White River senior Noelle Mills prepares to drop a bunt during Friday’s district contest against Olympic. Photo by Kevin Hanson

White River senior Noelle Mills prepares to drop a bunt during Friday’s district contest against Olympic. Photo by Kevin Hanson

White River girls heading to state tournament, again

The Hornets’ first game is Friday, May 24.

The White River High girls find themselves on familiar turf this week, heading to Carlon Park in Selah, the annual home of the Class 2A state softball championships.

The Hornets have made the state tourney a yearly tradition, qualifying for the Sweet 16 every season since 2011.

This year’s swarm of Hornets locked up a state berth in the toughest way, losing the opening game of West Central District play. Immediately falling into the loser’s bracket, White River had to prevail in a pair of loser-out contests to lock up a state berth.

The 16-team state 2A tourney kicks off Friday and has White River paired against the Ephrata Tigers. Game time is set for 10 a.m.

The victor will take on the winner of a contest between Ridgefield and Lakewood. The loser will square off against the Ridgefield/Lakewood loser in a game that decides who stays and who goes home.

White River heads to the state tournament with an overall record of 14-12. Following a third-place finish in South Puget Sound League 2A play, the Hornets split four games during the league tournament and split four more during district play.

Ephrata is a member of the 10-team Central Washington Athletic Conference, a sprawling league that counts six schools from the Yakima Valley but also includes Ellensburg, Othello and Quincy.

The Tigers head to Carlon Park on quite a roll, having won 20 of 22 games.

White River secured its ninth consecutive state berth during the May 17-18 district tourney at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.

After dropping the tourney opener 7-6 to Olympic, the Hornets staved off elimination with an 11-1 pounding of Orting and a 9-8 thriller over Fife. Taking on Eatonville in a game that only determine who headed to state as the No. 5 and No. 6 district seeds, the Hornets were swamped 13-3.

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