WALLA WALLA - DeSales broke open a pitchers' duel with two runs in its final at-bat - courtesy of zero hits - to defeat Columbia-Burbank, 3-1, in non-league baseball action at Borleske Stadium Tuesday afternoon.
The Irish walked three times in the sixth inning, scored the go-ahead run on an error and plated another run on a Matt Wujek sacrifice fly to deep center.
All three Irish runs in the game were unearned.
The game was a clinic of pitching and defense for the first five-and-a-half innings, with purple-clad Dyllon Smith making his first varsity start for Burbank versus green-jerseyed Kyle Lindgren for DeSales.
Each starter gave up three hits and a run in the first inning before settling down.
Smith opened the offense for Burbank, doubling to the right-center field gap off Lindgren, plating Kameron Long.
DeSales tied the game up in the bottom of the inning on a Tommy Gregg theft of third and subsequent errant throw by Burbank catcher Kevin Ireland that scooted by third baseman Dylan Bertsch into left field. Gregg gathered himself from the slide and sprinted home before left fielder Nathan Roberts could corral the ball in foul territory.
Both pitching batteries cruised for the next four innings, and neither team mounted a serious threat until the sixth, when Burbank's Kevin Ireland doubled into left field to lead off the inning.
DeSales relief pitcher Victor Mata battled back, striking out center fielder Dillon Byrd and inducing new third baseman Ethan Ireland to ground to third - ahead of the runner, who remained at second - for the second out.
First baseman Chad Davis then mashed a Mata fastball on a line into center field. Gregg came up with the bouncer quickly and fired it back to the infield, forcing Burbank coach Mike Steberl to halt Ireland at third.
Mata then struck out Roberts to end the inning.
The Irish took the lead in the bottom of the sixth with one out and two on with starter Smith still on the mound.
Nine-hole hitter Joe Duehn laid a sacrifice bunt down the first-base line, which pitcher Smith pounced on immediately. Smith wheeled around to attempt the put-out on lead runner Travis Haen at third, but third baseman Ethan Ireland was out of position in on the grass. The ball sailed over Ireland into left field, allowing Haen to score the go-ahead run.
Two batters later, Matt Wujek tacked on the insurance run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to center.
"It was the first time the third baseman had played that position, and I don't think he was quite ready to get back over to third base," Steberl said. "The catcher was telling the pitcher to go to third, so he turned and threw it and it was over (the third baseman's) head.
"I thought our pitchers threw a heck of a game, our defense was good and our bats are coming around," he continued. "Other than that one nasty error, I think we'd still be playing."
"I tip my hat to some of the guys who have been on the bump lately," DeSales coach Kim Cox said. "They've been doing a great job of staying focused and locating their pitches, especially when there's some pressure on them.
"Our pitchers have been getting the big strikeouts in tough situations," he said.
The win boosts DeSales' record to 8-2. The Irish next take on Tekoa-Oakesdale in a home doubleheader slated for Saturday at 11 a.m.
The 5-3 Coyotes return to league action Saturday with a doubleheader at Wahluke.
Burbank 100 000 0 - 1 8 2
DeSales 100 002 x - 3 6 0
D. Smith, E. Ireland (6) and K. Ireland; Lindgren, Mata (5) and Wujek.
HR - none.
Hits - Burbank: Schuck, D. Smith, K. Ireland, Byrd, C. Davis 2, Roberts, C. Smith; DeSales: Gregg, Richard, Mata, Lindgren, Hoeft, Duehn.