WALLA WALLA - Victor Mata threw a complete-game five-hitter and struck out 11 while Pat Richard collected three hits as DeSales posted a 7-3 victory over Liberty Christian in the first game of a Class 2B baseball doubleheader Saturday at Ray Lane Field.
Richard added four hits and two RBIs in the nightcap, which the Irish won 13-6.
DeSales improved its league-best record to 11-1 and will take a 17-2 overall mark into district playoff action at 1 p.m. next Saturday against Asotin at Borleske Stadium. The game will decide District 9's No. 1 seed to the regional playoffs the following weekend.
Mata helped his own cause in game one with an RBI single to left field as part of a two-run DeSales rally in the first inning.
The Patriots got on the board in the fourth on an Ethan Dufault sacrifice fly and tied the score at 2-2 in the fifth inning on a Jacob Peterson single to center.
But a run-scoring double by Richard, a Kyle Lindgren sacrifice fly, and an errant pick-off throw in the last of the fifth returned the lead and momentum to the Irish, 5-2.
DeSales scored twice more in the sixth inning on a balk and a bloop double to center by Lindgren.
Liberty Christian's Nathan Taylor ended the game's scoring with a homer to left-center to lead off the seventh.
"Most of the year, he's located," DeSales coach Kim Cox said of Mata. "He located most of the time (Saturday). He'll get it rounded out."
The Irish wasted no time seizing the initiative in the second game. DeSales tallied eight runs on as many hits in the opening frame. Richard delivered a pair of RBI singles, Matt Wujek stroked a two-run single, Travis Haen ripped a two-RBI double, Spencer Smith had a run-producing two-bagger, and Lindgren slapped an RBI single.
After allowing single runs in the second and third stanzas, the Irish scored four times in the fourth. An RBI single by Lindgren and Kincade Schmitz's infield grounder accounted for half of the inning's runs.
DeSales picked up its final run in the fifth on a towering long fly by Richard to left center.
"At the beginning of the year, I didn't know (how the season would go)," Cox said. "I'm happy we're still playing."
LC 000 110 1 - 3 5 2
DeS 200 032 x - 7 6 3
Groth, Peterson (6) and Koglin; Mata and Wujek.
HR - LC: Taylor.
Hits - LC: Groth 2, Taylor 2, Peterson; DeSales: Richard 3, Mata, Wujek, Lindgren.
LC 011 031 0 - 6 5 0
DeS 800 410 x - 13 14 4
Dufault, Peterson (1), Lindquist (4) and Koglin; Wujek, Lindgren (4), Richard (5) and Mata, Wujek (5).
HR - DeSales: Richard.
Hits - LC: Olson 2, Dufault 2, Steele; DeSales: Richard 4, Wujek 2, Lindgren 2, Mata, Haen, Smith, Hoeft, Roach, Duehn.