Carli Riordan’s outstanding four-year prep pitching career is winding down just as Jaya Allen’s is taking off.
Central Valley’s Riordan and Shadle Park’s Allen played huge roles Thursday as their teams captured district championships at Whitworth University’s Marks Field.
Riordan struck out 12, including 11 in the first four innings, walked none and pitched a four-hitter as her Bears (18-3) moved within one win of returning to the state tournament with a 2-0 win over Lewis and Clark (12-8) in the District 8 4A title game.
Allen, a freshman, pitched a six-hitter and drove in two runs to guide the Highlanders (14-8) to a 5-1 win over top-seeded University (15-5) for the District 8 3A title.
“(Opponents) always doubt me because I’m the freshman on the team and they never know what’s going to happen,” said Allen, who lost to U-Hi 8-0 on a rainy day in late March.
“Now (Allen) knows what she can do,” Shadle coach Guy Perham said. “She’s getting better and better and better. All of (the young Highlanders) are.”
CV will play the No. 1 team from the Mid-Columbia Conference at 3 p.m. May 24 at U-Hi. The Bears have two shots at regional to earn one of two spots to state.
Shadle will host the MCC’s No. 4, either Sunnyside or Southridge, at 4 p.m. Tuesday for a berth to the May 24 regional round at U-Hi. Three 3A teams will advance to state.
LC will play Ferris (11-10) at 3 p.m. today at Whitworth for the second and final regional berth.
U-Hi will meet North Central (6-14) after the LC-Ferris game for the second and third seeds to regional. The No. 2 earns the right to play at home.
CV and LC began the day at Whitworth with a pitcher’s battle between Riordan and LC’s Sage Scheiwiller, who pitched a three-hitter, struck out five and allowed one earned run.
Riordan stranded LC’s Sophie Harper at third base in the first inning with three consecutive strikeouts. She also ended the fourth with two strikeouts, leaving Tigers on first and second.
“That’s when Carli really gets tough, when she has runners on in scoring position,” Bears coach Joe Stanton said. “She has an extra gear or something and throws a little bit harder and the ball moves a little bit more.”
“It kind of gives you some motivation, like, hey, now I really have to step it up,” Riordan said. “It’s definitely kind of scary, but it definitely gives you some motivation.”
Bears senior Shayla Vegas snapped a scoreless tie in the fourth with a leadoff homer to left field, her third of the season. Vegas also walked, stole second base and scored on an error in the sixth.
“We were kind of down after three innings, so I was leadoff and I had to make a play for my team,” Vegas said. “The ball went over (the fence) and it was just amazing.”
In the second game, the Highlanders, who had been outscored by the Titans 21-2 this season, took control with a three-run first. Senior center fielder Berkley Fisher blasted a two-run triple over the head of center fielder Rachael Johnson and scored on Allen’s single to left.
“We beat them at districts two years ago, but earlier in the season we lost to them twice by a lot,” Fisher said. “They just honestly devoured us, so I just wanted to come out here and show them, you know what, we are a completely different ballclub.”
Shadle’s Sarah Tiffany reached on a two-out infield single in the fourth and scored on an infield error. Allen’s two-out RBI double to right-center in the seventh capped the scoring.
The Titans scored in the fifth after Emilie Farrell’s fly to right bounced past Caitlyn Fullmer for a triple. Johnson’s two-out infield single scored Farrell.
Errors hurt Shadle during its other games against U-Hi, but the Highlanders committed just one in the third matchup.
“Our defense has improved a lot,” Perham said. “It’s mix and match to find out what’s going to work. Sometimes it takes 13 of 15 games in a season before you find out, this is going to work.”
District 7 2A
Deer Park 11, Pullman 1: Sierra English went 3 for 4 with a homer and double and Kylie Sweeney pitched a three-hitter as the host Stags (13-7) eliminated the Greyhounds (3-17).
Third-seeded DP will play at No. 2 East Valley (14-6) at 1 p.m. Saturday in the double-elimination portion of the tourney. Two of the four remaining teams will advance to state.
Cheney 5, West Valley 1: Adrianna Suiter went 2 for 3 with a double, homer and three RBIs and Julia Boyd struck out 11 as the host Blackhawks (12-9) eliminated the Eagles (9-12).
WV’s Katelyn Sage went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Cheney will travel to top-seeded Colville (18-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday as the tourney enters its double-elimination portion.