LEWISTON - Despite a 2-1 record through the first three days of play at the Clancy Ellis Junior American Legion baseball tournament, the Walla Walla Bruins earned a berth in Sunday's championship game here at Harris Field based on fewest runs allowed.
But it was hits allowed that decided matters in the title game as Competitive Athletics of Chehalis outscored the Bruins 8-7 to claim the championship.
Competitive Athletics pounded out 16 hits in the game, including four in the bottom of the seventh inning when it scored twice to counter Walla Walla's three-run rally in the top of the seventh and put the Bruins on top 7-6 and within three outs of claiming the championship.
"They could really hit," Bruins coach Jason Parsons said of the Chehalis team. "They were an older team and it was good for us to play a team of their caliber at this point in the season. They were a Senior Babe Ruth team and half of their players had already graduated from high school, so this was good for us."
By going 2-2 in the tournament, the Bruins will take a 23-11 record into a string of 12 leagues games over the next week-and-a-half leading up to the district tournament.
The Bruins' busy schedule continues today when they travel to Moses Lake to face the Walleyes in a 4 p.m. doubleheader at Larson Field.
The Walla Wallans host the Kennewick Bandits in a pair of games Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Walla Walla Community College's Warriors Field, and they entertain Hanford's Flames Thursday in a 3 p.m. twin bill at Murr Field on the Wa-Hi campus.
Two more games Saturday against the Eastmont Strikers in East Wenatchee round out the week's slate.
Walla Walla scored first on Sunday when Sean Hollenbeck opened the third inning by drawing a free pass, scooting to third on Moe Handcox's double and scoring on Josh Eggers' safety squeeze. Handcox advanced to third on Eggers' bunt and scored on Cody Furstenberg's infield grounder for a 2-0 Walla Walla lead.
Trailing 4-2, the Bruins plated two more runs in the top of the fifth to knot the score.
Eggers and Furstenberg singled, Mike Lesmeister bunted the runners up a base, and they both scored on Spencer Cordeiro's single.
Trailing 6-4 going to the top of the seventh, Taylor Lemke's one-out single got things started for the Bruins. After a passed ball allowed Lemke to reach second, Zane Henderson delivered an RBI single.
Luke Reardon followed with a single, a passed ball moved both runners into scoring position and Daniel Lake's suicide squeeze bunt pushed Henderson home with the tying run.
And Will Parnicky's single scored Reardon with the go-ahead run.
But it was to no avail when Competitive Athletics bunched the final four of its 16 hits in the bottom of the seventh and scored twice to claim the victory.
Earlier in the tournament, Handcox had three hits and three runs batted in on Thursday in a 13-2 victory over University of Spokane; Handcox had three more hits, including a double and a run scored, in a 5-3 loss to the Lewis-Clark Cubs of Lewiston on Friday, a game that saw Cubs pitcher Trevor Charlo strike out 13 Bruins batters; and Cordeiro pitched a complete-game shutout, striking out six and allowing just three walks in a 1-0 victory over the Nampa, Idaho, Braves on Saturday.
Competitive Athletics 8, WW 7
Walla Walla 002 020 3 - 7 10 1
Chehalis 004 011 2 - 8 16 1
Needham, Lake (3), Handcox (7) and Furstenberg, Lemke (5); Alexander and Deyes.
Hits - WW: Handcox 2, Eggers, Henderson, Cordeiro, Reardon 2, Lake, Parnicky, Arellano; Competitive Athletics: Ratkie 2, Deyes 2, Wheeler, Oliver 2, Golden 2, Alexander 2, Brown, Beckers 3, Harriman.