Central Valley softball coach Joe Stanton said his players needed to make a statement – to themselves.
The Bears did so emphatically Wednesday in a 14-0 victory over Mead in the first day of the District 8 4A tournament at University.
University coach Jon Schuh and his assistants talked extensively to their players before a 11-1 win over Gonzaga Prep about the lack of a statement – especially at the plate.
Spokane Valley rivals U-Hi (17-3) and CV (14-7) both earned berths to the subregional against Mid-Columbia Conference teams. They’ll see which blinks first when they face off Friday in the championship game at U-Hi. First pitch is at 5.
G-Prep (6-16) and Mead (15-6) face off in an elimination game in the preliminary contest on Friday to decide the third seed to subregionals.
Central Valley 14, Mead 0: It’s the type of game the Bears have been waiting for all season.
Hannah Anderson called it a breakout game. She should know, considering she had three doubles, two of which were bases-clearing hits.
The Bears finished with 20 hits.
“To me it was more of a statement to ourselves,” Stanton said. “I think other teams know the potential we have but that was a statement to us about what we have top to bottom. All nine of our kids can rip the ball. We just hadn’t arrived until today.”
As impressive as the Bears were at the plate, sophomore pitcher Kelsey Gumm matched the effort. She finished with 10 strikeouts and limited the usually offensive-minded Panthers to three hits.
Gumm gave an indication of how commanding she’d be when she had five straight strikeouts – to end the first inning, get Mead in order in the second and to begin the third.
With her rise ball and change of speeds, Gumm may be the best-throwing pitcher in the league at this moment.
Gumm helped her cause in the first when she knocked in two of CV’s three runs with a single.
“That was one of the first games that we hit the ball together,” Gumm said. “We’ve been struggling offensively lately so this was good to come through.”
After back-to-back quiet innings, there was nothing quiet in three of the final four innings for CV.
Anderson had her first three-run double in the fourth. Then in the seventh, she knocked in three more when the Bears scored seven.
“This was probably my best game of the year,” Anderson said. “It all just came together for the team and everything. When I go up there I try to hit for the team and I don’t think about myself.”
The hitting was contagious. Jordan Schneidmiller had four hits, Gumm had three hits and Abi Horton also had three hits.
“We struggled all year coming through in the clutch in big innings,” Stanton said. “Teams don’t really strike us out a lot. We’ve been hitting the ball all year, we’ve just been hitting it at other teams. I just knew every day it was just a matter of time. Today was our day, we showed up, we came through in the clutch. To do that on a good Mead team says a little bit about who we are. That just shows the potential we have of doing any given day.”
University 11, Gonzaga Prep 1: Schuh knows people will look at the final score and think the Titans blew out the Bullpups.
But he begs to differ.
“Can you be that irritated with a win?” Schuh asked rhetorically. “I was just disappointed, we made too many mistakes. We can’t do that on Friday, we can’t do that the rest of the way. That’s the bottom line. I have girls who are way too experienced that did not show up today.”
The Titans’ Kailey Sanford got a triple in the third and scored on Hannah Click’s sacrifice fly.
In the top of the fifth, G-Prep matched the run when it took advantage of three errors.
U-Hi ended the game early with 10 runs in the bottom of the inning when it showed some life. Courtney Awbery had a two-run single and Sierra Apodoca knocked in a run with a hit.
Schuh said his team must have a different approach Friday.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t make adjustments on things we work on every day,” he said. “Every once in a while you have an opportunity to have a do-over and we got through this one. So the season starts new again.”
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