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Shadle Park overcomes University for district softball title

Shadle Park staked the Greater Spokane League champion University Titans to a five-run lead in the first two innings of the District 8 3A championship game Friday at Whitworth, then staged a dramatic comeback to claim an 8-5 win and the No. 1 seed into next weekend’s regional tournament at U-Hi.

The Highlanders’ No. 1 pitcher all season, Kaycee Parisho, came on in relief of starter Brittany Gatley in the third inning and slammed the door on U-Hi. She scattered five hits and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning, but did not give up a run.

“That makes me look like a genius, right?” Shadle Park coach Guy Perham said. “The idea was to give (U-Hi) a different look to start this game. They are a well-organized, well-coached team that will take chances and push the envelope on you. I’m proud of the way our kids got after them, because that’s what you have to do with a team like that. You have to force them to make plays and today they didn’t make them.”

To open the third inning, the Highlanders reached on an error, a walk and batter hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. A second infield hit allowed one run to score and a hard grounder to shortstop Karly Schuh scored a second run when the junior got the sure out at second base.

An infield single by Ashley Collins scored a third run. After walking Alyssa Novak to load the bases for a second time, Fiana Hayes was hit by a pitch to force in a fourth run and Sarah Tiffany plated the fifth on a hard grounder that Schuh, playing in, couldn’t handle.

Shadle Park scratched out the go-ahead runs in the fifth inning with just one hit, a lead-off infield single by Tiffany. Gately reached on a fielding error. After a double steal put runners at second and third, Emily Carolus-Knutson hit a one-hopper to pitcher Brittany Hecker, who overthrew first and both runners scored.

Collins tacked on an insurance run in the sixth, singling through a drawn-in U-Hi infield to score Alana Norman.

Meanwhile, Perisho was unflappable. With the bases loaded and just one out, she snared a come-backer from Hailey Wesselman for the second out, then struck out Hecker to end the inning with a biting curveball on the outside corner.

“The umpire was giving me that pitch today,” she said. “I had good movement on my curve, letting it tail away from right-handers, and with my screwball against lefties. I just tried to hit my spots. I think we all got pretty pumped up once we came back to tie the game and I’m proud of the way we won this game.”

U-Hi’s Kendra Bruno hit a three-run homer in the second for the 5-0 lead.