The sun is coming out. Monday will be a beautiful warm spring day in Clark County.
A great day for a baseball game. Heck, like Ernie Banks said: “Let’s play two.”
Or three or four or ….
That’s because this is spring in the Pacific Northwest, and there’s no telling how long the sun will hang around. And by looking at the forecast, the weather towards the end of the week looks a little sketchy.
Getting games in this week will be important to the baseball teams in the Class 4A and 3A Greater St. Helens Leagues. Both leagues are slated to finish league play this week.
Now the 4A GSHL has a bit more flexibility. That’s because the league decided this year to determine its seeds into the bi-district playoffs purely by the regular-season standings. There are no district playoffs.
The league champion will open the bi-district tournament on May 8 at Propstra Stadium. The league runner-up will open with a game in Puyallup, while the No. 3 team will have to play a pigtail game just to get into the bi-district tournament.
So the games on the schedule this week have paramount importance.
And after Monday’s makeup games under sunny, 80-degree skies, the 4A GSHL will be back on schedule. Skyview plays at Heritage and Union plays at Evergreen.
Skyview heads into the week in the best shape, sitting atop the 4A GSHL with a 6-2 mark.
A win Monday over Heritage (1-8) and an Evergreen (6-3) win over Union (4-5) would clinch a postseason berth for the Storm. But a Union win over Evergreen would put Skyview in excellent shape to secure the league championship.
On Tuesday, Skyview plays at Battle Ground (5-4), while Heritage faces Union.
On Thursday, Battle Ground is at Heritage and Evergreen is at Skyview. And Friday, Evergreen is at Battle Ground and Skyview hosts Union.
But even if inclement weather prevents Thursday’s and Friday’s games from being played, the 4A GSHL will have all of next week to sort out makeup games and tiebreaker games.
The 3A GSHL is under a tighter schedule.
The 3A GSHL has district playoffs scheduled for next week, starting on May 1.
Camas (8-1) and Mountain View (7-1) appear on track for a league title showdown with games scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
But first both teams need to sidestep some potential landmines early in the week. Camas plays Columbia River (5-4), and Mountain View plays Kelso (4-4) on Monday. Mountain View then faces Prairie (1-8) on Tuesday.
The top five teams in the 3A GSHL advance to the district playoffs, with the top three guaranteed spots in the bi-district tournament. The Nos. 4 and 5 teams will play an elimination game in the district tournament to determine the fourth team to advance to the bi-district.
Two unique events are on the schedule this week as the regular season starts to wind down.
The first comes Monday as Mountain View, Skyview, Union and Columbia River take part in the Titan Cup at Tri-Mountain Golf Course. The Titan Cup is a Ryder Cup-style event that has teams competing singles match-play format and two-player best-ball format.
On Thursday comes the Prairie Invitational and it’s unique format in which players from different schools are pulled together to form four-player teams.
In other words, one team might be comprised of a player from Prairie, a player from Camas, and player from Skyview and a player from Union.
The idea of the event is to build a little camaraderie among the players before they head into the competition of district tournaments next week.
Here’s a tip for the players in Thursday event: Try to get put on a team that includes Columbia River’s Chloe Bartek.
Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org