WALLA WALLA — Walla Walla Community College salvaged the last game of its last regular-season home stand here Saturday in NWAACC East Region softball action.
The Warriors erupted for 12 hits and defeated Big Bend Community College, 11-7, in Saturday’s night cap to send sophomores Sam Robillard, Brook Simpson, Whitney Amberson, Kendyl Hamilton, Marisa Gonzales and Paige Pontarolo off on a winning note.
WWCC erupted for five runs on only two hits — singles by Hamilton and Hanna DeBaugh — to wipe out a 2-0 deficit and take a 5-2 lead to the third. Brinley Miller’s home run keyed a two-run Viking third to cut the Warrior lead to 5-4.
Miranda Smith’s RBI single and two Big Bend errors produced a 7-4 Warrior lead after four. A two-run shot by Tiffany Phillips cut the lead to 7-6 as the Warriors came to bat in the home fifth. Pontarolo, an ex-Wa-Hi Blue Devil, answered with a two-run triple to key a three-run rally and stretch the lead to 10-6.
Hamilton added the exclamation point with a solo blast in the WWCC sixth and sophomore day ended on a positive with the 11-7 win.
The Vikings pounded out four home runs, including three in a decisive eight-run fifth inning, to overcame a 4-0 deficit and take game one, 12-6. Erica Chandler started the Viking home run derby with a solo shot in the Viking fourth. Kim Martin with a two-run smash, Jalene Howell added a solo blast and Sam McGhie’s two-run rocket sparked the eight-run Viking fifth.
The Warriors got two hits from Hamilton, and Stefanie Snow got into the long ball act with a two-run blast off the scoreboard in the WWCC four-run second.
The Warriors welcomed Spokane Friday to open the home stand. The Sasquatch entered the game second in the East and lived up to their standing with 10-7 and 7-3 victories to push their East region record to 20-4.
The Warriors started quickly, as Gonzales’ two-run first-inning single got the Warriors even at 2-2 after one. The Warriors then tacked on` a four-spot in the home third. Robillard started it with a double, one out later, Gonzales blasted a two-run home run, and WWCC went on to tack on two more and grab a 6-2 lead.
“I have to tip my hat to their pitcher (southpaw Lindsie Scholwinski),” WWCC coach Mark Michaud said. “She is one of the best pitchers in our league. We did a really good job of getting good at bats off her.”
The Sasquatch battled back as the Warriors clung to a 6-5 lead into the fifth. Jesse Schafer’s RBI double got the Sasquatch even at 6-6. Sarita Leon’s one-out solo sixth inning home run gave the Sasquatch the lead for good at 7-6. Lexi Miller’s bases-clearing double in the seventh stretched the Sasquatch lead to 10-6. WWCC got one back in the home seventh as Miranda Smith doubled and eventually scored on Snow’s ground out.
“That one (three-run double) took the wind out.” Michaud said. “The story (of the first game) was we had a couple of miscues. We scored runs, and then we gave them some back. When you seesaw like that, it’s a challenge to win ball games.”
In game two, two-out back-to-back doubles from Katelyn Geyer and Morgan Mays sparked the Sasquatch to three first inning runs. Spokane tacked on one more in the second and that looked to be all Scholwinski, in the circle for the Sasquatch, would need. Scholwinski took a three-hit shut out into the home sixth.
Pontarolo reached on a two-base error, and hustled home from second on Cheyenne Kessler’s two-out infield single.
“Game two our energy was down a bit,” Michaud said. “We were in the game, but we weren’t scoring runs.
“Paige is a very good base runner,” he continued. “That (scoring from second) was aggressive.”
Hamilton followed Kessler’s infield single with a two-run home run over the right field fence, and the Warriors clawed back in, down 6-3 after six.
“Kendyl has been working real hard throughout the year,” Michaud said. “To see her take a ball to the opposite field was awesome.”
Spokane added a seventh inning run, and Scholwinski was too much on this afternoon as she disposed of the Warriors in order in the seventh to complete the Sasquatch sweep with the 7-3 win. Scholwinski finished with a five-hit complete game and nine strikeouts.
The Warriors (12-14 in the East) travel to Columbia Basin Community College Saturday in a three-team dogfight for the fourth and last East berth to the NWAACC tourney. Saturday’s results will determine if the Warriors, CBC or Yakima Valley punch a tourney ticket.
“It’s going to come down to Saturday,” Michaud said of the Warrior postseason hopes. “We’ll have to take care of it up at Columbia Basin. All you can ask for is the opportunity. We’ll be ready for our opportunity.”