Wasn’t it Satchel Paige who once famously said, “Never look back, something might be gaining on you?”
That something was Lewis and Clark’s softball team going from fifth seed in the District 8 playoffs to upset specialists. The Tigers pulled off a truly stunning feat, knocking out league co-champion University to qualify for the Regional 4A tourney in Yakima this weekend.
Perhaps it shouldn’t have been a huge surprise. A district qualifier in 2008, the Tigers brought back the bulk of their team and coach Paul Neff expected them to be pretty good. But how do you explain the fact they did so after winning only 5 of 20 regular-season games and backed into the district playoffs despite five straight losses to end the season?
Among the early losses this year by a team that finished tied for eighth out of 11 teams, was a 24-5 loss to North Central which at the time was 1-4.
I ran into pitcher Kendall Pavey and outfielder Rachel Head who were visiting Central Washington University and took in a Wildcats game in Ellensburg. Both were at a loss to explain that one.
But in the postseason over the course of five days, the Tigers nearly doubled their win total winning three straight playoff games.
Pavey shut out Gonzaga Prep in an elimination game and toppled in succession Mead, 4-1 on Monday and the Titans 5-4 in eight innings on Tuesday. She also was 4 for 4 and drove in the winning runs.
Because the 16-year regional format has changed, U-Hi for the first time won’t be there. Instead, it is the 8-15 Tigers, who with league co-champion Central Valley (19-2), represent the GSL against six Columbia Basin League teams.
The pairings: Lewis and Clark vs. Eastmont; Central Valley vs. Moses Lake, both 6 p.m. Friday. Games continue at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday at Kiwanis Park.
•In the 1A regional at Brewster on Saturday, Lakeside (15-4) plays Omak (11-11) at 1 p.m., following Freeman (12-10) vs. Chelan (15-7) for two state berths. Also Saturday, District 7 2B and 1B state teams will be settled at Kettle Falls beginning at 11 a.m. Davenport and Colfax play at 4:30 for the championship and two 2B state berths after Springdale and Reardan and Lind-Ritzville and Selkirk play loser-out contests for a third berth.
Cusick plays Almira/Coulee-Hartline and Inchelium plays St. Michael’s, with winners securing two 1B state berths. Losers play for the third spot.
State baseball pairings
Saturday’s 16-team state baseball pairings are broken into four-team pods that will determine four semifinalists in six classifications for the final weekend May 29-30.
Games are at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. with the pod finals at 4. Locally in posted order of game time:
4A – Richland vs. Kamiak; University vs. Kamiakin; the winners meet in Richland.
3A – Hanford vs. Mt. Rainier; Lynnwood vs. West Valley-Yakima; the winners meet at Parker Field in Yakima.
2A – Cheney vs. Othello; Ellensburg vs. Pullman; the winners meet at Davis High in Yakima.
1A – Connell vs. Cashmere; Freeman vs. Columbia Burbank; the winners meet at Rec Park in Wenatchee.
2B – Northwest Christian vs. La Salle; Liberty Bell vs. Asotin; the winners meet at Borleske Stadium in Walla Walla. St. George’s vs. Waterville; DeSales vs. Colfax; the winners meet at Al K. Jackson Field at Shadle Park.
1B – Northport vs. Almira/Coulee-Hartline; Wilbur-Creston vs. Curlew; the winners meet at Avista Stadium.
Cheney and Medical Lake reached the State 2A final eight, the last local teams standing. Saturday, the Blackhawks host Bellingham (TBA) and the Cardinals are at Prosser, 2 p.m. for berths in the semifinals the following weekend at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.
District 1A/2B/1B tennis
Tournament play begins today at Ferris High.