Richland baseball in Final 4. They lead the way for 5 area schools in WA semifinals

To make it to the final four in state high school baseball — involving 1A through 4A classifications, anyway — a team needs to have two solid starting pitchers.

That’s because to get through the first two rounds, a team has to play twice on the Saturday before the semifinals.

A solid 1-2 punch of starters — sprinkled in with some tough relievers, if need be — can help a team get to the state finals.

Richland baseball coach Grant Richardson has such a situation, although he begs to differ on the description of his starters.

“We don’t have a 1-2 punch,” Richardson told the Herald last Saturday. “We have a 1-1 punch.”

Dallas Bennett started for the Bombers last Saturday in a 7-4 win over No. 16 seed Woodinville.

Then Alec Ammerman came out in the Class 4A quarterfinals later that day and tossed a complete-game, 3-0 shutout of Gonzaga Prep at Richland High School.

That allows the top-seeded Bombers, at 25-0, to return to the Class 4A state semifinals, which run Friday and Saturday at Gesa Stadium in Pasco.

It’s the first time Richland’s been to the final four since 2022, when the Bombers finished third.

Is this Richardson’s best team?

“In some ways, for sure,” he said after Saturday’s quarterfinal win. “We’ve had some games where we’ve had to scratch and claw to win.”

Richardson likes this team. A lot.

“Their character is awesome,” he said. “They know how to win.”

And they all like each other.

“Everyone is friends,” said Ammerman. “We all just want to go out and have fun.”

So the Bombers know that they’ll have two more games of fun this weekend: a semifinal on Friday, and either a state championship game or a third-place game on Saturday.

Here is a weekend schedule for the 4A contests if you’re headed out to Gesa Stadium this weekend:

Friday, May 24

Semifinal 1, Bothell (18-10) vs. Puyallup (21-3), 9:30 a.m.

Semifinal 2, North Creek (21-5) vs. Richland (25-0), 12:45 p.m.

Saturday, May 25

Third-place game: losers of semifinals, 9:30 a.m.

Championships: winners of semifinals, 4 p.m.

Class 3A

Top-seeded Kennewick was upset in the first round of the state tournament last Saturday at Roy Johnson Field, falling 11-8 to No. 17 seed Mercer Island.

The Islanders hit Lions pitchers quite well in the sixth and seventh innings, scoring four runs in each frame.

Kennewick tried to answer, scoring two in the sixth and three more in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to 11-8. In fact, the Lions had the bases loaded with nobody out. But the final three batters struck out.

Kennewick finishes with a 21-4 record.

Southridge, meanwhile, lost at No. 2 Lake Washington 9-3 on Saturday. That ended the No. 18 Suns’ season with a 12-13 record.

Meanwhile, the semifinals are set for this coming Friday at Gesa Stadium in Pasco.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:

Friday, May 24

Semifinal 1, Mount Vernon (25-3) vs. Edmonds-Woodway (21-5-1), 4 p.m.

Semifinal 2, West Seattle (20-5) vs. Eastside Catholic (20-7), 7:15 p.m.

Saturday, May 25

Third-place game, semifinal losers, 12:45 p.m.

Championship, semifinal winners, 7:15 p.m.

Class 1A

The Kiona-Benton Bears saw their season end on Saturday when they lost their first-round state tournament game in Camas, falling to Meridian 3-0.

Head coach Arturo Lucatero’s Bears finished the season with a 15-10-1 record.

Class 2B

The chance that Tri-Cities Prep and River View — Eastern Washington Athletic Conference rivals — could meet in the state championship is still alive after both teams won their state quarterfinal playoff games last Saturday at LaPierre Field in Kennewick.

In the morning, Prep took down Asotin 2-0, as Jaguars starter Caleb Sherfey scattered four hits and struck out seven batters in a complete-game shutout.

Jason Jarrett, the Jaguars’ head coach, said his players all like each other. And as defending state champions, they don’t seem to feel the pressure of repeating.

“They’re pretty relaxed,” said Jarrett after Saturday’s win. “They seem to turn it on when they need to.”

Meanwhile, Brian Eisenbarth’s River View Panthers outslugged Napavine 9-7 in the afternoon game to keep rolling.

So now the teams head to Ephrata, where Tri-Cities Prep opens the state semifinals against Adna at 10 a.m. Friday.

River View will take on the tournament’s top seed, Toutle Lake, at 1 p.m.

The winners will meet at 4 p.m. Saturday in Ephrata for the state title, while Friday’s losers meet for third place at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Class 1B

Last Saturday, both DeSales and Liberty Christian won their state quarterfinal games.

The Irish knocked out Crosspoint Academy 13-2 in Tacoma, while the Patriots from Richland rolled past visiting Mount Vernon Christian by a 9-1 at LaPierre Field in Kennewick.

Now, the two teams head to Johnson-O’Brien Stadium in Ephrata for Friday’s state semifinals.

No. 5 seed DeSales will meet No. 1 Liberty Christian at 7 p.m. Friday in one semifinal. They are Southeast 1B rivals.

The other game pits third-ranked Almira-Coulee-Hartline against No. 2 Naselle at 4 p.m.

The two semifinal losers will meet in the third-place game at 1 p.m., Saturday.

The two winners play for the state 1B championship at 7 p.m., Saturday.

Last year, Liberty Christian beat DeSales 8-4 in the 1B third-place game.

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