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Huskies reach CWAC district title game with win over Selah

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | May 14, 2024 1:30 AM

OTHELLO — The No. 1 seed Huskies defeated No. 4 Selah 13-0 in Saturday’s Central Washington Athletic Conference district semifinals, advancing to the district championship in Selah on Tuesday.

“With Selah, you never really know (what to expect),” Othello head coach Alyssa Martinez said. “They can say ‘We’re not our best,’ but you can never count Selah out because they’re always a great competitor. Having all week to prepare for our opponent has been great.”

After a five-run bottom of the first inning — which featured RBI by senior Amarie Guzman, junior Lovie Franco and junior Kaelee Valdez — Othello put up seven runs in the bottom of the second inning to take an early 12-0 lead. 

Junior Emi Pruneda, Franco, Valdez and senior Miccaela Valdez all drove in runs in the bottom of the second inning, while senior Persayis Garza scored off a Viking error.

Martinez said the Huskies focused on their batting during practices leading up to Saturday’s game.

“Learning from when we played Selah but also taking away from Monday, we had a lot of looking strikeouts; at practice this week, it was a lot of situational hitting and learning to be aggressive — even if it’s an 0-1, 0-0 (count), do not let that strike go by you,” Martinez said. “Just be aggressive.”

The final run of the game came off an RBI single by Miccaela Valdez, pushing the score to its eventual 13-0 final. The senior led the Huskies in hits on Saturday, going four-for-four at the plate with two RBI.

“I was just making sure to stay patient at the plate and wait for a good pitch to swing at,” Valdez said. 

Kaelee Valdez led the team with three RBI in the win. Along with Miccaela Valdez, Pruneda, Franco and Kaelee Valdez all picked up multiple hits in the win.

Guzman got the start in the circle, pitching all five innings while surrendering one hit and two walks, and struck out 14 of the 18 Viking batters faced.

“I told myself to stay strong, keep pitching how I’ve been pitching,” Guzman said.

Othello previously took on the Vikings in a road doubleheader on March 21, winning both games by scores of 10-0 and 14-1. 

“They were our first (league) game, so we had to watch some film,” Martinez said. “The pitching — knowing the speed of it, that we were going to make an adjustment.”

With Saturday’s win, Othello moves on to the CWAC district championship game where they’ll face off against the No. 3 seed Ephrata Tigers, who defeated No. 2 East Valley (Yakima) 18-14 on the road on Saturday. Othello and Ephrata split their regular season doubleheader, with each team winning a game 6-3 on April 29.

“It’s very exciting,” Martinez said. “I have a great group of girls, and it being my first year, I’m super excited. We’ve put a lot of time into the girls, I love this sport, I love this team; I’m super excited for them because I told them all year, ‘Numbers are not in our favor, so it’s going to be (about) health and how hard you work.’”

After losing to Selah in last season’s district championship game, Guzman said the Huskies are excited to get back to the game.

“It’s exciting to be back there again; hopefully we can take it this time,” Guzman said. “We’ve got to stay humble and stay confident.”

Box score

SEL: 0-0-0-0-0 0
OTH: 5-7-0-1-X 13

    Othello junior Kaelee Valdez (6) led the Huskies with three RBI in Saturday’s 13-0 win over Selah in the Central Washington Athletic Conference district tournament.
 
 
    Othello junior Lovie Franco singles on a pitch during Saturday’s district tournament game against Selah.