Blue Devil baseball shuts out Cadets — twice

Strong Wa-Hi pitching keys two 9-0 Big Nine baseball victories over Eisenhower Friday at Murr Field.

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Wa-Hi first baseman Jake Campeau (No. 30) waits for a sliding Eisenhower baserunner to meet his waiting glove with the ball after a pick-off throw from the catcher.

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Wa-Hi baserunner Josh Eggers (right) gets a huge jump off Eisenhower's pitcher early in their first game Friday afternoon.

WALLA WALLA - It is hard to lose if the other team does not score.

Wa-Hi's pitching blanked Eisenhower, 9-0 and 9-0, here Friday in the opening of Columbia Basin Big Nine 4A baseball action.

Drew Christina shut out the Cadets on two hits and struck out 16 in the 9-0 opening win.

Matt Watson struck out eight before Jake Campeau came on in the seventh to fan one and complete the six-hit shutout as the Blue Devils completed the nightcap, 9-0.

The three Wa-Hi hurlers combined to fan 25 on the afternoon.

"It's been since Eric O'Flaherty and Justin James pitched for us that we've done something (dominate) like that," Blue Devil coach Keith Gradwohl said. "Twenty-five strikeouts in a doubleheader, you've got to feel good about that."

Moe Handcox got the Blue Devil bats going in the opener. Handcox led off the Blue Devil first inning with a triple to right center.

Kevin Toon drilled a single to score Handcox and Wa-Hi was off and running. Toon collected a triple and double - and scored both times - before the dust settled in the opener.

"It gets my swing down and gives me some confidence at the plate," Toon said of his first-inning single. "(Then) it seemed like everybody was hitting the ball well today. We focus a lot on hitting and our team has been hitting the (hide) out of the ball this year."

After Toon led off the third inning with a triple, Campeau drove him home with a double for a 3-0 lead.

Wa-Hi took advantage of three Cadet errors and Toon's RBI double to score four in the fourth to break this one open.

Michael Pontarolo's run-scoring sixth-inning double wrapped up the 11-hit, 9-0, Wa-Hi win in the opener.

But the game belonged to Christina. The left-hander was responsible for the first 13 Cadet outs - 12 by strikeout and one by pickoff at first. Wa-Hi catcher Conner Holbrook picked a Cadet off first base, Campeau took care of a grounder to first, Watson caught a fly in right and Handcox took care of a popup to center, and Christina and those 16 strikeouts took care of the rest.

"His (Christina's) deuce was working well today," Wa-Hi catcher Holbrook said. "It ended up in the dirt a lot, but it was still effective. Drew (who walked nine) is pretty good at working through situations. I don't have to say much to him."

"I don't recall 16 Ks in all my years at Wa-Hi," Gradwohl said. "That was phenomenal."

Holbrook forced a bases-loaded walk in the Blue Devil second inning to start the nightcap's scoring.

Campeau and Pontarolo drove in runs to run the lead to 3-0 after three.

Wa-Hi exploded for six runs in the fifth to put this one out of reach. Holbrook drilled a bases-loaded triple to right center to highlight the uprising as Wa-Hi took a 9-0 lead.

"I was looking for a pitch up that I could drive," Holbrook said of his three-run triple. "He gave it to me."

On the mound, Watson went the first six and blanked the Cadets on six hits, and despite not getting his first strikeout until the third inning still finished with eight strikeouts.

"He (Watson) didn't have the strikeouts like Drew did, but he threw hard," catcher Holbrook said. "He was locating his curve ball today, and we relied on that to get guys out."

Wa-Hi pounded out 22 hits on the afternoon, including three triples and four doubles. Toon's five hits led the way. Campeau and Pontarolo each chipped in four.

"Kevin Toon continues to be a tough out," Gradwohl said. "He's probably hitting over .600 now. Campeau was a tough out. We had some people hit the ball deep, which was pleasing. We're working hard on hit and runs and we had some successful ones today."

Wa-Hi moves to 2-0 in league with the wins.

"Just the way we wanted to start," Holbrook said. "Kind of sends a message to all the other teams."

Wa-Hi travels to Chiawana Friday.

"I think we can even be better than what we're doing," Gradwohl said. "We're going to put some things together this week to get ready for Chiawana."

First Game

Eisenhower 000 000 0 - 0 2 5

Wa-Hi 201 402 x - 9 11 0

Woodkey and Vickers; D. Christina and Holbrook.

HR - none.

Hits - Ike: Woodkey, Lombardi; Wa-Hi: Handcox 2, Toon 3, Campeau 2, Jimenez 2, Holbrook, Pontarolo.

Second Game

Eisenhower 000 000 0 - 0 6 1

Wa-Hi 012 060 x - 9 11 0

Pati, Farnsworth (5) and Gardner; Watson, Campeau (7) and Holbrook, Furstenberg (6).

HR - none.

Hits - Ike: Woodkey, Lombardi 2, Pati, Bernal-Sawyer, Farnsworth; Wa-Hi: Handcox, Pontarolo 3, Toon 2, Campeau 2, Lemke 2, Holbrook.

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