Long before they became high school rivals, Evergreen’s Carter Monda and Mountain View’s Riley McCarthy shared team colors. The two first met playing for Cascade Little League baseball at 10 years old.
Two years later, they won the state championship and represented Washington at the Northwest Regional Tournament in San Bernardino, Calif.
“The first year we played together is when I started to break out,” said Monda, now a senior outfielder and pitcher at Evergreen. “That was the first year I hit a home run. After I hit that first home run, I hit like 25 the next year and my batting average was like .700.”
McCarthy, Mountain View’s catcher, admits Monda was the superior player when they started out.
“He was way, way better than me,” McCarthy said. “So he was always a guy I was looking to beat. It came to a point we were neck and neck in everything we did.”
Monda, a Division I talent, recently committed to Clark College. With spring sports on hold due to coronavirus concerns, opportunities for some of the region’s premier baseball schools to see him play were slim. So Monda chose to stay local and wait for his chance at either professional baseball or top-level college ball.
While he prefers the outfield, some schools are intrigued by the ability for him to pitch and play the field, Monda said.
“Baseball is just a love that sparks something in me,” he said. “It’s hard for me to explain. I just love it and I’m pretty decent at it.”
McCarthy, a junior, is committed to the University of Portland. He helped the Thunder to their best season in program history last year, hitting .384 with 25 RBI.
“His work ethic is crazy,” Monda said of his good friend. “I haven’t seen anybody who can match it. He used to be a little chubby kid, but now he’s just a brute of a man.”
After playing for the same American Legion team last summer, the Vancouver Mavericks, McCarthy and Monda’s rivalry added a new wrinkle this fall.
Monda joined the Plainsmen football team for the first time in his high school career, while McCarthy rejoined Thunder football for the first time since his freshman season. Both earned the starting quarterback job.
On Oct. 18, Monda threw for 218 yards and the game-winning touchdown pass as the Plainsmen upset McCarthy’s Thunder 40-35. McCarthy accounted for five touchdowns in the contest as he ran for 215 yards.
“I go to bed thinking about that one a lot,” McCarthy said. “That one stung.”
For Monda, it was payback for a 3-2 fastball McCarthy took yard on the baseball field two years ago.
“We got even,” Monda said. “I’m not done yet. I still have to get one up on him.”
The two meetings originally scheduled between their baseball teams was circled on the calendar as a last chance to put a stamp on the friendly rivalry. With the season in doubt now, they may have to remain equals for the foreseeable future.
“He’s one of my guys,” McCarthy said. “It’s awesome being able to play against him.”