After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state high school fastpitch tournament is back this season with several local teams punching their ticket to the event by navigating through district play.

Olympia, Rochester, Timberline, Tumwater and Yelm all secured berths into their respective state tournament, which begins at various sites on Friday, May 27.

Olympia (17-6) advanced to the 4A state tournament for the first time since 2015 after placing fourth at the 4A District 3/4 tournament. The Bears opened their postseason by knocking off Decatur, 3-2, before falling to eventual district champion Kentwood, 2-1, in the semifinals and to Puyallup, the district’s top seed, in the placing round (12-7).

Olympia, the state’s No. 9 seed, faces No. 8 Redmond (20-9) in the opening round of state at Dwight Merkel Sports Complex in Spokane with the winner facing the winner of No. 1 Kentwood and No. 16 Hanford in the quarterfinals.

The Bears are led on offense by junior Laila Smith (.383 batting average, 17 RBI, 3 HR), freshman Brooklyn Crass (.375/16/2), senior Gracie Ray (.369/15/3), sophomore Sam Potvin (.361/26/3) and freshman Ava Bautista (.340/13/3).

Yelm senior Vivian Watts pitches during the Tornados' district game against Prairie.
Yelm senior Vivian Watts pitches during the Tornados’ district game against Prairie. Photo credit: Grant Clark

Timberline and Yelm will both stay local to compete in the 3A state tournament, which will be held at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.

Yelm, which is seeking is fourth top 3 placing since 2017, enter as the tourney’s No. 8 seed, while the Blazers are No. 19.

Timberline (11-11) plays No. 14 Prairie at 9 a.m. in a loser-out game, which will be a familiar position for the Blazers as the squad won three loser-out contests at the district tournament to secure the program’s first state trip since 2008. Timberline, which was the Class 3A state runner-up 14 years ago, hammered Auburn Mountainview, 12-1, to grab the district’s seventh and final state slot.

Junior outfielder Tori Trotter paced the Blazers’ offense during the regular season, battling .596 with 28 hits, 24 RBI and four homeruns. Fellow junior Carissa Frederick was second on the team with a .367 batting average and 23 RBI.

Yelm (18-5) will play No. 9 Cascade (Everett) in the first round at 2 p.m. with a potential quarterfinal matchup looming against top-seeded Walla Walla.

The Tornados have been one of the most consistent teams in the 3A ranks over the last decade, advancing to the state semifinals three consecutive seasons (2017-2019) and making a pair of trips to the title game where they finished second in 2017 and 2019.

Yelm was one of five Thurston County high school fastpitch teams to advance to the state tournament. The Tornados will play in the Class 3A state tournament at the RAC in Lacey. Photo credit: Grant Clark

Yelm kicked off its postseason by winning a wild 18-16 contest over third-seeded Auburn Riverside in the 3A District 3/4 tournament. Ashlyn Aven drove in five runs, highlighted by a triple and two homeruns, while teammate Elena Castanon went five-for-five at the plate and smacked a seventh-inning homer for the Tornados in the win.

Yelm rebounded from a 10-0 loss to No. 2 Bonney Lake in the district semifinals by defeating No. 4 Prairie to grab the district’s third seed.

The Tornados placed second in their last state appearance in 2019, losing in the championship to Garfield (10-4), and are a combined 11-3 over the program’s last three state tournaments.

Much like Yelm, the Tumwater seniors will also look to bookend their high school careers with state trophies. The Thunderbirds finished fourth three years ago at the Class 2A state tournament, the program’s best finish since placing second in 2012.

Sixth-seeded Tumwater (19-2) will play No. 11 North Kitsap in the first round of state at Carlon Park in Selah with the winner facing the winner of the game between No. 3 Lynden and No. 14 Rochester.

Molly Embrey puts the ball in play during the first inning of Yelm’s district win over Prairie. Photo credit: Grant Clark

The T-Birds advanced to the 2A District 4 title game after beating Hockinson, 7-6, in the first round and Rochester, 9-3, in the semifinals. Tumwater saw its season-high 13 game-winner streak end in the district championship game when it lost to 2A Evergreen Conference rival W.F. West, 4-2. Tumwater’s Jaylene Manriquez broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run blast, but it proved to be not enough as the Bearcats pushed four runners across home plate in the top of the seventh to capture the district crown.

Rochester is making its second state tournament trip ever and it’s first since 2000 when it finished fourth after placing third at districts. The Warriors upset R.A. Long, the district’s No. 2 seed, in the opening round of districts (7-4). After losing to Tumwater, Rochester defeated Aberdeen, 10-4, in a loser-out/winner-to-state game.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email