WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Community College went to the long ball and a deep bench to sweep Wenatchee Valley Wednesday in an NWAACC East Region baseball doubleheader.
The Warriors pounded three home runs to take the opener 6-1. WWCC lost three players to injury in the nightcap, and overcame a two-run deficit to pull out a 4-3 win. The pair improves the Warriors to 6-0 in the East.
"We've got guys that know how to win," WWCC coach Dave Meliah said. "They don't like losing. They're going to find a way."
In the opener, Knights starting pitcher Zach Aguirre,gave up only two Alex Bonczyk's hits over the first three innings. Bonczyk deposited his second hit into the left field bullpen to break a scoreless tie in the home third and give the Warriors a 1-0 lead.
"I was just seeing the ball well off of him (Aguirre)," Bonczyk said. "(The home run) was a 3-1 pitch and I was looking for my pitch and I found it."
Chance Kopacz started the Warrior fourth-inning four-run rally with a one-out single. Kyle Sani's triple scored Kopacz. One out later, Mike Paulson drove one over the right field fence for a two-run bomb. Jared Jordan followed with a solo shot over the scoreboard in left, and the Warriors went to the fifth up 5-0.
The Warriors clubbed out 10 hits in the opener.
"Down the lineup, we are all good hitters," Bonczyk said. "It just takes one to get going, and anybody can get it started. Once we're rolling, we've got it."
"The wind helps," Meliah said of the Warrior first-game homers. "We can drive the ball out of the yard, but we're just trying to hit the ball on a line somewhere and if it carries out, so be it."
On the defensive side, the Warriors were errorless and starting pitcher Brett Watson blanked the Knights over his six innings on five hits while striking out six and earning the win.
"I think we're solid," centerfielder Bonczyk said of the Warrior defense. "We don't have any weak points."
Bonczyk led the offense with a perfect four-for-four day - two singles, a triple, and a home run - missing the cycle by a double, and after a seventh-inning triple, he didn't get another opportunity.
"I was looking for that (the cycle)," Bonczyk said. "But, I'm happy with four-for-four, and 6-0 in league is a great start."
In the nightcap, the Knights scored in the first on J.J. Bollinger's RBI single and Bonczyk had to be removed from the game with leg cramps.
In the fourth, still trailing 1-0, starting WWCC shortstop Jordan had to be removed with blurred vision.
"I have never seen it where two different guys from the field had to be taken off," Meliah said. "As cold as it is, guys don't think they have to drink water, so hopefully, it's just some dehydration stuff."
And the injury bug wasn't finished. With runners at first and second in the Knight fourth, Scott Hastings doubled to knock in one, but a Paulson to second baseman Neal Schulke to catcher Kyle Sani nailed Cameron Markel at the plate, but the collision forced Sani to leave the game after his fifth-inning double.
"Kyle had a good leg bruise," Meliah said. "Kyle is a wall back there and he didn't move (in the collision with Markel)."
Down two, a Justin Windsor single, a run-scoring Sani double, a Marc Garza RBI double, and Kopacz's run-scoring single produced a three-run fifth and a 3-2 Warrior lead.
"That (the injuries) is when you have to pull together as a team," said Michael Leach, who went from catcher to right field back to catcher because of the injuries. "That's what we did. We came back and got the ‘W.'"
After Hastings got the Knights even with a towering blast over the left field fence to lead off the WVCC seventh, Leach started the Warriors' game-winning rally with a one-out eighth-inning single.
"I knew he (WVCC reliever Bollinger) came from the side and I was looking for a pitch to hit," Leach said. "I was lucky enough to hit the ball hard and get a base hit."
Paulson followed with a single and Schulke worked a walk to load the bases. Windsor's potential double play grounder was mishandled, but Windsor was out at first as Leach scored what proved to be the game winner.
Anthony Garza, who came on in relief of WWCC starter Tyler Roberts in the eighth, worked a scoreless ninth to run the Warriors' East winning streak to six.
"We were pitching to contact and throwing strikes," Anthony Garza's catcher Leach said. "He has good stuff and he used it today."
Kasey Knigge, Brandon Renteria and Leach had two hits each, and the Warrior depth led the second-game win.
"No game is easy," Meliah said. "And we trust all our guys on the bench. We have guys that can step in when stuff happens."
The Warriors travel to Pasco Saturday for an East doubleheader with CBC.
WVCC 000 000 100 - 1 7 0
WWCC 001 400 10x - 6 10 0
Aguirre, Haight (5) and Hastings; Watson, James (7), Renner(8) and Sani.
HR - WWCC: Bonczyk, Paulson, Jordan.
Hits - WVCC: Gordon, Dockins, Markel 2, Mockenhaupt, Bollinger, Robles; WWCC: Bonczyk 4, Kopacz 2, Sani, Paulson, Jordan 2.
WVCC 100 100 100 - 3 6 0
WWCC 000 030 01x - 4 11 1
Ranger, Munoz (6), Bollinger (7) and Hastings; Roberts, A. Garza (8) and Leach, Sani (1), Leach (6).
HR - WVCC: Hastings.
Hits - WVCC: Gordon 2, Bollinger 2, Hastings 2; WWCC: Renteria 2, Kopacz, Sani, Paulson, Windsor, Knigge 2, Leach 2, M. Garza.