RICHLAND -- Last year, Richland beat top-ranked Walla Walla in extra innings for the CBBN 4A district softball title.
On Saturday, the Blue Devils took back the crown in commanding fashion.
Hope Klicker smacked a two-run home run in the first inning off Richland's Lindsey Walchli to jump-start Walla Walla's 10-1 victory over No. 1 seed Richland at Columbia Playfield.
The Blue Devils sought revenge after splitting a doubleheader with the Bombers on April 22 in Richland, and they took a big step toward getting it with Klicker's blast.
"When I was running (around the bases), I felt the fire, like this is the team we've been all season," Klicker said.
The Blue Devils hope to carry that momentum into regionals, where they will be the CBBN 4A's top seed. The Bombers, who later beat Wenatchee 10-3 for the No. 2 seed, must play the Greater Spokane League's No. 3 seed in an elimination game Saturday.
"We need to have the highest intensity of the year because the first game is loser out," Walchli said. "We need to come and bring it all."
The stage was set for Bombers-Blue Devils, Round 3, after Walla Walla defeated Wenatchee 5-0 and Richland shut down Moses Lake 9-0 in the semifinals earlier Saturday.
Both teams sent in ace throwers for their rematch.
Walchli started against fellow CBBN 4A first-team pitcher Alyson Ambler, who played first base in the Wenatchee game while Klicker was in the circle.
Walchli was replaced by Paige Goulet in the third inning after a two-run bunt by Andrea Hamada put the Blue Devils up 4-0.
"Our No. 1 pitcher threw a complete game (against Moses Lake)," Richland coach Casey Emery said. "Alyson, their No. 1 pitcher, she was fresh."
Ambler struck out six and kept the Bombers from mounting an offensive charge. Desarae Estavillo, pinch-running for Bethany Burch, came home on a passed ball in the fourth inning for Richland's only run.
"It feels good coming off the loss we just had against them," Ambler said. "It's a major confidence booster."
Said Richland's Devauna Green, who went 2-for-3 against Walla Walla: "I think they wanted it more than we did."
It's possible the Blue Devils and Bombers could meet again this year in Richland. The regional tournament might be moved from Moses Lake after the Chiefs fell 9-4 in a loser-out game against Wenatchee. Columbia Playfield is under consideration to play host to the event, a prospect that excites the Bombers.
"Winning a state berth on our own field, in front of our friends and family would be awesome," Walchli said.
Moses Lake 000 000 0 -- 0 6 4
Richland 101 070 x -- 9 18 0
Haylie VanLaethem, Sadie Smidaj (6) and Tressa Radach; Lindsey Walchli and Bethany Burch.
Highlights--Cassandra Guerrero (M) 2x3, 2B; Alex Jones (M) 2x3; Holly Perry (M) 2x3; Bailey Walthers (R) 4x5, 3 R, 2 SBs; Sydney Cejka (R) 3x4, 2B, 2 RBIs; Maddie Chambers (R) 2x4, 2 RBIs; Bethany Burch (R) 2x4; Devauna Green (R) 2x4, 2B; Dora Hernandez (R) 3x4, 2B, RBI; Walchli (R) 3K-0BB.
Wenatchee 000 000 0 -- 0 1 4
Walla Walla 110 201 x -- 5 7 0
Bri Craddock and Emile Holzerland; Hope Klicker and Kendsey Hill. Highlights -- Klicker (WW) 12K; Alyson Ambler (WW) 2x3, 2 2Bs.
Walla Walla 202 002 4 -- 10 10 1
Richland 000 100 x -- 1 5 2
Ambler and Hill; Walchli, Paige Goulet (3), Kayla Andrews (7) and Burch, Audrey Oleson (7).
Highlights -- Klicker (WW) 2-run HR; Ambler (WW) 6K; Andrea Hamada (WW) 2x4, 2 RBIs; Hill (WW) 2x4, 2B; Ashley Bezdicek (WW) 2B; TraeAnn Payne (WW) 2B; Green (R) 2x3, 2B; Monika Hebky (R) 2B.
Wenatchee 000 300 0 -- 3 3 1
Richland 602 200 x -- 10 12 0
Bri Craddock, Kinda Marker (4) and Holzerland, Robin Weigel (4); Walchli, Goulet (5) and Burch.
Highlights -- Rachael Tamngin (W) 2B, RBI; Lindy Holmberg (W) 2B; Green (R) 2x4, 2 RBIs; Walthers (R) 3x4, 2 R, 2 RBIs; Sydney Cejka (R) 2x4; Hernandez (R) 2x4, 2B; Lexi McCracken (R) 2B.
Moses Lake 000 200 2 -- 4 6 4
Wenatchee 000 054 x -- 9 12 0
VanLaethem and Radach; Craddock and Holzerland.
Highlights--Tasha Gentry (M) HR; Alex Jones (M) HR; Brianna Hoffman (M) 2x3; Haylee Douglass (W) 2x4; Rachael Tamngin (W) 2x3; Kirsten Flones (W) 2x3.
* Katie Dorsey: 509-582-1526; firstname.lastname@example.org