WALLA WALLA - Ryan James and Drew Christina came up with clutch run-scoring hits in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday night at Walla Walla Community College's Warriors Field, lifting the Walla Walla Bears to a 5-4 victory over the Hermiston Spuds.
After leaving the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings, the American Legion Bears came through in the nick of time with their ninth-inning, game-winning rally.
Matt Watson got things started in the bottom of the ninth with an infield single. Tyler Stevenson bunted Watson to second base and was safe at first on a Hermiston throwing error.
That set the stage for James, who singled to drive in the inning's first run and tie the game at 4-4. A passed ball moved Stevenson to third base and Christina followed with his game-winning single.
Kevin Toon's run-scoring triple keyed a two-run first inning for Walla Walla, and the Bears added another run in the second for a 3-0 advantage. But the Spuds tied the game with a three-run fifth-inning outburst and then took the lead with another run in the sixth.
Toon and James had two hits apiece to pace the Bears' 10 hit offense. The Spuds hammered out 11 hits against five Walla Walla pitchers.
The Bears, who were scheduled to play the Heat in a pair of games in Hermiston on Saturday before traveling to Hanford Sunday, will spend Thursday through Sunday in Kennewick for the Bandit Bash tournament. The games at Hermiston and Hanford were not reported.
Hermiston 000 031 000 - 4 11 2
Walla Walla 210 000 002 - 5 10 0
Almaguer, Rude (2), Blevens (4), Bailey (6), Schwirse (8) and Monkus, Hamblin (7); Mata, Wujek (3), Capeau (5), D. Christina (7), Watson (9) and Holbrook.
Hits - Hermiston: Blevens 3, Almaguer 2, Holden 2, Bevington, Bailey, Hamblin, Orcut; WW: Schuck, Holbrook, Toon 2, Watson, Jimenez, James 2, B. Christina, D. Christina.