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Central Valley tops U-Hi in GSL softball

Carissa Sdao calls Brittany Hecker her best friend, but once in a while the friendship is put on hold.

Sdao’s RBI single off Hecker in the seventh inning Thursday sparked a four-run rally as Central Valley posted a 6-4 Greater Spokane League softball win at University.

The win created a three-way tie for first place in GSL standings among CV, U-Hi and North Central, all 14-3 heading into today’s final league games.

U-Hi won the last two GSL titles outright. CV shared the title with U-Hi in 2008, the only time in 23 years the Bears have finished first. NC’s other title came in 1985.

CV won its sixth consecutive game and snapped the Titans’ eight-game winning streak. U-Hi’s last loss was 2-1 to CV on April 11.

Sdao hit a 2-1 pitch from Hecker (14-3) over the head of right fielder Rachael Johnson to score pinch-runner Aimee McKinney from second base and snap a 2-all tie. CV pitcher Carli Riordan followed with an RBI single to center, and the Bears added Bailey Bergdahl’s RBI walk and Natalie Ford’s RBI single to put U-Hi in a 6-2 hole.

“(Hecker) being my best friend, she’s always competing with me, throwing those pitches she knows I can’t hit,” Sdao said.

“I came (up to bat) saying, ‘It’s my last up-to-bat, it’s my senior year, my last time playing U-Hi – just hit the ball,’“ Sdao said.

Riordan (8-2), who checked U-Hi on three hits through six innings, pitched out of a jam in the seventh when the Titans strung together three singles to center and a walk to score twice. Riordan got Karly Schuh to pop up to second base to end the threat with runners on first and second.

“It’s like one of those feelings when there’s a huge weight lifted off your shoulder,” Riordan said.

Riordan struck out seven and walked one. Hecker struck out eight but walked seven.

“I tip my hat to Brittany Hecker, she’s a great pitcher, but today I think we had the better pitcher,” CV coach Joe Stanton said.

“They’re a good team and they obviously had our number this year,” U-Hi coach Jon Schuh said. “Bottom line, Carli threw well and we didn’t put the ball in play enough with hard-hit balls.”

The exception was Hecker’s seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot in the second that cleared the fence close to the 240-foot sign, giving the Titans a 2-0 lead.

Riordan retired the next 10 batters as the Bears clawed back.

“I knew that (the Titans) were going to get hits, I knew they were going to get runs, but I have a lot of faith in my team that we’ll get it back, and that’s exactly what we did,” Riordan said.

“A big thing for Carli this year is that she’s really matured a lot in that way in that she lets it go,” Stanton said. ‘OK, it’s time to move on to the next batter. We’ll get it back. It’s not the end of the world.’“

Former Titans Kiara and Destiny McCoy started CV’s comeback. Kiara, a junior, led off the third with a single to right and scored on her senior sister’s two-out single to left.

Bergdahl, who walked four times, walked to lead off the fourth and scored on Kaitlyn Richardson’s two-out single to center.

The game stayed 2-all for 21/2 innings until Sdao’s hit off her buddy.

“We take it seriously, but we have to understand at the end of the day that it’s just a game,” Sdao said. “Friends are forever.”

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