WALLA WALLA - Few things in baseball are as rare as seeing a game decided by a walk-off fielder's choice.
But that's how Walla Walla Community College pulled out a victory over Wenatchee Valley in the first game of an NWAACC Eastern Region doubleheader Saturday at Warrior Field.
With the bases loaded and one out in the last of the 12th inning, Tyler Roberts grounded into a 6-4 fielder's choice that brought home the winning run in a 4-3 Warriors' triumph.
WWCC set the tone of game two with four runs in the first inning and romped to a 13-1 win. The game was called after 6 1/2 innings because of the mercy rule.
Walla Walla improved to 7-5 in league and 15-13 overall.
The hard-luck Knights, who entered the twin bill tied with Big Bend at the bottom of the Eastern Region standings, are now 2-10 and 4-21.
Richie Carmichael lofted a sacrifice fly to right field to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead in the second inning of the opener.
After Wenatchee tied the score in the sixth, WWCC used the first of two errors by Knights' second baseman Eddy Mockenhaupt to retake a one-run edge, 2-1, in the seventh. With two out and Carmichael at second, Kyle Sani stroked a ground ball up the middle that Mockenhaupt, ranging to his right, booted into shallow left-center field.
Wenatchee took its only lead of the day, 3-2, in the ninth inning on a two-out, two-RBI single by Joe Huwer.
Tyler Roberts led off the Warriors' ninth with a double and was at third with two out. Marc Garza hit a grounder past the mound that Mockenhaupt mishandled. The error allowed Roberts to score the tying run.
In the Walla Walla 12th, Roberts bounced a batted ball to Wenatchee shortstop Tylor Pavel, who tossed to second for a force out.
But Mockenhaupt's relay throw to first was a split second tardy to double up a sliding Roberts.
"It was important to all the kids," WWCC coach Dave Meliah said. "Everybody wanted that game. We got a lucky break (in the ninth inning). Tyler showed great hustle to plate the winning run."
Carmichael and Glen Reser hit run-scoring singles and Justin Windsor added a two-run base knock in the finale's initial frame. All of the Warriors' runs scored with two out.
"After that emotional loss, it was over," Meliah said. "You could see their desire wasn't there."
The Warriors scored once in the second inning and three more times in the third to assume an 8-0 lead. Reser had one of the bigger hits in inning three - an RBI double to right.
Sean McNaghten batted in Walla Walla's ninth run of the game with an infield single in the fifth.
WWCC tallied four times in the sixth. Windsor connected for a run-producing single that made it 12-1 and Tyler Porter ended the scoring with a sacrifice fly.
"We told the guys, ‘You can't sit back,'" Meliah said. "We wanted them to force the issue. We kept encouraging them to win every inning."
The Warriors close out the first round of league play on Wednesday with a doubleheader at Yakima Valley.
WVC 000 001 002 000 - 3 6 4
WWCC 010 000 101 001 - 4 9 2
Ranger, Haight (10), Graves (10), Dohrman (12) and Huwer; Pentecost, Lambert (7), A. Garza (10), Jordan (10) and Sani.
HR - none.
Hits - WVC: Wimer 2, Huwer 2, Mockenhaupt, Carlson; WWCC: Roberts 3, Reser 2, Nice 2, Hobart, Carmichael.
WVC 000 100 1 - 2 6 1
WWCC 413 014 x - 13 9 1
Carlson, Munoz (5), Haight (6) and Hastings; Bonczyk, Yundt (5), Staudenmaier (7) and McNaghten, McDonald (6).
HR - none.
Hits - WVC: Bollinger 2, Dohrman 2, Harris, Hastings; WWCC: Windsor 3, Reser 2, Carmichael 2, Hobart, McNaghten.