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Softball | General | 5/4/2022

HS Playoff Preview: Far West

Jerry Miller     
Photo: Perfect Game
The Far West is an interesting mix of weather, fields, and the number of high schools that play fastpitch in the spring. The challenges associated with inconsistent weather patterns – snow one day, 75 degrees the next – a week of sun followed by a week of rain – are just a few of the curveballs Mother Nature deals to the folks out west.

Then there is Hawaii. No problems is paradise, except for getting transportation lined up to get from island to island. Through all the inherent inconsistencies and uncontrollable weather, the hardy folks out west, and that includes players, coaches, and fans from Alaska….and YES, they do play high school softball in Alaska in the spring, manage to play a fairly full schedule and compete at a very high level for championships.



Idaho

The Idaho High School Activities Association has their state softball championships lined up for the weekend of May 20-21. The Association will crown five champions, from 1A to 5A, at various locations around the state.

The 1A level, which will converge on the Moscow City Fields, finds Potlach, Greenleaf Friends Academy (Greenleaf), and Kendrick leading the way heading into the first week of May.

A host of teams are apparently prepared to battle it out for the 2A title in Orofino. Malad, West Jefferson (Terreton), St. Maries, West Side (Dayton), Melba, New Plymouth, Declo, and host city, Orofino all have solid squads and have posted double digit win totals early on.

The 3A division sees five solid clubs at the forefront, each of which is capable of taking home the gold trophy from Buhl, when that conference holds their championship round in a few weeks. Homedale, Marsh Valley (Arimo), Gooding, Weiser, and Timberlake (Spirit Lake), have the pitching, defense, and offense to dominate. The team that eventually comes out victorious, will have certainly earned their championship.

Bishop Kelly (Boise), Emmett, Vallivue (Caldwell), Twin Falls, and Pocatello head up a very competitive 4A division which will see its conference play for a championship in Post Falls. The 4A level is not shy of solid teams and there could very well be a club not mentioned that could carry the weekend when the 4A title is decided.

Coeur d’Alene and Lake City HS will play host to the big school, 5A division in a few weeks. Good luck figuring out a favorite in this conference as there are a number of quality teams that all appear capable of taking home the championship banner. Skyview (Nampa) is currently dominating and is undefeated at 21-0. They are joined at the top by Owyhee (Meridian), Coeur d’Alene, Timberline (Boise), Eagle, Post Falls, and Lewiston.

Utah

St. George and Provo will play host to the Utah High School Activities Association softball championships this month. The Spanish Fork Softball Complex in St. George will see the 2A-3A division roll into town May 12-14. Brooks Field and Dixie State University in St. George will host the 4A conference May 20-21. The two upper divisions, 5A and 6A, will play for their respective titles May 26-27 at Miller Park on the Brigham Young University campus in Provo, May 26-27.

A host of schools dominate the 2A-3A level. While nothing is a certainty in athletics and especially post-season play, the teams currently leading the way are certainly favorites to compete for the championship. Dushesne, Enterprise, Gunnison Valley (Gunnison), and Beaver all have solid 2A clubs, while Carbon (Price), Grantsville, Manti, Emery (Castledale), South Summit (Kamas), and Morgan are all talented 3A teams that are having solid regular seasons.

The competition at the 4A level appears, at least on paper, to be fairly even as four teams lead a bevy of solid clubs. Crimson Cliffs (Washington), Bear River (Garland), Ridgeline (Millville), and Snow Canyon (St. George) have posted impressive regular season records. It would not be surprising to see one of these clubs come out on top of this conference.

The 5A division is tough. It would be understated to say that earning a trip to Provo will be intense. There are eight teams at the top of the 5A rankings with the capabilities to win the whole thing. There are an equal number right outside that lead group that could also prevail. Spanish Fork has had a notable spring and appears to be a slight favorite heading into the playoffs. Uintah (Vernal), Wasatch (Heber City), Bountiful, Springville, Bonneville (Washington Terrace), Salem Hills (Salem), and Lehi have won double digit games during the regular season and will all contend for the title.

In 6A, Riverton, Skyridge (Lehi), Mountain Ridge (Herriman), Bingham (South Jordan), and Fremont (Plain City) head up an impressive list of quality programs. The competition for the 6A crown will be fierce, as the quality and depth of talent at this level rivals any in the country.

