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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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4A softball: Carley pitches Tahoma to championship

Steve Christilaw Correspondent

Once Tahoma got into the State 4A playoffs, coach Tom Milligan decided to put his team’s fortunes in the hands of junior pitcher Carley Nance.

“I have a senior and I have a junior,” he explained. “For whatever reason, and partly because she’ll be back next year, we went with the hot hand.”

Nance paid big dividends on the show of confidence, pitching the Bears to their first state fastpitch title, stringing together a barrage of singles to post a 9-1 win over Richland Saturday at Dwight Merkel Complex.

Nance hurled 16 innings to earn two wins Saturday. She out-dueled Camas’ starter Katie Schroeder to take a 3-2 win in nine innings in the semifinals. In the title game she mastered a Richland team that had bombed its way past Woodinville in its semifinal, 9-7.

“I have so much confidence in the players behind me,” Nance said. “I know they will make plays behind me. I didn’t try to overpower anyone and just let the movement on my pitches do the work.”

Tahoma was making its fifth straight state tournament appearance. The Bears only other trophy was for third place in 2013.

The team stormed through its league season unbeaten, but was anything but a juggernaut in the playoffs.

“We ran into trouble,” Milligan said. “We lost both of our seeding games coming out of our league tournament and lost again in the seeding game at districts.”

“I think we figured out that it’s a different game in the playoffs,” Nance said. “Team’s don’t just roll over in the playoffs the way they do sometimes in league. They keep coming back on you.”

In state tournament’s past, the Bears had trouble getting through Friday unbeaten.

“For some reason we had trouble getting through our second game,” Milligan said. “This year we did and we got to Saturday unbeaten. I told the girls ‘Hey, why not us?’ ”

The nine-inning semifinal was the kind of game that got the team pumped up for the finale, Nance said.

Woodinville beat Snohomish in a loser-out game in the consolation bracket and Camas bounced back to beat Bethel.

The Falcons, who lost in the semis for the second straight year, edged Camas for third.

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