Meridian will face Vashon Island in the 10 a.m. opener, with Nooksack Valley taking on Tenino at 1 p.m. The winners of both games will play at 4 p.m. for a shot to advance to the final four of the Class 1A State Tournament in Yakima.
Vashon Island vs. Meridian
10 a.m. Saturday, May 21, at Castle Rock High School
Scouting the Pirates
League: Nisqually League (first)
District: West Central (second)
Previous state appearances: 72
State playoff record: 4-9
State titles: None
Vashon Island had its seven-game winning streak snapped with a district tournament loss to Cascade Christian before rebounding with a 10-4 win over Seattle Christian on Saturday, May 14, in a winner-to-state game. The Pirates trailed after the first half inning, but scored seven runs in the first three innings and took a 7-4 lead. Ashton Dulfer and Jeremy Pilgrim-Stoppel pitched for Vashon. The Pirates finished their conference season with a 12-0 record and have won nine of their past 11 games.
Scouting the Trojans
League: 1A Northwest Conference (eighth)
District: Northwest/Sea-King (second)
Previous state appearances: 14
State playoff record: 15-14
State titles: None
Meridian has bounced back nicely after starting the season with a 1-6 record. The Trojans have won 10 of their past 14 games. Meridian played for a bi-district title Saturday, May 14, but suffered a 3-2 loss to Cedar Park Christian during a game in which coach Steve Slesk was not pleased with the team’s execution. Derek Campfield pitched well, but allowed three hits in an inning, and back-to-back walks came back to burn the senior left-hander. Tyler Linderman and Lucas Hemenway were responsible for the Trojans’ only hits of the game.
Key to the game: Expect Meridian to execute much better this time, and Derek Campfield gives the Trojans a pitcher with a wealth of big-game experience. Countering Campfield could be Nisqually League MVP Ashton Dufner, who led the league in batting average. Saturday’s game marks the first time these two teams have met in the state tournament
Herald’s pick: Meridian 5-3
Nooksack Valley vs. Tenino
1 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Castle Rock High School
Scouting the Pioneers
League: 1A Northwest Conference (ninth)
District: Northwest/Sea-King (fourth)
Previous state appearances: 6
State playoff record: 4-6
State titles: None
Nooksack Valley got a strong pitching effort from Noah Rawls in a winner-to-state 7-3 win over King’s on Saturday, May 14, before losing to Overlake 5-0 in a seeding game later in the afternoon. The Pioneers benefited against some erratic King’s pitching, but Casey Bauman got Nooksack Valley started with a go-ahead two-run single in the fourth inning. The Pioneers were stifled by Overlake’s pitching during the second game. This is the second straight season Nooksack Valley has qualified for the state tournament.
Scouting the Beavers
League: 1A Evergreen (fifth)
District: Southwest (first)
Previous state appearances: 11
State playoff record: 16-10
State titles: 1 (1986)
Tenino was up and down throughout most of the regular season, winning three straight games only once, but the Beavers got hot during the district tournament and won three straight against King’s Way Christian (4-3), Eatonville (8-2) and Hoquiam (7-5). The Beavers trailed 4-2 in the fifth inning against Hoquiam before posting five runs to put the game away for good. Kaleb Strawn, who got the start on the mound, had three doubles. Strawn struck out eight and walked five.
Key to the game: Both teams come into this matchup with questionable overall records, but Nooksack Valley and Tenino seem to be playing their best baseball right now. Anytime Noah Rawls takes the mound, he gives the Pioneers a great chance to win. Expect him to be at his best Saturday. The major question will be if Nooksack Valley (3.7 runs per game) will be able to score enough runs.
Herald’s pick: Nooksack Valley 4-2