A bounty of hitting plus just enough good pitching has the Richland Bombers playing in the Class 4A softball state semifinals.
April Utecht was 4-for-4 with a double and homer, and Kayla Andrews was 3-for-4 right behind her as the Bombers rolled over Newport 13-2 in the quarterfinals Friday at Merkel Sports Complex in Spokane.
Monika Hebky drove in three runs, and Paige Goulet worked her way around 13 Newport singles to keep the Knights’ offense mostly quiet.
As pleased as Richland coach Casey Emery was with the offense, he couldn’t stop talking about defense.
“They had the bases loaded and we were up 4-0. Their No. 4 hitter hit a deep flyball to left field, and Maddy Jones went back up against the fence, leaned against it and stole a grand slam,” Emery said. “It was one of the better high school catches you’ll see. Who knows how that game would have ended up otherwise.”
He also exalted second baseman Courtney Kent for her outstanding defensive play all day.
“Courtney was all over the place. I don’t know how many assists she had. She was the best defensive player on the field,” he said.
In the opener, Perryman and Utecht each went deep as the Bombers powered past Tahoma 7-5. Perryman doubled in a run during the Bombers’ three-run sixth inning to take the lead.
Andrews battled into the sixth before Goulet came on in relief to get the win.
“Kayla threw well today, but they got on her a little. Tahoma’s a good team. Maybe she just wasn’t hitting her spots, so we’ll get her right back out there today,” Emery said.
The Bombers face Arlington in the semifinals at 9 a.m. today. The winner moves on to the championship at 5 p.m.
“There’s excitement, but it doesn’t feel like we’re satisfied yet,” Emery said. “Every day is going to be a new day. It sounds to me like (Arlington) is a really good hitting team, kind of like us. What I’ve heard so far is that you do not pitch to their catcher, and you do not pitch to their pitcher.
“You make the other kids beat you.”
Tahoma 030 002 0 — 5 7 5
Richland 211 003 x — 7 8 1
Scott, Nance (6) and West; Kayla Andrews, Paige Goulet (6) and April Utecht. Highlights—Abby Perryman (R) 2x3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3R; Utecht (R) HR; Goulet (R) 2x2.
Richland 301 054 — 13 17 0
Newport 002 000 — 2 13 2
Goulet and Utecht; Wood and Coxey. Highlights—Perryman (R) 2B, 2 RBI; Utecht (R) 4x4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI; Andrews (R) 3x4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2R; Goulet (R) 2x4; Monika Hebky (R) 3 RBI, 2R; Courtney Kent (R) 3x4; Coxey (N) 3x4; Wood (N) 2x4; Shelby (N) 3x4.