CHENEY - The Walla Walla Pacific 10-11 All-Stars finished third in the Little League State Tournament Friday after losing 13-7 to Bonney Lake/Sumner in a play-in game for the championship.
The Pacific boys went out with bats blazing, scoring six runs in the top of the fifth, but the late game heroics were not enough to overcome a lead that Bonney Lake/Sumner built in the first inning of play.
Pacific started the game well, with the first six batters reaching base, but Pacific only managed to push across one run for the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, Bonney Lake made Pacific pay for the missed opportunity. Bonney Lake scored six runs on five hits, including a three-run homer from Ben Wilson.
Pacific's normally prolific offense was kept at bay for the next three innings by Bonney Lake's pitching.
Pacific coach Stacy Bergevin said pitching was a factor in both the loss to Mercer Island on Tuesday and the loss to Bonney Lake/Sumner.
"The two games we lost were the only games we had under double digits in hits," Bergevin said. "Their pitching was just good enough to slow us down, both Mercer Island and Bonney Lake, but we were still able to hit the ball and score some runs."
Bonney Lake kept scoring, and by the bottom of the fourth it took a run-saving throw to home base to keep Bonney Lake from mercy-ruling the boys from Walla Walla. Instead, Pacific stayed alive to fight one more inning after escaping the fourth down 10-1.
And what an inning the fifth turned out to be.
James Calzadillas led the inning off with a single and was followed by a double from Garrett Elsom to put two aboard in scoring position with no outs. Jack Wiegand grounded to third, but the third baseman threw home too quickly and Calzadillas was able to return to third to leave the bases loaded with no outs.
After recording an out, Pacific's Connor Hoeft notched an RBI single and Levi Haen hit a double, breaking the scoring drought and chasing Bonney Lake's starting pitcher off the mound. On came Matthew Grettler for Bonney Lake.
Ben Ortiz gave Grettler a rude reception, clearing the bases with a three-run homer on the first pitch Grettling threw. The home run cut Bonney Lake/Sumner's lead to three.
Pacific couldn't sustain the rally after the home run and the inning ended after Calzadillas grounded into a fielder's choice in his second trip to the plate.
Bonney Lake answered with three more runs in the bottom of the fifth and Grettling settled down in the top of the sixth, holding Pacific to only one hit and recording two strike outs to end the game.
Despite the relatively low scoring game, Pacific ended its tournament run with an above .400 team batting average.
"We hit well the entire tournament," Bergevin said. "I think we did better than a lot of people expected, we were kind of the underrated team there."
Had Pacific actually come back to win, it would not have surprised Bergevin.
"The kids never gave up - there were times during the tournament where we gave up big innings and came back and won," Bergevin said. "We were down against both Glenwood and West Seattle and came back to win.
"We basically played even with Bonney Lake if you throw out the first inning," Bergevin said.
Bergevin said the big goal for Pacific was to finish in the top six, so finishing third was a big accomplishment.
"They were a little disappointed to not win the championship, but they recognize what they did - finishing in the first three was something that someone from our league has not done before," Begevin said. "Our goal was to finish in the top six, once we won the first two games we were guaranteed top six and so the goal was not to immediately fold. After the Mercer Island loss we really focused on finishing in the top two or three."
Bonney Lake/Sumner 13, Walla Walla 7.
Pacific 100 060 - 7 8 1
BLS 621 13X - 13 16 0
Haen, Weigand 4 and Ortiz; Thain, Tressler 5, Gretler 5 and Gretler Thain 5.
HR - WW: Ortiz; BLS: Wilson and Wrolstad.
Hits - WW: Knowles 2, Hoeft, Haen, Ortiz, Oliver, Calzadillas, Elsom; BLS: Fraser, Gretler, Tressler, Chavis 3, Thain 2, Wrolstad 4, Tinsley, Wilson, Liske, Broce.