Camas softball clinches berth to 3A state tournament

Three other Clark County teams still have a shot

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

TACOMA — Camas kept it simple.

Win and in. See? Simple.

The Camas Papermakers have clinched a berth to the Class 3A state softball tournament, taking down Bonney Lake 9-3 in the quarterfinals of the 3A bi-district tournament Friday at Sprinker Recreation Center. The victory assures Camas a spot to state.

Three more Clark County teams will try to make it to state the hard way, while two others went two-and-out and are done with the season.

Class 4A Greater St. Helens League champion Skyview won its first game but lost its first chance at going to state. The Storm must win its consolation game Saturday to advance. The other two 4A programs from Clark County — Battle Ground and Union — lost both of their games.

Prairie and Mountain View remain alive in the 3A consolation. Each team must win twice Saturday to make it to state, and if both teams win their first games, the two rivals will face each other for that berth.

In other words, it's just a lot easier to win on the first day. Just like Camas.

The Papermakers earned the right not to have to work as hard as the other teams, too, because in the 3A bracket, top seeds received a first-round bye.

Lead-off hitter Amee Aarhus went 3 for 5 and scored three runs, Lena Richards and Sarah Nidick each had three hits, and the Papermakers never trailed in their win over Bonney Lake.

"If I start off with getting on base, then the momentum carries for the other players," said Aarhus, who moved to Camas from California. "It's rewarding to be a part of this thing. We definitely, as a team, deserve this. We've been working really hard."

Aarhus was not with the team last year when the Papermakers won the district tournament but then fell flat at bi-district and failed to make state.

Senior Mikaela Searight remembers, though.

"This is what I've been stressed out about. We had to win this game," said Searight, who went 2 for 2 and drove in a run. "I'm so happy. I'm so proud of my team. Now our ultimate goal is in sight."

That would be a state championship. First, the Papermakers have to finish bi-district. The team plays Enumclaw at 2 p.m. Saturday in one of the semifinals.

Skyview's Allison Paladeni hit the game-winning double in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 4-3 victory over Olympia in the first round of the 4A bi-district. But Emerald Ridge took a 4-0 lead early and held on for a 5-3 win in the second round, throwing Skyview into Saturday's consolation round.

The Storm play South Kitsap at noon, with the winner clinching a spot to state.

Prairie got a 7-0 win over Kennedy in the first round of the 3A bi-district. That gave the Falcons a chance to get to state with a win in the second round. But Wilson prevailed with a 2-1 victory in eight innings.

Prairie will join Mountain View in the consolation round. The Thunder lost to Yelm 3-1 in the first round.

Everything is simplified Saturday. Skyview needs to win its first consolation game, while Prairie and Mountain View need two wins in a row.

Camas does not need to win anything Saturday. Sure, the Papermakers would enjoy winning this tournament but it hardly matters. They know they are going to state.