The former Gladstone High School ace went the distance in the Cardinals' 8-5 win over Lower Columbia in last week's final

North Idaho's Madi Mott scattered 11 hits with six strikeouts and Jori Kerr went 2 for 3 with a double, a homer, and three RBIs, leading the top-ranked Cardinals to an 8-5 victory over Lower Columbia College in the championship final of the Northwest Athletic Conference softball tournament in Spokane.

Madi MottBailey Cavanagh added two hits and Megan Carver drove in two a pair as the Cardinals of Coeur d'Alene clinched their first NWAC title in only their fourth season in the league.

Mott, the freshman ace from Gladstone High School, was a force on the mound in all four tournament games for the Cardinals, who closed the season on a 23-game winning streak and finished 50-3.

"It's breathtaking," Mott told the Coeur d'Alene Press. "I didn't think I was going to cry, and tears of joy came down. It's just a great feeling to be a part of this amazing team … best team I've ever been on."

Said Cardinals coach Don Don Williams: "We had 10 sophomores and they just believed in the process. We started talking about that in September and they just stuck to it. And they took our freshmen in and got them on board, and they just worked.

"They worked hard and they stuck together and everyone got better and persevered. It was just an amazing season."

NIC opened the tournament with consecutive wins over Columbia Basin, Mt. Hood, Edmonds, and Walla Walla, setting the stage for last week's showdown with Lower Columbia in the final.

Lower Columbia took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but the Cardinals answered with three runs on two walks, two hits, and one Red Devils' error in the second.

In the third, NIC put two runners on base when Kerr drove a 3-1 pitch from LCC starter Nizhoni Wheeler over the fence in right-center field to give the Cardinals a 6-1 lead.

After LCC's Christine Robbins hit a two-run homer to cut NIC's lead to 6-5 in the fifth, the Cardinals scored two insurance runs in the sixth and Mott buckled down and retired the last seven Red Devils' batters she faced in order to seal the win.

In five tournament games, Mott went 5-0 with a 3.99 ERA. In 26 1/3 innings pitched, she allowed 15 runs on 33 hits with three walks and 29 strikeouts.

On the season, Mott pitched in 36 games with 22 starts and went 29-1 with three shutouts and a 2.07 ERA and was named the East Region Pitcher of the Year.

-- From staff reports

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