RICHLAND -- One player stood between Davis and the CBBN 4A district championship on Saturday at Bomber Field.
That player, Richland goalkeeper Nash Yamauchi, was determined to keep the Pirates from celebrating on his home field. So in a situation when many goalkeepers might lose their head, the undaunted junior decided to use his in a 1-0 shootout victory over Davis.
Yamauchi came up with one of the biggest saves in Bombers soccer history, diving to his right to stop Oscar Martinez's fifth-round kick in a shootout to keep things even at 4.
"You've just got to stay calm," said Yamauchi, who made three saves during the 90-minute scoreless regulation for his sixth shutout this season. "I noticed a little trend. Their first four shooters all went to my left, so I thought (Martinez) might mix things up."
Eric Thomas then drove Richland's sixth-round kick past Davis goalie Alexes Garcia for a 5-4 lead. But Garcia stepped up for the Pirates and missed wide left to give the Bombers the win.
"It feels great right now to prove that we deserve to be district champions," Yamauchi said. "All the other schools thought it was a surprise that we won the league title."
The win earned Richland coach Octavio DoValle his eighth district championship since 1987 and first since 2003, the year the Bombers went on to win the 4A state title. DoValle had already earned his ninth league title at Richland last week.
"Right now our shield has one star (representing the state title). It needs another one," DoValle said. "As a coach, you try to convey a message. When it gets received, it gives you hope."
DoValle lauded his seniors for setting the tone for this year's squad, which has won its last four and will play host to Wednesday's loser between Lewis & Clark (9-7) and Ferris (12-3) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bomber Field in the CBBN/GSL regional tournament.
Davis (10-5) will travel to Spokane to face the winner between Ferris and LC on Saturday.
DoValle also said that two more seniors -- defender Michael Klein and midfielder Sandro Degonda -- will be returning from injury this week and are expected to play Saturday.
The Bombers (12-3) outshot the Pirates 17-16, but both teams had more than a few chances to score during the run of play.
Davis nearly scored after a deep free kick caught the wind and found midfielder Ricardo Badillo all alone on the left side of Richland's penalty box. But Badillo hurried his shot and it sailed high.
Minutes later, the Bombers got a chance on the Pirates' end of the field when a Davis defender tried to clear a free kick from Jonathan Larsen. The ball bounced high in the air, and Richland midfielder Austin Herrick caught Garcia off line and headed it toward the back of the net. But out of nowhere, Pirates' defender Jhony Mendoza stepped in front and cleared it out.
Each team got at least one great opportunity in overtime. Richland actually had two. Larsen tried to catch Garcia off guard with a 30-yard liner from the right side in the 85th minute, but it missed the crossbar by inches.
Early in the second overtime, Eric Thomas nearly converted a header off a cross from Joe Virden, but the ball rang off the right post.
"I would have liked to see a score," said Virden, who led the CBBN 4A with 11 goals this year. "But Nash was coming up with some big saves. I've never seen a goalkeeper come up with a bigger save in a situation like (the shootout)."
Shootout goals (Richland 5-4)--D, Moices Herndandez, Alexio Garcia, Jhony Mendoza, Homar Renteria. R, Joe Virden, Perry McNamar, Jonathan Larsen, Austin Herrick, Eric Thomas. Shots--D 16, R 17. Saves--D, Alexes Garcia 4. R, Nash Yamauchi 3.