SPOKANE — Lena Richards is a perfect example of the anything-can-happen nature of the state Class 4A softball tournament.
Camas’ diminutive junior second baseman had never homered in her entire softball career coming into Friday’s opening round game with Lake Stevens.
Against the Vikings, she went yard twice to spark the Papermakers, who advanced to today’s semifinal rounds with a pair of wins — 6-2 over Lake Stevens and 5-3 over Central Valley. Camas takes on defending champion Woodinville today at 9 a.m.
Normally a slap hitter, Richards dug in with two strikes in the first inning, turning on a fastball from Sierra Card that sailed over the fence in right field to give her team a 1-0 lead. The scenario played out exactly the same in the fifth and Richards belted a two-run shot that pushed the lead to 4-1.
“The thing that I feel best about is that my second time up after hitting the first home run, I lined out to first,” Richards said. “That told me that it didn’t go to my head and that I was swinging the way I’m supposed to and not trying to hit a home run.
“I’m not the biggest player around, so I have to do everything right in order to hit the ball out, so it’s not something I can afford to do. I just have to be aggressive and get a good pitcher to hit and do what I can with it. “
Junior pitcher Harli Hubbard struck out 13 Vikings to collect the win. Sophomore Katie Schroeder started against the hometown Bears from Central Valley and found herself leading, 3-0, before she threw her first pitch.
Central Valley battled back to tie the game at 3 in the bottom of the fifth thanks in part to solo home runs by pitcher Carli Riordan and third baseman Tia Pau.
Amee Aarhus’s RBI-single in the sixth and Schroeder added an RBI single in the seventh while Hubbard pitched the final two innings to collect the win.
“The great thing about Katie and I is that we know we can just go out and throw as hard as we need to and know that we have each other’s back,” Hubbard said. “My arm was tired after that first game and she did a great job in the second.”
Camas coach Ken Nidick said this morning’s semifinal game should be exciting.
“Yes, Woodinville has great pitching, but I think we can play with them,” he said. “The way we played today is the way we’ve been playing all year. We had a hiccup in the playoffs and I think that loss (to Skyview) was a great wake-up-call for us and we’ve been playing really well since.
“I told the girls that our job now is to win one game before we lose two. If we do that, we go home with a trophy from the state tournament. That’s what we came here to do.”
Skyview drops two games
Skyview drew Woodinville in the opener Friday, dropping a tough, 3-1 decision to the Falcons. Stanford-bound pitcher Madi Schreyer fired a two-hitter for the win. In their consolation-round game, the Storm fell to Bellarmine Prep, 12-8.