WENATCHEE - The good news is that Wa-Hi needs two more wins to make back-to-back trips to the class 4A girls fastpitch state tournament.
The bad news is that the Blue Devils' 22-game win steak came to an end here Saturday in the district championship game.
Wa-Hi won its opener 6-1 over Wenatchee to advance to the championship game behind Alyson Ambler's four hitter.
But in the championship, Richland pushed across a run in the top of the eighth to defeat the Blue Devils 2-1, earn the district title, the No. 1 seed to the regional tournament and hand an end the Blue Devils' 22-game undefeated run.
"22-1 is not bad," Wa-Hi coach Jerry Humphreys said. "It's disappointing to lose, but you have to keep it in perspective. The girls will bounce back and we need to win two before we lose two to get in (state tourney)."
Wenatchee pushed across a run to open the first game.
The Blue Devils answered in the home first. Wa-Hi loaded the bases and Vicki Reardon delivered a double to get Wa-Hi on the board.
Tarynn Fortune added a run scoring single and Ashley Bezdicek culminated the four-run inning with a RBI double.
Wa-Hi gave Ambler a 4-1 lead and she blanked the Panthers the rest of the way.
Wa-Hi got a sixth inning home run from Hope Klicker and advanced to the district championship game with the 6-1 win.
Jill McDaniels and Reardon led an eight-hit Blue Devil attack with two each.
"Alyson (Ambler) pitched a great game (one run, four hits, four strike outs, one walk)," Humphreys said. "Both teams played well. We just played well enough to keep the runs off the board."
In the title game, pitchers Paige Goulet, of Richland, and Klicker engaged in a good, old-fashioned pitching dual.
Wa-Hi got on the board first. Back-to-back two-out ground-rule doubles first from Alicia Baker and then McDaniels, plated a Blue Devil second-inning run and produced a 1-0 lead.
The Bombers got even in the fifth. Bailey Walthers doubled and was sacrificed to third and scored on an infield hit to tie it at 1-1.
Richland broke the scoring drought with a single, two sacrifice bunts, and an infield grounder to take a 2-1 lead to the home eighth.
"They (Richland) did a nice job of moving runners," Humphreys said. "They executed their short game and (Bomber pitcher) Goulet did a nice job of keeping us off balance."
The Blue Devils weren't done as Ambler singled and Klicker drew a walk in the Wa-Hi eighth.
A ground out moved Ambler and Klicker to third and second, but Goulet got a line drive to center off the bat of Tara Garcia to end it.
The Blue Devils, led by McDaniels three hits and Ambler's two, picked up eight hits but couldn't get the clutch hit, as they left nine runners stranded in the game.
"We had opportunities," Humphreys added. "We struggled getting the big hit. We left the bases loaded in the first, and runners at second and third in the eighth."
Wa-Hi will take its 22-1 season mark and No. 3 seed into Regional play in Spokane Friday, with time to be determined.
Wenatchee 100 000 0 - 1 4 0
Wa-Hi 400 020 x - 6 8 30
Bennett and Cook; Ambler and Reardon.
HR - Wa-Hi: Klicker.
Hits - Wen: Douglas, Roy, Lonef, Hozerland; Wa-Hi: McDaniels 2, Klicker, Reardon 2, Fortune, Bezdicek, Baker.
Richland 000 010 01 - 2 6 1
Wa-Hi 010 000 00 - 1 8 1
Goulet and Burch; Klicker and Reardon.
HR - none.
Hits - Richland: Walthers, Elgin 3, Cjeka, Burch; Wa-Hi: McDaniels 3, Hamada, Ambler 2, Fortune, Baker.