CLARKSTON - Mitch Lesmeister's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth inning scored Dexter Aichele from third base with what proved to be the winning run as Walla Walla Pacific edged Asotin County 9-8 here Thursday night in the championship game of the District 5 Little League 11-12 baseball tournament.
The victory vaults Pacific into the state tournament that begins July 24 in Elma.
"We've got two weeks to get ready," Pacific manager Steve Barker said. "I'm giving the kids the weekend off. They've worked hard to get this far."
It took hard work as well to overtake Asotin County here Thursday.
Asotin County grabbed a 5-0 lead in the top of the third inning only to have Pacific battle back for five runs in its half of the inning. Then, after the host team scored three times in the fourth to assume an 8-5 advantage, the Walla Wallans matched the rally again with a three-spot in the bottom half of the frame.
Nick Zehner opened the Walla Walla fifth by drawing a walk. Aichele was then safe at first base and Zehner was safe at second on an unsuccessful fielder's choice. Cameron Spencer followed with a sharp base hit, but Zehner was thrown out at the plate attempting to score the go-ahead run.
However, Aichele alertly moved to third base on the play. And when Lesmeister was able to lift a fly ball to center field, Aichele was able to race home with the go-ahead run.
Aichele, who had taken over on the mound with two out in the third inning, retired Asotin County without further damage in the sixth to seal the victory.
"He got the game ball," Barker said of Aichele. "He really didn't figure into our pitching plans, but we went to him and he shut them down, especially over the last two innings."
Spencer finished the game with three of Pacific's 10 hits and Isaiah Standard and Ethan Haen had two hits each. Spencer and Haen delivered key doubles during Pacific's five-run third inning Standard doubled and Haen smacked a two-run triple in the three-run fourth.
Asotin County 005 300 - 8 6 0
Walla Walla Pacific 005 31x - 9 10 2
Barton, Wessels (4) and Beeler; Olivares, Spencer (3), Aichele (3) and Spencer, Haen (3), Spencer (4).
HR - AC, Heytvelt, Aliverti.
Hits - Asotin County: Heytvelt 2, Rimmelstacker, Beeler, Aliverti, Lane; WWP: Spencer 3, Lesmeister, Standard 2, Haen 2, Roff, Zehner.