonds-Woodway, 11-6, in the quarterfinals.
Olympia (15-9) is back in the 4A state tournament for the first time since 2013 after securing the district’s No. 6 seed with a 15-2 drubbing of Enumclaw.
The Bears face Skyline (19-3) at 1:00 p.m. in the first round at Everett Stadium with the winner advancing to play the victor of Central Valley and Federal Way.
It marks just the second time both Olympia and Capital have been in the state tournament in the same year and the first time since 2008.
For the first time in program history, Rainier (17-7) is making consecutive trips to the 2B state playoffs.
The Mountaineers, who enter state as the district’s No. 3 seed after knocking off Ocosta, 7-4, will face a familiar foe in 2B Central League rival Adna (17-4) in the opening round at 10:00 a.m. at Yelm High School. The Pirates won both regular season meetings against Rainier, winning 6-5 and 6-4 during a double header on April 9.
Wahkiakum and Friday Harbor play in the second game at 1:00 p.m. with winners meeting in the quarterfinals at 4:00 p.m.