Walla Walla Bruins win, Milton-Freewater Blazers fall at Sweet Invitational

The host Bruins down Kirkland, 8-2, while Milton-Freewater is sunk by the Foss Tugs by the same score.

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Milton-Freewater Blazers' Pat Sheets (right) gets the tag out on Tacoma's Gared Sousa on the rundown between first and second bases during the fourth inning of Thursday afternoon's game at Borleske Stadium.

WALLA WALLA - A pair of 8-2 verdicts yielded different results for a pair of local teams Thursday during the opening session of the Walla Walla Bruins' annual Junior American Legion Sweet Invitational summer baseball tournament.

The host team, behind a 13-hit attack and complete-game pitching performance by Moe Handcox, downed the Kirkland Merchants in the 8 p.m. game at Walla Walla Community College's Warrior Field.

Earlier in the day, the Milton-Freewater Blazers suffered a six-run setback to the Foss Tugs at Borleske Stadium.

Contests on today's tournament schedule include a 2:30 p.m. match up pitting Milton-Freewater against Bothell at WWCC.

Both the Blazers and Bruins play at 8 tonight. Walla Walla opposes Whitman County at Warrior Field and the Blazers face the Washington Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Borleske Stadium.

Early games today had Foss taking on Meridian and Boise tackling Coeur d'Alene at Walla Walla Community College, Washington FCA squaring off with Bothell, Kuna battling Kirkland at Borleske Stadium, and Sockeye Baseball Club tangling with Yakima at Murr Sports Park.

Bruins 8, Merchants 2

Walla Walla broke a scoreless tie with five runs in the third inning.

A wild pitch plated the first run and Taylor Lemke followed with an RBI single. Mike Lesmeister added a run-scoring triple, and Luke Reardon and Daniel Lake capped the inning's scoring with one-run base knocks.

The Bruins added single runs in innings four, six and seven. Handcox safeties brought in the fourth- and sixth-inning tallies.

"We were in a funk," said Walla Walla coach Jason Parsons, whose team limped into Thursday after being swept in back-to-back doubleheaders. "We played like champs. I'm really proud of these kids."

Handcox struck out eight and walked two.

"Moe was tough," Parsons said. "He has learned how to throw a cutter this summer and it has really benefited him."

Lesmeister and Sean Hollenbeck had three hits apiece for the Bruins. Handcox and Josh Eggers delivered two each.

Of Hollenbeck, his No. 9 hitter, Parsons said, "He was a sparkplug for us."

Tugs 8, Blazers 2

A four-run first inning for Foss, aided by three errors, helped doom Milton-Freewater.

In all, the Blazers were guilty of eight miscues in the game.

"When you make eight errors, it's extremely tough to win," M-F coach Mike Garcia said. "We didn't come out the way we planned."

Milton-Freewater cut the early deficit in half in the third inning when Willie McCoy, who had two of M-F's six hits, and Dylan Shuler chased home runners with a single and double, respectively.

But Foss put the game out of reach with one run in both the third and fourth innings, and two in the fifth.

Bruins 8, Merchants 2

Bruins 005 101 1 - 8 13 1

Merchants 000 011 0 - 2 7 2

Handcox and Lemke; Johnson, Hesson (5) and Semler.

HR - Merchants: Honican.

Hits - Bruins: Lesmeister 3, Hollenbeck 3, Eggers 2, Handcox 2, Lemke, Lake, Reardon; Merchants: Honican 2, Johnson, Britton, Witherspoon, Firth, Keierleber.

Tugs 8, Blazers 2

Blazers 002 000 0 - 2 6 8

Tugs 401 120 x - 8 8 2

James, Quaempts (6) and McCoy; Guild and Mohamed.

HR - none.

Hits - Blazers: McCoy 2, Cuellar, Shuler, Thacker, James; Tugs: Guild 2, Dempsey, Corbett, Manzanares, Mohamed, Lee, Phillips.

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