EvCo eager to reclaim top spot at state tournament


Four EvCo teams and four GSHL teams entered the 2A District 4 Tournament vying for four state tournament berths.

The four EvCo teams — W.F. West, Aberdeen, Rochester, and Tumwater — won all four quarterfinals, and Rochester and Tumwater took down Ridgefield and Mark Morris, the top two GSHL regular-season teams, in elimination games.

All in all, the EvCo went 7-0 in district tournament games against GSHL teams, including the pigtail game.

“It speaks to our league,” Tumwater coach Ashley Lupinski said. “It speaks to how hard it is to play in our league every single day.”

The EvCo certainly has its fair share of talent, and it showed at Recreation Park.

Rochester’s Layna Demers stifled Mark Morris and Ridgefield to lead the Warriors to state after a 9-12 regular season. 

Aberdeen’s Lilly Camp and Annika Hollingsworth are both Division I commits, as is Tumwater’s Ella Ferguson.

W.F. West has the usual suspects in Staysha Fluetsch, Monroe Dalrymple, and Ella Young, among others, and they also have depth pieces that can step up when needed, like when Aubree Nelson connected on a go-ahead home run in the district title game against Aberdeen.

“We’ve got a lot of good competition under us,” Lupinski said. “So all four of us are ready to go.”

Tumwater and W.F. West are especially hopeful to make a deep run at state, as they both missed the state tournament last season. The Thunderbirds are looking to get back to the state title game after winning it all two years ago, while W.F. West is vying for its first state championship since 2017.

Tumwater, the No. 6 seed, will face No. 11 Ephrata in the first round, while No. 5 W.F. West will take on No. 12 Lynden.

Rochester has never been to the state title game, but in 2022, the last time the Warriors were at state, they won three straight after losing in the first round to get within a game of a top-four finish.

Rochester is the No. 15 seed, and they’ll be tasked with trying to take down No. 2 North Kitsap, the reigning state champions.

Aberdeen earned the No. 3 seed, meaning that if the Bobcats and Thunderbirds win, they’ll meet in the state quarterfinals. Aberdeen is taking on No. 14 Enumclaw.

“We’ve seen some of the best pitching we’ll see,” Lupinski siad. “We’ve seen some great hitters. We can go into state confident.”