CHENEY - Mercer Island came out on top of Walla Walla Pacific in a 10-11 Little League All-Stars state tournament game Tuesday afternoon.
Pacific scored first, but ran into trouble in Mercer's five-run third inning, when the District 9 champions put up five runs off four hits, two walks and an error.
The battle of the unbeatens sent Pacific to the loser's bracket and a 6 p.m. match tonight with West Seattle.
"We just didn't hit with guys in scoring position," said Pacific coach Stacy Bergevin of Tuesday's game. "We had seven hits, but we didn't get a lot of big hits with guys on base."
The Walla Walla boys scored first, when Connor Hoeft singled, Ben Ortiz singled and Kobe Morris walked to load the bases. Devon Oliver hit a three-run double to put Pacific up 3-0 in the top of the first. Mercer Island's Parker Simpson hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first to put his team on the board.
Pacific saw trouble coming in the second, when Walla Walla loaded the bases with one out - and had two consecutive strikeouts to go back to the bench. They didn't score in the third, and Mercer had its own explosion in the bottom of the inning for the lead.
Although Walla Walla scored in the fourth with no outs, when Josh Bergevin walked, advanced to second on a passed ball, then scored on a Mason Knowles double. But they couldn't hold it and relief pitcher Garrett Poore sat down the next three batters in order to end the inning, and all scoring.
Ben Ortiz started on the mound for Walla Walla, and Kobe Morris replaced him in the bottom of the third.
"Ben was pitching fine until he ran into trouble," Bergevin said. "Kobe got us out of that inning and pitched a shutout the rest of the way, but we couldn't come back."
But Pacific will have another chance.
They play at 6 p.m. tonight against District 7 champions West Seattle. The two-game championship series begins Saturday and Pacific must win tonight, Thursday and Friday to qualify.
"Our goal is to keep playing," Bergevin said.
Mercer Island 6, Walla Walla Pacific 4
Pacific 300 100 - 4 7 1
Mercer Island 105 00x - 6 7 0
Ortiz, Morris (3) and Oliver; Simpson, Little (4), Ho (5) and Boissoneault.
HR - Mercer: Simpson.
Hits - Pacific: Knowles 2, Hoeft 2, Ortiz, Morris, Oliver. Mercer: Ho, Simpson, Nayar, Shanks, Boissoneault, Poore, Weaver.