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District 8 softball: Richland tops Central Valley in district championship game

Central Valley pitcher Kelsey Gumm dominated Greater Spokane League hitters all season, earning her the league MVP. On Saturday in the District 8 4A championship game, she ran into a good-hitting team that found a few holes in one big inning.

Richland put up five runs in the fourth inning – all with two outs – and the visiting Bombers won the district title game 8-1.

Even though both teams have qualified for the state tournament on Friday and Saturday at Merkel Sports Complex, losing a district title game is still tough to take.

“It was (tough),” said Gumm, who finished a complete game with nine strikeouts. “They’re a good team, obviously, hitting wise. We knew that going in.”

The Bombers led 2-0 entering the fourth, with Gumm recording seven strikeouts. Gumm got two quick outs from the eighth and ninth-place hitters, then Richland rallied.

Sydney Perryman drew a walk, then a pair of singles loaded the bases. Cleanup hitter and starting pitcher Brandi Andrews fouled several pitches off before lacing a single to right to plate two.

“There’s nothing you can do about that,” coach Joe Stanton said. “Base hits are base hits.”

Miranda Camacho followed with a fly to the right-center gap the fell in for a triple to clear the bases and score two more. The last Bomber run of the frame scored on a double by Journey Dewey.

“I got in my head a little bit, I guess,” Gumm said. “I wasn’t playing my game. Just like the mental part wasn’t quite there.”

“I thought for five and a half, six innings we competed against one of the best teams in the state,” Stanton said. “We learned a valuable lesson that we can’t give a good team like that extra outs in an inning, especially with bases loaded.”

The Bears tried to rally in the bottom of the fifth. Jordan Williams led off with a single and went to third on a single by freshman shortstop Gianna McCoy. Andrews retired the next two but leadoff hitter Suheyla Tanak slapped a single through the left side of the infield to break up the shutout.

It’s all CV would get. Andrews struck out Hannah Wampler to end the frame then lefty Kaylie Northrop came on to record two perfect innings of relief to seal the win.

“We knew that we were going to have to hit if we wanted to stay in it,” Gumm said. “There were just some mental errors, mental mistakes that got into us. And then when we were hitting we kind of hit it right at them. It just kind of wasn’t our day, I guess.”

“(Andrews) threw hard and that was probably one of the better – if not the best – pitchers we’ve seen all year,” Stanton said. “I was pleasantly surprised to see us up there making great contact and not whiffing.

“Hopefully it gives us confidence next week that we’re going to be able to hit the pitching we’re going to see.”

Gumm said the Bears know what they need to concentrate on next weekend. “We just have to step up on our side offensively if we want to make a run at state.”

University 13, Hanford 3: Gracee Dwyer hit a two-run home run as part of an eight-run fifth inning and the Titans (17-7) eliminated the Falcons in the district third-place game at Central Valley HS to qualify for state.

Dwyer finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs. Alyssa Benthagen hit a solo home run, drove in three and went 2 for 3 with two runs while Brianna Hecker added three hits and scored twice.

UHi beat visiting Walla Walla 7-5 in a loser-out game earlier in the day.