Central Valley continues to mix in new players as it attempts to duplicate the Greater Spokane League softball championship season it shared with North Central last year.
Luckily for the Bears, some old stalwarts are still around.
Senior pitcher Carli Riordan struck out 16 and provided the winning hit with a two-run double in the eighth inning Tuesday as CV improved to 4-0 in the GSL with a 9-7 win at Mead.
Riordan was 0 for 3 at the plate when she stepped in with Jade Rockwood at third base and Shayla Vegas at second and nobody out. Riordan pounded Kylie Bremner’s offering over the head of center fielder Ashlynn Bocook to break a 7-all tie.
“It’s good sometimes to go out and do it yourself, especially since I wasn’t having a very good hitting game,” Riordan said. “It’s good to find the confidence, I think.”
Riordan issued her fifth walk during the bottom of the eighth, but she struck out her 15th and 16th batters to keep the Panthers (2-2) from their third comeback of the day.
“I have to work on my outside corner just a little bit,” said the University of Montana recruit. “Sometimes I just get too excited and I think that’s where the walks come in.”
Riordan didn’t pitch during Monday’s victory over Rogers, resting a tweaked back that has required massage therapy.
The Bears advanced to the State 4A tournament last season with a roster that included nine seniors. CV hasn’t missed a beat this year with a combination of veterans, a key transfer and talented young players.
Returning Bears players Natalie Ford and McKynzie Adams finished a combined 5 for 10 with four RBIs.
Shortstop Vegas, who moved from Fort Worth, Texas, went 3 for 4 with three runs and an RBI.
Freshman Macie Reynolds, just called up from junior varsity, doubled and scored twice.
“We called up a couple of freshmen just for today’s game, but I don’t think they’re going back down anytime soon,” Bears coach Joe Stanton said. “It was nice to see that they didn’t get scared and they didn’t back down.”
Mead also didn’t back down, rallying from deficits of 4-0 and 7-4 against Riordan with a four-run third and a three-run sixth. Bremner had a two-run single to center in the third, and Sydney Shanholtzer had a two-run single to left and scored on Bocook’s triple to center in the sixth.
“It was a great game,” Mead coach Joel Shawen said. “We’re down four and our girls battled back and got after it and tied it. (The Bears) go ahead and we come back and tie it again. It’s just one of those things we’re going to continue to learn from.”
CV is tied for first place with surprising Lewis and Clark, which visits third-place University (3-1) today.
“That group last year, we were expected to win,” Stanton said. … “Now this group’s going to claw and grit and fight and earn everything that they get.”