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State softball comes to eastern Idaho

By MARLOWE HEREFORD
mhereford@postregister.com

For the second time since 2008, state softball will take place in eastern Idaho.

Among the teams opening play Friday morning at Capell Park in Chubbuck (5A), Blackfoot (4A), Bonneville (3A) and Pocatello’s OK Ward Park (2A) are six local teams. Some make a repeat appearance while others make their first trip to the postseason in a while.

Here is a classification-by-classification glance of the teams who will represent the area this weekend.

Class 5A: Bonneville Bees (18-8)

Bonneville makes its second consecutive appearance in the 5A state tournament after taking second in the 5A District 5-6 tournament to the same opponent as last year, Highland. The Bees took the No. 1 seed into the 5A District 5-6 tournament and secured the right to host due to concluding conference play 7-1. At districts, Bonneville defeated Hillcrest and Highland before falling to Highland in the title game.

The Bees have numerous underclassmen and only three seniors — Marcie Cromwell, Kourtney Scoresby and Emily Day — on their varsity roster. They open state tournament play 11 a.m. Friday at Capell Park against Eagle (25-1-1), Idaho’s three-time defending 5A state champion which was ranked No. 17 in the May 8 MaxPreps XCellent 25 national high school rankings. The Mustangs’ lone loss this season is to Boise (15-11), which Highland plays to begin the state tournament.

Class 4A: Idaho Falls Tigers (22-6)

The Tigers return to the postseason for the first time since 2015 and second time since 2005. This is the first appearance at the 4A level for Idaho Falls, which is in its second year in the classification.

The Tigers enter state with the best overall record of any 5A/4A school in District 6. They concluded conference play 9-1 to take the No. 1 seed and right to host the 4A District 5-6 tournament. The team responsible for their lone regular season conference loss, No. 2 seeded Pocatello, was who they fell to in the district championship.

Like Bonneville, Idaho Falls has an underclassmen laden varsity roster. The Tigers have two seniors — utility players Alex Billings and Cici Ojeda — and the majority of their roster consists of nine juniors.

Idaho Falls opens tournament play at 11 a.m. Friday at Blackfoot High School against District 3 champion and defending 4A state runner-up Ridgevue (22-4).

Class 3A: South Fremont Cougars and Snake River Panthers (11-6)

Both teams return to the postseason after a few years hiatus. South Fremont last reached the state tournament in 2014 — its first appearance since 2003 — and Snake River last reached state in 2015, when it placed third.

South Fremont enters state having gone unbeaten against conference opponents this season, securing the No. 1 seed for the 3A District 6 tournament and winning the district title 11-3 over Sugar-Salem. The Cougars have seven juniors on an underclassmen laden varsity roster and two seniors, multisport athletes Brinlie Rowbury and Harlee Speth.

Snake River enters state after a long and winding road. The Panthers fell 10-6 to Marsh Valley in the 3A District 5 title game and had their state play-in game with Sugar-Salem postponed after it was rained out last weekend. The Panthers officially clinched their spot at state by defeating the Diggers 10-5 on Monday. Snake River’s varsity roster is a veteran one, featuring eight seniors.

South Fremont opens the state tournament at 11 a.m. Friday at Bonneville High School against District 4 champion Filer (19-7) while Snake River will play at the same time and venue against District 3 champion Homedale (22-2).

Class 2A: West Jefferson Panthers and Firth Cougars

West Jefferson returns to the postseason for the second consecutive season after a marathon district tournament. The Panthers, who took the No. 1 seed into the 2A District 6 tournament, fell to No. 2 seeded Firth in the semifinals, preserved its season with a win over North Fremont and then defeated Firth twice to win the district title. Like most other area teams competing this weekend, West Jefferson’s varsity roster is filled with underclassmen. The Panthers have three seniors: Tia Pancheri, Emily Allen and Hope Sponseller.

Firth makes its first postseason appearance since 2015. District 6 had two automatic bids to the state tournament this year, allowing Firth to secure a spot upon winning in the district tournament semifinals. The Cougars have four seniors — MaKayla Park, Bailey Steele, Emily Vasquez and Ashlee Adams — on their varsity roster.

West Jefferson opens state at 9 a.m. Friday against District 3-4 play-in winner Declo (17-8-1) while Firth will play at 11 a.m. Friday against District 3 champion Melba (26-0).

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