4 Mid-Columbia players get rare chance at softball national championship this week

It’s very rare when an athlete gets to play for a national championship.

But four Mid-Columbia softball players are getting that chance this weekend with Western Washington University.

Connell graduate Emma Andrewjeski-Ramirez, Chiawana grad Lexi Barcomb, Southridge graduate McKenna Crum, and Kennewick High grad Amaya Davis are all playing key roles for the Vikings, who are 52-10 this season.

Western has been playing in the NCAA Division II World Series this week in Longwood, Fla., and the Vikings won their half of the bracket of four teams to make it to the finals against Texas-Tyler (56-8) in a best-of-3 series final.

Game 1 is set for 9 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, May 24.

Game 2 will start at 9 a.m. Pacific on Saturday, May 25. If there is a need for a Game 3, it will start at 11:30 a.m., Pacific, on Saturday.

Western head coach Sheryl Gilmore got her Vikings team off to a 13-0 start this season, and they just kept on winning.

They won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season title, grabbed the post-season tournament crown, then hosted and won the NCAA D-2 West Regional tournament.

WWU also hosted Cal State Dominguez Hills in a best-of-3, West Super Regional series, and the Vikings won it 2 games to 1.

That clinched a berth in the eight-team World Series in Florida.

After opening the tournament with a 2-1 win over Wilmington (Delaware), Western lost 10-1 to Texes-Tyler, sending them into the losers bracket.

The Vikings responded with a 7-1 elimination victory over Auburn Montgomery. Then they had to beat Indianapolis twice to get into the finals, and they did.

Western beat Indianapolis 2-1 in 12 innings, then stopped them 7-1.

Andrewjeski-Ramirez is a transfer from BYU. As a junior catcher, she was named second-team All-GNAC this season, batting .300 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs.

Barcomb is a junior outfielder, and is hitting .268 with 8 RBIs; while Crum (a transfer from Seattle University) is a junior outfielder who is hitting .291, has 18 RBIs, and has stolen 10 bases.

Davis, a junior infielder, has been a solid backup who can run and field.

Prep softball


Both Richland and Hanford have a lot of youngsters on their respective rosters as the WIAA state 4A softball tournament gets under way this weekend at Columbia Playfields in Richland.

Casey Emery’s Bombers (25-3) were assigned the No. 3 seed in the 16-team tournament. Richland has just three seniors on the squad.

The Bombers, led by Mid-Columbia Conference Player of the Year, junior Sophia Sams, open tournament play at 9 a.m. Friday against No. 14 Sumner.

Meanwhile, Mick Hokanson’s Hanford Falcons (22-2) are even younger, with just two seniors and seven freshmen.

One of those seniors, Carah Sweet, was named MCC Pitcher of the Year.

The Falcons finished second in the MCC regular-season standings. But the won the District 8 title.

The seeding committee gave Hanford the No. 4 seed into the tournament, and the Falcons open state play 11 a.m. Friday against No. 13 North Creek of Bothell.

Skyview of Vancouver is the top seed coming in.

Here are Friday’s first-round games:

9 a.m. contests — Battle Ground vs. Kamiak; Sumner vs. Richland; Glacier Peak vs. Olympia; Eastmont vs. Jackson (Everett).

11 a.m. contests — Redmond vs. Kentwood; North Creek vs. Hanford; Emerald Ridge vs. Moses Lake; Puyallup vs. Skyview.


Othello was awarded a No. 9 seed in Sunday’s draw at the WIAA offices.

The Huskies (18-5) will open state tournament play at 11 a.m. Friday against No. 9 seed Olympic.

The tournament will be at Carlon Park in Selah, with the championship set for 3 p.m., Saturday.

Sedro Woolley is the top seed.


College Place and Royal will be among the 12 teams that play in the state tournament, set for Thursday through Saturday at Columbia Playifield in Richland.

Seventh-seeded College Place (17-7) will take on No. 10 Cascade Christian (19-5) in a loser-out contest at 3 p.m. Thursday.

No. 8 Royal (18-8) will battle No. 9 Klahowya (17-5) in another loser-out game at 3 p.m., Friday.

The tournament’s top seed in Montesano (21-4).

The tournament championship game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday.


Warden is the only Mid-Columbia team that qualified for the state tournament, which will be played Friday and Saturday at the Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima.

The Cougars earned a No. 6 ranking in the 12-team tournament, and they’ll open play against No. 11 Lind-Ritzville-Sprague at 10 a.m. Friday in a loser-out contest.

Adna is the No. 1 seed, and the tourney title game is set for 3 p.m. Saturday.


Two-time defending state champion Liberty Christian of Richland is once again the top seed in the eight-team state tournament, which begins Friday at the Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima.

The Patriots (21-4-1) will open first-round play at noon on Friday against No. 8 Naselle.

Meanwhile, LC’s Southeast 1B rival DeSales (20-6-1) is seeded third, and the Irish also open play at noon on Friday against No. 6 Darrington.

The tournament championship game is set for 3 p.m. Saturday.

Jeff Morrow is former sports editor for the Tri-City Herald.