Washington

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association is in midseason form as a number of teams at six different levels are prepping for a drive to the state championships at the end of the month. The 1B and 2B titles will be played for at the Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima. Columbia Playfield in Richland will host the 1A division, while Carlon Park in Selah will see the 2A division come to town. The Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey will entertain the 3A conference and lastly, Spokanes’s Merkel Sports Complex will host the 4A division.

Leading the way in the 1B division this spring are a host of schools who have had solid seasons to date. Almira-Coulee-Hartline (Coulee City), Inchelium, Liberty Christian (Richland), Waterville-Mansfield (Waterville), and Mossyrock are all poised to contend for the 1B crown.

In Conference 2B, five solid programs are leading the way. Okanogan, Colfax, Onalaska, Lake Roosevelt (Coulee Dam), and Pe Ell-Willapa Valley (Menlo) are all capable of making a deep playoff run and taking home the title.

The 1A division sees a log jam at the top. Nooksack Valley (Everson), Castle Rock, Mount Baker (Deming), Royal (Royal City), Hoquiam, and Freeman (Rockford) have posted solid numbers this spring and look to be on a collision course towards he state title.

Port Angeles, Othello, Ridgefield, Tumwater, and Sedro-Woolley are the Class 2A front-runners and have the inside track to advance to Selah and play for the championship banner.

In class 3A, Lake Washington (Kirkland) heads up a strong group of very talented programs who have their sights set on making the trip to Lacey. Roosevelt (Seattle), Walla Walla, Bonney Lake, and Everett are also prime contenders. These squads all have dominant pitching and strong offenses.

Lastly, the 4A division is wide open. There are a number of clubs that could get hot the last two weeks of the season and carry momentum all the way through to the championship. It is anyone’s guess as to who may ultimately prevail when the 4A championship is decided, but the eventual winner will have certainly earned their gold trophy. Jackson (Mill Creek), Glacier Park (Snohomish), Puyallup, Skyview (Vancouver), Kentwood (Covington), Bothell, Olympia, and Moses Lake all have the rosters headed by strong pitching, to end up at the top of the podium when the dust settles in Spokane in a few weeks.

Oregon

The University of Oregon in Eugene will serve as the site for the Oregon Schools Activities Association state softball championships June 3-4. The 1A–3A levels will play on June 3 while the 4A – 6A divisions will play on June 4.

The 1A/2A division is led by Lakeview, Glide, Oakridge, Toledo, Monroe, Knappa (Astoria), Bandon, and Gaston. These highly competitive clubs have had solid regular seasons and appear ready to make a drive towards the title.

The 3A division looks like it could be highly contested all the way through the playoffs and to the championship as any number of teams have the talent to win it all. Burns, Carlton (Yamhill), Scio, Dayton, and Creswell have posted double digit wins this spring and are primed for the playoffs.

Division 4A is also a conference that has a number of clubs quite capable of winning the title. Marist (Eugene), Astoria, Ontario, LaGrande, Stayton, and Estacada highlight this deep and very talented division.

Lebanon, Crater (Central Point), Silverton, and Eagle Point have separated themselves in the 5A division. These strong and athletic teams are laser focused on reaching the championships and winning the title.

The 6A division is led by powerhouse and undefeated Bend (16-0). Also in the mix for the 6A crown are Canby, Oregon City, McMinnville, and Sherwood.

Hawaii

The always-entertaining and highly-competitive Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships will be held at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium on the University of Hawaii campus and Maui High School over the course of the next few weeks. The Division I title will be decided beginning May 9 at UH while the Division II championships will begin May 11 at Maui HS.

The top teams in the state this year in no particular order are Miliani, Maryknoll, ‘Lolani, Kapolei, Kamehameha, Campbell, Leilehua, Panahou, Baldwin, Kalawi, Kealakehe, Maui, and Nanakuli.

Alaska

YES….Alaska! The Alaska School Activities Association will hold their state finals at South Davis Park in Fairbanks from June 2-4. Two division crowns will be contested for next month.

In Division I, powerhouse Colony (Palmer) has posted 20 wins during the regular season and looks to be the odds on favorite to contest for the championship. They will be challenged along the way by Chugiak, West Valley (Fairbanks), Bettye Davis East Anchorage (Anchorage), and Eagle River.

Juneau-Douglas (Juneau), North Pole, Thunder Mountain, Ketchikan, Kodiak, and Palmer are the Division II front runners. The natural rivalries in this conference will make for intense competition as each drive for the championship banner.

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