Errors hurt Walla Walla Bruins in tourney title game

Walla Walla outhits Kirkland, but five errors lead the Merchants past the Bruins for the championship Sunday.

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WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla's Bruins were unable to capture the championship of their annual Junior American Legion baseball tournament that wrapped up Sunday.

The Bruins had an 11-9 advantage in hits, but committed five errors in a 6-4 loss to the Kirkland Merchants in the championship game at Walla Walla Community College's Tausick Way field.

Walla Walla earned a berth in the title game earlier on Sunday at WWCC with a 19-6 triumph over Sockeye Baseball Club in the tournament's semifinal round.

Also on Sunday, the Milton-Freewater Blazers fell to Lower Columbia, 12-2, at Murr Sports Park in the game that decided the tournament's ninth- and 10th-place finishers.

Merchants 6, Bruins 4

Both teams scored twice in the first inning.

The Bruins got a sacrifice fly from Taylor Lemke and a two-out, RBI single off the bat of Spencer Cordeiro.

Kirkland took the lead for good in the third inning when it tallied two more runs.

The Bruins got a run back in the fourth on a fielder's choice, but the Merchants rolled another deuce in the fifth inning to take a 6-3 lead.

Walla Walla rallied in the seventh. Daniel Lake singled in a run with two out, but the Bruins surge ended with two runners stranded on base.

"We had our chances," Walla Walla coach Jason Parsons said. "We didn't play as clean as we needed to in a championship game."

Bruins 19, Sockeye 6

Walla Walla broke a scoreless stalemate with four runs in the third inning. Moe Handcox brought in the first run with a single.

After yielding two runs in the bottom of the third, the Bruins scored six times in the fourth. Lemke produced a three-run double that made it 9-2 and Lake drove in the last run of the frame with a single.

Josh Eggers drove in Walla Walla's 11th run with a fifth-inning single.

The Bruins picked up eight runs in inning six.

Jose Martinez, Eggers, Lemke and Reardon smacked key hits during the sixth - a two-run double, an RBI single, a two-run knock, and a two-run home run, respectively.

Lower Columbia 12, Blazers 2

Milton-Freewater led 2-0 after three innings behind the pitching of Kevin Cuellar before Lower Columbia's bats came to life.

"Kevin did a great job for three innings," M-F coach Mike Garcia said. "In the fourth inning, they got their timing down and scored seven runs."

At one point in the fourth, Lower Columbia registered six consecutive hits.

Cuellar, Jacob Partney and Alex Ortiz had two hits apiece for Milton-Freewater.

"This was a good experience," Garcia said. "It was good for our young guys to play teams that we normally don't see."

Merchants 6, Bruins 4

Merchants 202 020 0 - 6 9 0

Bruins 200 100 1 - 4 11 5

Hesson, Brennan (7) and Semler; Cordeiro, Handcox (3) and Lemke.

HR - none.

Hits - Merchants: Johnson 2, Witherspoon 2, Gray 2, Honican, Amundsen, Wong; Bruins: Handcox 3, Reardon 2, Lake 2, Eggers, Cordeiro, Lesmeister, Needham.

Bruins 19, Sockeye 6

Bruins 004 618 - 19 14 2

Sockeye 002 022 - 6 9 6

Lake, Henderson (6) and Lemke; Okada, Hatton (4), I. Cooper (6) and Neisinger, Afflerbach (4).

HR - Bruins: Reardon.

Hits - Bruins: Handcox 3, Eggers 3, Lake 2, Lemke, Hollenbeck, Henderson, Martinez, Reardon, Lesmeister; Sockeye: J. Leverett 3, Is. Cooper 2, Hatton 2, Spak, Cogar.

Lower Columbia 12, Blazers 2

Lower Columbia 000 723 - 12 14 1

Blazers 020 000 - 2 7 0

Wynn and Myklebust; Cuellar, Leinbach (4), Partney (6) and S. Ortiz, McCoy (4).

HR - none.

Hits - Lower Columbia: Sims 3, McCormick 2, Smith 2, Wemmer 2, Radcliffe 2, Johnson 2, Myklebust; Blazers: Partney 2, Cuellar 2, A. Ortiz 2, Garcia.

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