Baseball win gives Wa-Hi playoff berth

The Blue Devils moved to sixth place in the division after splitting with Kamiakin Friday.

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WALLA WALLA - Wa-Hi squandered a pair of late leads Friday during a Big Nine Conference Cascade Division baseball doubleheader with Kamiakin at Murr Sports Park.

The Blue Devils blew a 5-1, seventh-inning advantage in the opener, but scored a run in the last half of frame seven to squeak out a 6-5 victory.

Wa-Hi let a 4-1 lead slip away in the nightcap. The Braves tallied five runs in the sixth inning and went on to a 6-4 triumph.

The split - coupled with Eisenhower's double defeat to Richland on Friday, 19-8 and 9-2 - clinched a playoff berth for the Blue Devils, who will enter a Tuesday twin bill at Hanford in sole possession of sixth place in the division with a 6-6 record.

"Our goal all along was to get into the playoffs," Wa-Hi coach Keith Gradwohl said. "I'm proud of where we are right now."

Each team pushed a run across in the first inning of game one on RBI singles - by Kamiakin's Drew Oord and Kevin Toon of Wa-Hi.

The Blue Devils capitalized on a Kamiakin error to plate two runs in the second inning. They added a run in the third when Jake Jimenez lifted a sacrifice fly to right field.

Moe Handcox gave Wa-Hi a 5-1 lead in the fourth inning after scoring from second base on a wild pitch.

The Braves used a two-RBI single by Blake Raekes and a couple of Blue Devil fielding mishaps to tie the game in the seventh against Toon, who tossed a seven-hit complete game.

Wa-Hi loaded the bases with no outs in its final at-bat. Justin Mathews and Aaron Flippo reached base on errors and Toon was intentionally walked.

Matt Watson hit a shallow fly ball to center that was caught, but Mathews scored the game-winning run when the throw from the outfield to home plate was airmailed to the backstop.

The Blue Devils spotted Kamiakin a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the finale before scoring three times in the second inning on base knocks by their No. 8 and 9 hitters. Conner Holbrook tied the game with a single to right and Morgan Maddess contributed a two-run poke to left.

Flippo delivered Wa-Hi's final run of the day with a solo home run to left leading off the fourth.

Big swings in the Kamiakin sixth included run-scoring singles by Oord and Trevor Rowell, and a Garrett Anderson sacrifice fly.

Wa-Hi starting pitcher Jake Campeau threw a three-hitter over the first five innings prior to the Braves' rally.

"Toon and Campeau pitched well enough to win," Gradwohl said.

Kamiakin, led by former Wa-Hi coach Ryan Carter, is tied for fourth with Hanford in the Cascade standings. Both teams are 7-5.

"To have clutch hitting in late innings is huge this time of year," said Carter, who headed the Wa-Hi team for four seasons before becoming the head Brave. "That's what it's all about."

First Game

Kamiakin 100 000 4 - 5 7 4

Wa-Hi 121 100 1 - 6 6 2

Anderson, Berneski (6), Jansen (7) and Wolf; Toon and Meyer.

HR - none.

Hits - Kamiakin: Oord 2, Reaves, Wolf, Jansen, Raekes, Griffiths; Wa-Hi: Toon 2, Mathews, Campeau, B. Christina, Meyer.

Second Game

Kamiakin 100 005 0 - 6 9 3

Wa-Hi 030 100 0 - 4 9 3

Minnich, Berneski (4), Jansen (6) and Earles, Wolf (6); Campeau, Handcox (7) and Holbrook.

HR - Wa-Hi: Flippo.

Hits - Kamiakin: Jansen 3, Petragallo, Anderson, Raekes, Oord, Berneski, Rowell; Wa-Hi: Jimenez 2, Holbrook 2, Maddess 2, Mathews, Flippo, B. Christina.

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