People tease Jordyn Soliday about having attended three high schools, but she laughs right back.
“People are always like, ‘You’ve been to three high schools? What, you’re at what, and you haven’t even moved?’ But it’s me and it works, and I like where I am now. I’m glad I did it,” Soliday said.
The Medical Lake senior may have caught some Northeast A League teams by surprise when she was finally able to pitch in late April. Soliday strained her back at a training camp last summer and had worked through months of physical therapy to return to pitching shape.
Until then, she played left field for the Cardinals and hit around .580.
“She was doing a great job out there (left field), had only made a couple of mistakes, but her bat was on fire,” ML coach Tim Blakely said. “… When she went to the mound, we gave up some on the (batting) average but gained on the rubber.”
Soliday attended schools in the Cheney district from kindergarten through her freshman season. She said some “issues at the school” led her to transfer to Liberty High, where her relative, Blaze Burnham, is the athletic director.
After two years at Liberty, she went through the process of transferring to Medical Lake and becoming eligible to play.
“I live closer to Medical Lake,” Soliday said. “It’s a 15-minute drive where Liberty was a 40-minute drive every morning, so we just decided to go somewhere closer.”
“Jordyn’s been playing softball for a long time, so she’s probably seen a lot of different types of teams,” Blakely said. “From what I know of her and what I’ve seen of her, she can blend in with anybody.”
Soliday said she plans to sign a letter of intent to play for Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon.
“I had offers back east to Division II schools, but I really want to stay close to home,” she said. “I’m kind of a homebody.”
The Cardinals (17-6) will open 1A regional play at 10 a.m. Saturday at Central Valley against Cashmere (13-9). NEA rival Riverside (16-6) will open at the same time against Cascade (13-9).
First-game winners advance to winner-to-state games at noon against Okanogan and the NEA’s Lakeside, both 20-2. Medical Lake is on Lakeside’s side of the bracket.
New Tiger territory
The Lewis and Clark Tigers (13-8) are two wins away from the second state berth in school history. The other occurred in 1999, when the Tigers finished 0-2 in state.
“We tried to check past records, because we wanted to see if we had the best (LC) record ever for fastpitch, but we couldn’t track down the data,” Tigers coach Paul Neff said.
LC’s mantra all year has been: “Merkel, Merkel, Merkel,” believing that the 4A regional would be played at the Paul Merkel Complex, site of the upcoming state tournament. But regional is actually Saturday at University High.
“But that was their goal, to get to regionals, and then anything can happen,” Neff said.
LC will play Walla Walla (15-5) at 3 p.m. in a loser-out game. At the same time, District 8 4A champion Central Valley (18-3) will meet Richland (19-2) in a winner-to-state game. The CV/Richland loser will play the LC/Walla Walla winner at 5 p.m. for the second state berth.
Richland defeated CV 6-5 in a nonleague game on March 29.
“The nice thing is we only have to win one,” CV coach Joe Stanton said. “We’re in the double-elimination part of it, so we just go to U-Hi and win one game and we’re back at state, where we wanted to be.”