It took nearly seven hours to accomplish very little Thursday in NWAC East Region baseball action.
Walla Walla Community College used a four-run sixth inning to overcome a three-run deficit, and went on to defeat Spokane, 6-4, in the opener.
It took the Sasquatch 15 innings to pull out a 3-2 win in the nightcap to gain a split.
Spokane and Walla Walla entered Thursday play tied for the East Region lead at 6-2. The two teams left Thursday tied for the East Region lead at 7-3.
“It’s always nice to get one,” Warrior coach Dave Meliah said. “But when you win that first one, you start thinking of a really good day.”
In the opener, Sasquatch starting pitcher Kade Woods blanked the Warriors for five innings, and the Sasquatch got a second-inning RBI single from Dustin Yates and a two-run single from Rylee Peterson in the third to lead 3-0 going to the home sixth.
Brandon Wagstaff and Jacob Haas worked one-out walks in the Warrior sixth.
Wa-Hi baseball alumnus Futa Ikuma plated Wagstaff with a single.
Josh Kutzke then ripped a single to left to load the bases, and Taylor Brooks delivered the third consecutive Warrior hit to knock home Haas and Ikuma with the tying runs.
One out later, Sean Coffey’s two-out single plated Kutzke with the go-ahead run and the Warriors went to the seventh up 4-3.
“We hung around and made an adjustment against Woods,” Meliah said. “Guys had quality ABs (at-bats) and kept the line moving. That’s our game.”
Warrior starting pitcher Jarrod Molnaa, with the lead, worked a six-pitch perfect seventh to keep the lead.
Molnaa finished his day working seven innings, allowing three runs, and giving up six hits.
A run-scoring Wagstaff single and a Haas sac fly added two eighth-inning insurance runs as the Warriors took a 6-3 lead to the ninth.
The Sasquatch got one back, but Carson Woolery, out of the Warrior pen in the eighth, closed it out before more damage could be done.
A second-inning Robby Heiberg triple and a run-scoring single from Austen Morfin produced a 1-0 Warrior lead after two in the nightcap.
Heiberg’s bunt single to lead off the Warrior seventh led to a Hayden McCarney sac fly and a 2-0 Warrior lead.
The first seven was a pitching dual between Sasquatch lefty Ryan Byrd and Warrior Clark Streby.
Through seven, Byrd allowed two runs, gave up seven hits, and struck out nine, while Streby pitched seven scoreless while giving up only three hits.
In the Sasquatch eighth, Streby retired the first two, but Peterson’s slow roller toward short wasn’t handled cleanly, and the next Sasquatch hitter, Kole Lane, took Streby deep to tie the game a 2-2.
“The mistake was the batter before Lane,” Meliah said. “We were 0-2 and he (Streby) put a ball where the hitter could put it in play and we don’t make a play, and the next guy hits the tying home run. But Clark threw really well for the eight innings he was in there.”
After Heiberg’s bunt single in the seventh, the Warriors got only one more hit, Ikuma’s 12th inning single, against the Sasquatch bullpen of Austin Lee, Rhyse Frey and Ben Castro.
“We seemed like we were over swinging,” Meliah said. “Guys were trying to end it on one swing. That’s not our game. And we swung at a lot of bad pitches. The frustrating thing is not that we lost in 15 innings, but that we just didn’t have a lot of great at-bats.”
The Warrior pen of Jax Evenhus, Austin Haughton — who came out of nowhere to get the last out in the 10th after Evenhus had to leave with an injury — and Dimick Wood, worked seven innings, gave up three hits and, unfortunately, one run.
In the Sasquatch 15th, a hit batsman, a Brian Hill single, and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out.
Enter Wood in relief of Haughton. Wood struck out the first batter he faced for the second out.
With no room for error, Wood threw an erratic pitch and Jorden Ross scored what proved to be the winning run. Wood got the last out, but the Warriors came to bat in the home 15th down 3-2.
Castro came on to work a perfect 15th for the Sasquatch to keep Spokane in a tie for the East lead with the 3-2 win.
“We just didn’t finish,” Meliah said of the second-game loss. “You’ve got to get all 27 outs when you’ve got the lead.
“It was a great ballgame,” Meliah continued. “We can learn the kind of approach we have to have to stay focused through all of that.”
Article by Ken Morgan of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Photo by Greg Lehman of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin