A rarity for WA 2B baseball championship: 2 teams from the same Tri-Cities league

Here’s a final look at some of our region’s top teams in spring high school sports:

2B baseball

For the second consecutive year, Jason Jarrett’s Tri-Cities Prep baseball team won the WIAA 2B state championship in Ephrata on May 25.

The Jaguars did it this time by beating neighborhood rival River View 2-1 in the title game.

It was the fourth time these two teams met this season, with the Panthers winning the two Eastern Washington Athletic Conference regular season games, and the Jaguars taking the district championship and the 2B state title game.

“The state title feels great,” said Prep coach Jason Jarrett. “To do it back-to-back is pretty impressive. As soon as we won, I thought ‘I want to do this again. Let’s go.’ Personally, all championships, no matter what classification, they are always difficult (to achieve).”

For River View, the Panthers’ second-place finish was the best the school has ever had.

“We finished third in 1991,” said Eisenbarth. “That 1991 team, we were 4 or 5 players deep, then the level dropped off.”

This Panthers team, though, anyone could step up at any moment and make a play.

“We had quality kids throughout the lineup,” said Eisenbarth of this year’s Panthers team. “There was no superstar on this team. Everybody was a B+ guy.”

To get into the title game, Prep beat Adna 1-0, while River View edged top-seeded Toutle Lake 3-2. Both games were semifinals.

“Caleb Sherfey pitched against Adna. He threw a good game, our defense was solid,” said Jarrett.

For Eisenbarth, getting past Toutle Lake was no easy task.

“In the semifinals, we faced No. 1 Toutle Lake and their pitcher Zach Swanson,” he said. “He’s the No. 1 recruit in the state, throws 95 mph. They were ahead 2-1, but we came back to win 3-2.”

River View, down 2-0, scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth, and then one run in the bottom of the seventh for the victory.

That set up the fourth and final meeting between the two Eastern Washington Athletic Conference rivals for the state championship.

“Having two EWAC teams in the championship game is fantastic,” said Jarrett. “Brian and I are both competitors. We won’t talk to each other on the field. But we talk together off the field.”

Eisenbarth’s team was ready to face the Jaguars again.

“We swept Tri-Cities Prep early in the year, beat them over there. We were really psyched,” he said. “Caleb Sherfey has been our nemesis. He beat us four times in one year. But we got to him in league.”

But Henry Douglas was the guy the Panthers would face. Both he and Sherfey are headed to Whitworth University in the fall to play baseball for the Pirates.

“In the final game against River View, Henry Douglas had a no-hitter going into the top of the seventh,” said Jarrett. “He really threw well. He really stepped up in that game.”

Still tied 1-1 going into the top of the sixth, Jarrett grabbed his team for a quick talk.

“We called everyone together, and I said performance is now. This is backyard baseball. Time to pick it up. They stepped it up and got it done,” said Jarrett, scoring the go-ahead run.

Eisenbarth said his guys just couldn’t get another run.

“Henry Douglas pitched well,” he said. “We were disappointed in the title game. We made some errors and gave them a run. But in the big picture, we only had one hit.”

4A boys soccer

Matt Potter’s Pasco boys came into the final four of the WIAA state soccer tournament ranked as the No. 1 team.

But soccer can be a funny game, as the Bulldogs left Puyallup with the fourth-place trophy on May 25.

Pasco lost in the May 24 semifinals to Camas 3-2, in a game that was decided by penalty kicks with a 7-6 score.

After that Camas loss, Potter talked with his team about how they played well enough to win that game, but sometimes things are out of your control.

Meanwhile, Sunnyside lost 3-1 to Mount Si in the other semifinal match.

In Saturday’s third-place game, Sunnyside held off Pasco 3-1.

Mount Si beat Camas 3-1 to win the 4A state title.

For Potter, it’s never easy to see his team drop two games in the final four. But it was one of his most enjoyable seasons as a head coach.

“One of the great things about this team is that they always enjoy each other,” he said. “The locker room, buses, team dinners, and practices were always filled with laughter and fun, and at the same time they are ultra-competitive when it is time to play.”

He’ll miss the seniors on this team. Some of them will move on to the collegiate level.

“This senior group went out with a record of 68-10, never having lost more then 3 games in a season, won the last three league titles, and the regional title two years in a row, made the final four twice, and quarterfinals once,” said Potter.

There was no state tournament their freshman year due to covid.

“This team,” Potter added, “is up there with the best we ever had at Pasco High. They scored the most goals of any of our teams, had one of the lowest goals-against average, and one of the best records (20-3).

1A softball

Lisa Lawrence was looking for a better finish for her Royal Knights at the 1A state tournament May 24-25 in Yakima.

The Knights finished second at state in 2023, so the only way to top that would be to win a state title.

That’s what they did.

But Royal had to win a loser-out play-in game to get there, beating Klahowya 10-0.

Seeded No. 8 in the tourney, the Knights then beat No. 1 seed Montesano 6-4; took down No. 4 seed Cedar Park Christian 6-4; and finally pounded No. 6 seed Seton Catholic 16-4 in the championship.

Royal finished the season with a 21-8 record.

1B girls track and field

DeSales’ 4x200 relay team finished second with a time of 1:52.40 at the WIAA 1B state track and field championships in Yakima on May 23-25.

The Irish team consisted of freshman Adri Caso, junior Helen Hellberg-Wilson, senior Regina Nelson, and sophomore Anniston Jimenez.

Nelson also scored fifth-place points in the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, 0.50 inches.

Garfield-Palouse won the team title with 79 points.

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