It didn’t take much offense to determine District 8 champions in 4A and 3A finals Friday at Whitworth University.
One swing of the bat was all it took for Central Valley to defeat University 2-0 in their rubber game for the 4A title.
Shadle Park didn’t need much more to rally past Mt. Spokane 2-1 in the opener on Marks Field.
Of 10 hits in the two games, seven were for extra bases.
Wins earned the teams No. 1 seeding into their regional tournaments next week.
The district playoffs continue at 5 p.m. Monday at Whitworth in 4A, with Lewis and Clark meeting GSL third seed Mead.
That winner will play U-Hi’s Titans at 5 p.m. Tuesday for the GSL’s second regional berth.
Mt. Spokane faces East Valley at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Whitworth for second and third seeding to the 3A regional. North Central is the GSL’s fourth 3A regional entrant.
District 4A: The Titans had pitched carefully to Alexa Morales in her first two at-bats, walking her each time. She didn’t wait long in her third at-bat in the bottom of the fifth inning.
On the first offering from U-Hi pitcher Mollie Buelow, CV’s power-hitting shortstop clubbed the pitch over the center-field fence, scoring Gen Aman ahead of her.
Aman had broken up a no-hitter with a leadoff single and moved up on a bunt.
“I figured they were trying to work around me (again), but the whole time at the plate I was waiting for her to make a mistake and throw it where I could hit it,” Morales said. “Happily, that first pitch was in the right spot.”
Those were the only hits allowed by Titans pitchers Buelow and Devynne Johnson. They were matched by Bears hurler Alyssa Erickson.
Both of U-Hi’s hits were by Breann Warren. One came in the fourth with two outs. The other was a leadoff double in the seventh. But the Bears escaped problems when left fielder Jenna Gaskin made a nice grab of an opposite-field shot by Jordan Schmerer, and second baseman Chrystal Holt ended the game with a running, over-the-shoulder grab of a looper into short right field.
“It was a great game that was played hard,” Central Valley coach Jeff Van Horne said. “And we had some great defensive plays at the end.”
One pitch to Morales settled the game and garnered a district title for the Bears.
“I think that’s the first in CV history and it’s great to be a part of it,” Morales said. “I feel like we’ve been making history all season and we’re not ready to stop.”
Van Horne said that returning to state has been in the back of the Bears’ minds all season.
“They’re getting better every game and peaking at the right time,” he said.
District 3A: Trailing 1-0, the Highlanders (16-5) bunched their four hits, three of them doubles, two apiece in each the fifth and sixth innings.
Allie Burger doubled in the tying run following Alana Norman’s inning-opening single and stolen base in the fifth. Pitcher Haylee Cushner and second baseman Katelyn Harvey hit back-to-back doubles for the winner in the sixth.
Cushner, pitching with a cut index finger on her throwing hand, allowed but two hits. She gave up leadoff doubles in the fourth and fifth, Erin Olmstead scoring in the latter inning following a sacrifice fly.
“I was getting a little nervous in the seventh inning,” she said. “But I felt like I threw harder.”
Highlanders coach George Lynn noted the importance of being district champion because lower seeds could conceivably play four games without a break at the regional next week.
“Mt. Spokane did a good job of keeping us out of our element,” he said. “I thought we defended well, Haylee was stingy and again we came up with timely hits.”
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