CHENEY - An offensive battle greeted Walla Walla Pacific's 10-11 All-Stars in the state tournament Wednesday.
But Walla Walla got it done, pulling out an 11-9 victory over West Seattle in the contest, which saw the West Seattleites hit four home runs, including a three-run, first-inning shot.
The win moves Walla Walla into a 6 p.m. game tonight with Chehalis, and it sends West Seattle home with a tie for fifth place.
"I'm really proud of the way we're playing," said coach Stacy Bergevin. "Every team here is good, they're all district champions. Every game is tough from start to finish."
This game was no different.
Walla Walla opened the first with two quick outs. But Levi Haen walked and Ben Ortiz singled, then Kobe Morris singled to score Haen. Devin Oliver's single scored Ortiz and Morris, and then Alex Johanson singled in Oliver, all on two outs.
The early 4-0 lead might've brought comfort, but West Seattle wasn't about to quit.
West Seattle's leadoff batter struck out to open the bottom of the first, then Ethan Chen walked, Jacob Terao singled, and Alex Pastrana singled to score Chen and load the bases.
Dylan Diggdon then hit a three-run homer to clear the bases for a 4-all tie, then Chris Drake hit a follow-up homer to take a 5-4 lead. Kai Osaka singled, then Max Stencil singled Osaka home for a 6-4 lead.
Walla Walla's reaction was a pitching change, bringing in Conner Hoeft to relieve. Hoeft managed to get the third out of the inning and hold the score to 6-4.
After a scoreless second, Oliver opened the top of the third with a solo homer to move Walla Walla within one, 6-5. Garrett Elsom reached second on an error, then Mason Knowles singled him home for a 6-6 tie.
But home run fever wasn't over. Osaka led off the bottom of the third with another West Seattle homer for a 7-6 lead.
Walla Walla was scoreless again in the fourth, while West Seattle put up yet another homer by Chen for an 8-6 lead.
With a battle of the bats, it was the fifth inning that made the difference.
Walla Walla got a quick out, then put Josh Bergevin on with a single. Knowles doubled, putting runners on second and third, then Hoeft singled in Bergevin to make it 8-7. After a strikeout, Ortiz doubled to score both Hoeft and Knowles for a 9-8 Walla Walla lead, their first since the top of the first inning.
West Seattle led off with a single, then had a walk, strikeout and another walk to load the bases with one out.
Their next batter singled to center field and brought one runner home, but the second runner, Osaka, attempted to score from second. Bergevin, in center field, threw to shortstop Levi Haen to cut off Osaka at the plate, preventing the go-ahead run and putting up the second out. Hoeft managed to get a ground-out for the third out of the inning and hold the game tied at 9-all.
Walla Walla ended all scoring in the top of the sixth, when Oliver singled, Jack Weigand doubled and Scott Golden, pinch-running for Oliver, scored the go-ahead on a passed ball.
But there was debate about whether Golden actually touched home plate, so West Seattle pitcher Kevin Chen followed him into the dugout for the tag.
With the ball now out of play, Wagand, who was on third, was able to score Walla Walla's final run of the game.
The umps ruled Golden safe, meaning both runs were good.
In the bottom of the sixth, West Seattle's Terao led off with a double, then Alex Pastrana singled to put two runners on base with no outs.
But a grounder, strikeout and pop fly ended the game and kept Walla Walla's hopes alive.
"It was a very exciting game," Stacy Bergevin said. "The key was that Hoeft came in with two outs in the first to relieve after they'd gotten six runs, and he got the final out of the first and pitched the rest of the game in relief. He only gave up three runs, two of them solo home runs, and then at the end we threw a guy out at home plate. He pitched the complete game in relief and allowed us to come back."
Bergevin has been pleased with his team, which has only had one loss in the tournament, to Mercer Island on Tuesday.
Mercer Island is the only undefeated team and is already locked into Saturday's championship, and Walla Walla could face them again with wins today and Friday.
"We've surprised a lot of people here," Bergevin said. "The Westside teams are all really strong, and I think we may have been a little overlooked. The comments I'm getting is that we hit the ball. Coaches are telling me they haven't seen teams hit like we do."
Tonight's 6 p.m. game against District 3 champion Chehalis is for fourth place, or to continue to a game Friday with Bonney Lake/Sumner, which lost to Mercer Island Wednesday. The loser Friday is third, while the winner gets two chances at Mercer Island Saturday and Sunday.
Ace Oliver is already marked down for the mound tonight, Bergevin said.
"If we have a No. 1 pitcher, it's him," he said. "It's our hitting and pitching that keeps us in games, and the kids never give up. Even when they're down, they battle back. We've won a couple by fighting through and battling back."
Walla Walla 11, West Seattle 9
Walla Walla 402 032 - 11 13 0
West Seattle 601 110 - 9 14 2
Haen, Hoeft (1) and Ortiz; E. Chen, Diggdon (3), K. Chen (6) and Pastrana.
HR - Walla Walla: Oliver; West Seattle 4: Diggdon, Drake, Osaka, E. Chen.
Hits - Walla Walla: Knowles 2, Hoeft, Ortiz 3, Morris, Oliver 3, Weigand, Johanson, Bergevin. West Seattle: O'Neil, E. Chen, Terao 3, Pastrana 3, Diggdon, Drake, Grambihler, Osaka 2, Stencil.