RICHLAND – The belly button ring is now open for discussion.
Carissa Sdao had an agreement with her father that she could get her belly button pierced if she hit a home run this fastpitch softball season.
Sdao waited until the biggest moment to cash in, hitting a solo homer to center field, her first of the season, to wake up Central Valley’s offense during an 8-6 win over Walla Walla at the 4A regional tournament at Columbia Playfield.
The win gave the Bears (17-3) their first regional crown and sends them to the State 4A tournament for a second consecutive season and fourth overall. The tournament begins a two-day run Friday at Merkel Sports Complex in Spokane.
Sdao, a senior pitcher/right fielder, homered during the slowpitch season and was rewarded with a nose ring. The belly button ring was the Holy Grail.
“Dad’s kind of avoiding the discussion right now,” Sdao said. “We’ll talk about it.”
Sdao’s homer off Ellie Rassbach tied the game at 2. Sdao finished with three hits, including a one-out RBI single in the sixth to tie the game at 3 and spark a three-run outburst.
“I’ve been slumping the last eight games,” Sdao said. “I told the girls before the game, ‘I’m going to get the ball out of the infield. It’s about time I do.’ ”
“Carissa Sdao’s home run, I think, is what really sparked the hot bats,” CV coach Joe Stanton said. “We’re not home-run hitters. We just hit the ball hard and they accidentally leave the park.”
The Bears led 5-3 after Destiny McCoy’s RBI single capped the three-run sixth.
The Blue Devils answered with a three-run sixth for 6-5 lead. Madelyne Aichele’s two-out RBI single to center was followed by Kendsey Hill’s two-run double to left.
“A lot of things that happen in a game are deflating and it shows the character of a team with how you react,” Stanton said.
The Bears reacted with a three-run seventh aided by walks and errors. Natalie Ford tied the game at 6 with an RBI single to left, and Kiara McCoy provided the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.
Ford and Kaitlyn Richardson had two hits apiece.
CV junior pitcher Carli Riordan, who worked a perfect seventh, threw an eight-hitter to improve to 10-2.
The Bears have nine seniors on their roster, including seven who start. CV went 3-2 at state last year but didn’t place.
“We had the talent last year, but we just took that talent, embraced it and built on it,” Sdao said. “So I think that’s what we’ve been building on.”
Mead, the Greater Spokane League’s No. 2 seed, lost to Richland 4-0 and was eliminated.