PASCO - Walla Walla Community College and Columbia Basin took to the softball diamond here Saturday with second place on the line in the regular season finale for both teams.
Walla Walla, holding a one-game lead over CBC, needed just a split to lock up the East Region's second seed to the NWAACC playoffs. The Warriors did just that, taking the opener 11-7.
The Hawks, however, proved to be the better bunch in game two, winning 2-1.
In game one, Walla Walla bats scored early and often against CBC's starter Taylor Bakos. The Warriors scored one run in the first, two in the second and three more in the fourth - with the big blow coming on a Shaila Rivers 3-run homer - to lead 6-0; at the halfway point, the rout appeared to be on.
But CBC answered in the bottom of the fourth, scoring five runs on the benefit of one hit - a Michelle Wheeler leadoff bomb.
After the Wheeler home run, WWCC starter Elayna Van Hess issued four bases-on-balls sandwiched around a single out before being pulled for Alexis Bobadilla.
Bobadilla cleaned up the mess, but not before a wild pitch, passed ball and sacrifice fly plated another three runs.
"Pitchers have got to throw strikes," WWCC coach Mike Staudenmaier said of his starter's fourth inning troubles. "Then we got Alexis in there and had a couple wild pitches and that's not good either. But we came back, scored some runs and got the win."
Neither team allowed runs in the fifth or the sixth. Then Kayla Hutcheson mashed a leadoff homer to dead center to start the Warriors five-run top of the seventh.
Walla Walla scored its final four runs after two outs. Jill Haney singled in Danyelle Hutchison, Shaila Rivers double in both Haney and Natalie Leyland, and Rivers later scored on an errant throw during her swipe of third.
Rivers finished the game one hero, going 4-for-5 with six RBIs.
With second place wrapped up, Staudenmaier emptied his bench for game two.
Bobadilla, the game two starter, put the Warriors only run on the board via a left field solo shot in the first inning.
CBC answered back with a Michelle Wheeler two-run blast two innings later to open up a 2-1 lead that would hold up for the final margin.
CBC's defense backed game two starter Wheeler brilliantly. Three times CBC nixed Warrior scoring chances with double plays-twice with a Walla Walla runner at third.
The Warriors best chance came in the fifth with the bases loaded and one out. Danyelle Hutchison lifted a fly to left field that CBC's Jasmine Reyes caught and fired home. Fran Leyland, attempting to score from third, was thrown out in the close play at the plate.
"We got all our kids in. They got the opportunity to play a little bit and that's good for us," Staudenmaier said casting off concerns of lost scoring opportunities. "More importantly, we're the two-seed now. We'll take on the No.3 seed out of the (NWAACC) North at 11:30 on Friday. We'll be ready for that."
Everett is the Warriors likely first-round opponent.
The NWAACC tournament takes place at Delta Park, Jantzen Beach, in Portland, Ore.
WWCC 120 300 5 - 11 15 1
CBC 000 500 2 - 7 4 3
Van Hess, Bobadilla (4) and Rivers; T. Bakos, M. Wheeler (7) and Brisby.
HR - WWCC: Rivers, Hutcheson; CBC: M. Wheeler.
Hits - WWCC: N. Leyland 2, Rivers 4, Bobadilla, Minnich, Hutcheson 2, Hutchison, Jones 2, Didion, Haney; CBC: M. Wheeler, Brummett, O'Brien, Brisby.
WWCC 100 000 0 - 1 7 2
CBC 002 000 x - 2 6 1
Bobadilla, Van Hess (5) and Sampson; M. Wheeler and E. Wheeler.
HR - WWCC: Bobadilla; CBC: M. Wheeler.
Hits - WWCC: Bobadilla 2, Minnich, King, F. Leyland 3; CBC: M. Wheeler, Hall 2, Brummett, O'Brien, S. Bakos.