TOUCHET — Touchet High School freshman Cierra Jo McKeown struggled to find the strike zone in her pitching debut against Liberty Christian Tuesday, giving up 11 runs on two hits in four innings, but the Indians backed her up with 14 runs on 16 hits and Touchet picked up a non-counter against their Southeast 1B foe, 14-11.
The Patriots scored five runs in the first inning and six in the fourth before McKeown was replaced.
“She just couldn’t find the strike zone,” Touchet coach Gary Dorman said. “Everone has those days. In the second and third she kind of settled in, but in the fourth she struggled again. Harlie Schaeffer came in and just threw 1-2-3, 1-2-3 (innings) — she threw very well.”
The Indians entered the home fourth down 11-1 after managing just a run in the second inning, but Schaeffer launched a bases-clearing double to key a nine-run rally that pulled Touchet within one, 11-10.
Touchet completed the comeback with four more runs in the fifth and, with Schaeffer in the circle, cruised to the win from there.
“Everybody hit real well and from the fourth inning on, we were a little bit different team,” Dorman said. “Credit Liberty Christian, they were patient at the plate and kind of waited us in those first few innings, but it was kind of a tale of two games.”
Touchet, which Dorman said is struggling with injuries, got some good news on the reserve front in the win.
Backup first baseman Shelby Gould ended up leading the Indians with four RBI on a 3-for-4 night batting in the No. 7 spot.
“She hit the ball all night long,” Dorman said of Gould. “She was a nice surprise.”
Although the victory didn’t count as a league game, Touchet (8-0 SE2B, 16-2) and Liberty Christian will meet again in a loser-out District 9 playoff game May 14 as the district’s No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively. The winner of that game is guaranteed a trip to the District 7/9 regional tournament in Medical Lake, Wash., slated for May 18, but will play a seeding game on the 16th against the winner of a game between Colton and Garfield-Palouse.
TOUCHET 14, LIBERTY CHRISTIAN 11
LC 500 600 0 — 11 2 2
Touchet 010 940 X — 14 16 2
Peterson and Croskey. McKeown, Schaeffer (5) and Creek.
Hits — LC: Loera, Kelly. Touchet: McKeown 2, Schaeffer 2, Creek, Sturm 3, Cardwell 3, Gould 3, Cheshire, Aceves.