Joe Stanton escaped the Gatorade bath. The Central Valley softball coach was happy to allow the day to soak in, though.
For Stanton’s top-seeded Bears, Saturday’s 4A regional tournament played at Central Valley was a tale of two games. First, their only 10-run loss of the season, followed by a commanding victory – which was all they needed.
Sophomore pitcher Carli Riordan struck out a season-high 15 batters and drove in five runs – including a home run – as CV captured the third and final berth to the state tournament with a 9-1 victory over Greater Spokane League opponent Mead, ending the Panthers’ season.
“I knew I had to come with everything I had,” said Riordan, who carried a no-hitter through five innings and gave up just a pair of hits in the game.
“Carli mowed them down today – she just dominated,” Stanton said.
Another dominant force for the Bears was senior catcher McKenzie Shea, who homered twice and drove in CV’s other four runs against Mead. Shea’s two-run homer in the third inning gave the Bears a 4-0 lead, and she added another two-run shot in the sixth.
The Bears’ effort against the Panthers was quite the turnaround from their earlier loss to Richland – a game in which CV’s offense struggled.
“It was two totally different offensive games,” Stanton said. “Richland’s pitching offset us a little bit – they moved the ball around really well.”
“It’s a good wake-up call – that’s what we’re going to be seeing from now on,” Riordan said. “It was two totally different games and I’m glad that it turned out the way it did. It was sort of a let-that-game-go-and-focus-on-the-next-one kind of thing for Mead. I am so excited about playing at state. It’s all I’m going to be thinking about all week.”
The Bears won’t have to travel far for their final games of the season. The State 4A tournament is Friday and Saturday at the Merkel Complex in Spokane.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet that we’re going to state. It’s just my first year as the head fastpitch coach, so it’s exciting,” Stanton said. “This is going to be expected of us now.”
Walla Walla 9, Richland 2 (championship): Andrea Hamada homered and Alyson Ambler scattered seven hits in the Blue Devils’ victory over the Bombers. With the victory, Walla Walla earned a top seed to the state tournament, while the Bombers will be a No. 2 seed.
Richland 10, Central Valley 0 (6): The Bombers broke the game open with three runs in the fourth, added three more in the fifth, and put the finishing touches on the Bears with another three in the sixth to advance to the title game.
Walla Walla 4, Mead 0: Alyson Ambler struck out 19 in the no-hitter as the Blue Devils advanced to the championship game with a win over the Panthers. Kylie Bremner and Caitlyn Seiger scattered four hits against nationally-ranked Walla Walla.
Mead 9, Chiawana 5: After four scoreless innings, Hailey Shanholtzer’s RBI single that drove in Kylie Bremner jumpstarted a five-run fifth inning for the Panthers, who went on to eliminate the Riverhawks in the loser-out first-round game.
Richland 10, Gonzaga Prep 0 (5): Kayla Andrews threw a no-hitter and Caitlyn Stevens homered as the Bombers knocked off the Bullpups in the loser-out, first-round matchup.