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Members and coaches of the Central Valley softball team pose with their State 4A third-place trophy at Merkel Sports Complex on Saturday. (Dave Nichols / The Spokesman-Review)

State softball: Central Valley settles for program-best third place in 4A tourney

At the end of a long day of softball on Saturday, Central Valley had earned the best finish in program history.

It just wasn’t the finish the Bears were hoping for.

In the first game of the day, CV star pitcher Kelsey Gumm took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, but a leadoff bunt single by Hannah Akin and subsequent one-out, run-scoring double by Hannah Hvitved lifted Monroe over Central Valley 1-0 in a State 4A semifinal.

The Bears rebounded to beat Newport (Bellevue) 9-1 in a loser-out game to advance to the state third-place game, where Jordan Williams delivered a two-out, two-run single as CV batted around in the third and beat Camas 5-2 at Merkel Sports Complex.

Gumm, throwing her third complete game of the day, struck out eight and allowed just three baserunners until the seventh.

“We know who we are and we know we’re good enough to be here and good enough to compete,” CV coach Joe Stanton said. “I think our girls want another inning with Monroe.”

Jackson beat Monroe 6-3 in the state title game.

Still, no one with CV felt any regret with how it played out, earning the school’s best result at state.

“No, right now just enjoying the moment,” Stanton said. “Like I was telling them (after the game), I normally end the season after a loss, so I don’t know how to react after a win.”

“I’m not disappointed at all (in third place),” Gumm said. “Obviously, it would have been cool to be on that championship field, but I’m honestly just happy with this win.”

Catcher Julia Andrews drove in a run with a single in the second to put the Bears up early, then CV broke it open in the third with the three-run rally. The Bears added a run in the sixth, as freshman Gianna McCoy slapped a single through the hole, stole second and scored on a single by Brooklyn Pieroni.

Gumm was dominant again, though in the latter innings straining and grunting with every pitch, after hours of work under a relentless sun.

“I honestly felt like I couldn’t get it to the plate,” Gumm said. “I was just trying to take it one pitch at a time and just see how far I could go.”

Gumm’s only mistake of the game: a belt-high fastball that got too much of the plate, which Kennedy Ferguson clubbed to straightaway center for a two-run homer.

Gumm regrouped to collect the final two outs – and the hugs of teammates to celebrate the best finish in program history.

In the earlier semifinal, Gumm was stellar – befitting her Division I scholarship to Seton Hall next year. She allowed one ball out of the infield until the seventh and struck out five.

The Bears had runners on in all but two innings but couldn’t find a big hit, which they had in abundance in their 20-4 quarterfinal win over Auburn Riverside on Friday.

“We knew Monroe was going to be a tough team,” Gumm said

Stanton was effusive about his star after the semifinal loss.

“Best game of the tournament, in my opinion,” he said. “Maybe the best she’s had all season. Boy, her stuff was popping. The changeup was just filthy.

“And the defense we played behind her – balls were put in play, but we made some pretty spectacular plays. It wasn’t just a one-person effort.”

State 3A

Brynn Nelson scored on an error in the bottom of the seventh and Bonney Lake edged the Mt. Spokane Wildcats (21-5) 3-2 in a State 3A semifinal at Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.

Brooke Nelson led off the seventh with a single, then scored on Brynn Nelson’s single to tie it. Brynn scored on the next play.

Jesse Dupuis struck out 11 in a complete-game three-hitter and went 2 for 3 with a run and RBI for Mt. Spokane.

The Wildcats then dropped their consolation game against Yelm 3-2. Kaitlyn Zemke went 2 for 3 with a solo home run and two RBIs for Mt. Spokane.