After four surgeries in three years, Carli Riordan could be excused for wondering why fate has treated her so cruelly.
Instead, Riordan feels nothing but good fortune.
“It kind of teaches you how lucky you are,” Central Valley’s junior pitcher/first baseman said.
Riordan’s most recent surgeries were to repair muscle damage to her left leg. She took a shot to the leg last April when the Greater Spokane League’s premier hurler, University’s Brittany Hecker, bounced a pitch to the plate with Riordan at bat.
Riordan started feeling a dull pain two weeks later, but she waited until October to have surgery because she didn’t want to miss her club season with the Seattle-based Washington Hustle. She needed a follow-up surgery to give her muscles extra room to expand.
Those procedures were a breeze compared to what Riordan experienced as a freshman.
Before the softball season began, Riordan had surgery for a benign tumor that had created a blockage in her intestines.
Riordan healed quickly and was among the GSL’s leaders in pitching and hitting when her season abruptly ended. Scar tissue from the surgery had started attaching to other tissue, causing kinking.
“Everything was getting blocked,” Riordan said. “My organs started shutting down and I went into shock. I had emergency surgery to take care of it.”
Riordan said the scary incident made her more appreciative each time she steps on the softball field.
Riordan, who threw a no-hitter Thursday at Mead, is 6-2 on the mound with 73 strikeouts and an earned-run average of less than 2.70. Through Wednesday, she was batting .429 with two doubles, two homers and a team-best 14 runs batted in.
Riordan was born in Oakland, Calif., but moved to Spokane as a 1-year-old when her father, Bill, accepted a new job in the automobile business. Her mother, Lisa (Cobb), who attended Rogers and wanted to return to Spokane, works for the CV district’s human resources department.
Riordan started playing softball as a 5-year-old, after her parents noticed she liked to throw rocks and pinecones during her sister Jacklyn’s games with Freeman High.
She started as a shortstop but switched to pitcher as a 9-year-old.
Whitworth assistant coach Alicia (Matthews) Blake, who played catcher when the Washington Huskies won the Women’s College World Series in 2009, serves as Riordan’s pitching coach.
“I think my style is high speed and a lot of movement,” Riordan said. “I have a lot of up-and-down and side-to-side movement. … I’m trying to work on more of a drop ball.”
Second season on horizon: Area postseason play begins Thursday with the first round of the Idaho 3A District I-II tournament at Timberlake High in Spirit Lake.
Many tournaments in Washington and Idaho begin in earnest on May 7.
Highlights: Casey Stangel pitched back-to-back one-hitters Tuesday as visiting Lake City swept Coeur d’Alene 14-1, 10-0. Stangel (14-0) also no-hit Sandpoint on Thursday. … Alexa Adams pitched a one-hitter and struck out nine as Mt. Spokane topped visiting Ferris 2-0 on Tuesday. … McKenna Cabbage (15-1) pitched a one-hitter, striking out 14, and Jammie Madonna hit a three-run homer, her ninth, in the opener of Colville’s 10-0, 5-1 sweep over visiting West Valley on Tuesday. … Cassidy Hansen’s one-out, two-run double to left-center in the seventh inning gave Cusick an 8-7 win over visiting Wilbur-Creston to cap a doubleheader sweep Tuesday. … Kaitlyn Richardson’s RBI double in the seventh gave host Central Valley a 2-1 win over Mt. Spokane on Monday. … Morgen Zakarison, Dakota Wickard and Baylie Wilson were a combined 17 for 24 with 18 RBIs as host Pullman split a doubleheader with East Valley on Monday. … Madi Naccarato had seven RBIs as Lakeside defeated visiting Chewelah 19-4 at Nine Mile Falls to complete a sweep on Saturday. … Kirby Anderson went 4 for 6 with seven RBIs and struck out 13 as host Selkirk swept Northport 15-0, 10-0 last Friday. Anderson had three triples and one double.