WALLA WALLA - Exchange Club and the Police Guild advanced to the Babe Ruth All-City Tournament championship Monday night in Tietan Park, with Exchange taking a 9-4 victory over Walla Walla Transmission and the Police Guild handling Banner Bank, 14-6.
So far this season, Exchange is 3-1 against the Police Guild, with Police taking the first game 6-4 and Exchange coming back for 6-2, 4-1 and 8-6 victories.
"We faced Exchange four times this year and we know what they have," Police Guild manager Kevin Crum said. "They have a great team. It's going to be interesting. They've had our number a little bit more than we've had theirs, so we really want to have a good game with them and see if we can come out on top."
The teams meet for the championship at Borleske Stadium at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Exchange 9, Transmission 4
Travis Haen started the offense for Exchange, dribbling a single past third base for a leadoff single. Haen was followed by Aron Fazzari, who reached on a base on balls to give Exchange two men on with no outs.
Haen proved a pesky base runner as first he stole second and then caused Transmission pitcher Chance Leroure to balk, putting Haen at third base.
An ensuing wild pitch from Leroure allowed Haen to cross home, with Fazzari stealing home in the confusion afterward to give Exchange a 2-0 lead.
Leroure escaped the inning without allowing any more runs, recording two strikeouts and enticing Exchange first baseman Daniel Benavides to ground out to shortstop.
Fazzari started the night pitching for Exchange, but never really settled in. After getting Transmission leadoff hitter Chad Pearson to fly out to first, Fazzari pegged Alex Breland and walked Dalton Estes to put two on base.
Fazzari managed to strike out the next batter he faced, because first baseman Jordan Smith then stepped up to the plate and crushed a home run to center to put Transmission up 3-2 after the first inning.
Neither team scored in the second, but Transmission scored again in the third and chased Fazzari from the mound after only 2 1/3 innings of play thanks to an Estes one-run homer.
Exchange manager Rod Fazzari brought 12-year-old Isaiah Standard, who recently dominated at the Little League level, on in relief.
Although he was not as dominating as in Little League, Standard only allowed three more hits over 4 2/3 innings of play, and struck out five batters.
"Aron (Fazzari) - almost every one of their runs was something we gave them on a base on balls - the walks killed us early," manager Fazzari said. "Isaiah came in and threw a lot of strikes and kept them off base."
Fazzari had planned on saving Standard's arm for Wednesday's championship, but without any run support and a trip to Borleske on the line, he left him on the mound.
"On our side, we wanted to go with Aron Fazzari for 50 (pitches), then Standard and then pitch either Wyatt Taylor or Ethan Haen," Fazzari said. "Isaiah, you could tell he felt it tonight, and I didn't want to give them any more opportunities to score more runs, so I left him on."
In the other dugout, Walla Walla Transmission struggled to find pitching rhythm, rotating four pitchers through the game.
Despite the bullpen carousel, Exchange struggled to put the wood on the ball. Their only run between the first and seventh innings came on a fluky play in the fourth.
Transmission pitcher Devin Acevedo walked three batters in a row to load the bases before he was pulled in favor of Alex Breland.
Breland managed to get John Crowley to line-out to center, but base runner Tony Ortega tagged up and threatened to steal home. When center fielder Luke Alexenko's throw came in too high for the catcher, Ortega almost strolled in for the run.
Breland stopped the bleeding, however, and Transmission took a 4-3 lead into the final frame. It was then that Transmission manager's final pitching change wrought disaster.
Luke Alexenko took the mound, hit one batter, walked six and gave up a single and a ground-rule double before finally managing to escape the inning.
The disastrous inning gave Exchange a 9-4 lead, and with Standard on the mound Transmission could not score in the bottom of the seventh.
Rod Fazzari said that despite the win, he was a little disappointed that his team didn't hit better.
"We'll take a win any day, but this is a game I don't think we deserved to win," Fazzari said. "They outhit us, they didn't have their best pitcher because he had to pitch Saturday. We had, I think, only three hits tonight, against pitching that we should have done better against, but that's the way baseball goes.
"When you're swinging at pitches that you can't drive and you get down in the count, then you're not going to score a lot of runs," he said. "We did a lot of that tonight. We are usually a little bit more disciplined there."
Police Guild 14, Banner Bank 6.
Police took awhile getting started against Banner Bank. However, once they got going they were hard to stop.
After falling behind 5-2 going into the top of the sixth, Police scored 12 runs in the next two innings, seven in the sixth and five in the seventh, robbing Banner Bank of a trip to the championship.
"We didn't get the bats out until the fourth inning, then they came alive," Police Guild manager Kevin Crum said. "These guys have been hitting quite a few balls all year long and I was just kind of wondering when they were finally going to bust out, and they did tonight."
Although Banner Bank could be blamed for a few runs, Police earned most of its runs for the night, scoring 10 hits on Banner Bank's pitching staff. Bryan Preston led the way with three hits, and seven other batters notched hits.
"We had a lot of hits tonight," Crum said. "We kind of had some situations where we could have had three runs early and we didn't capitalize.
"I just knew the way they were starting to hit the ball, we were getting on base a lot," Crum said. "We were leaving a lot of runners on base, so we finally did it."
Exchange 9, Transmission 4
Exchange 200 100 6 - 9 5 2
Transmission 301 001 0 - 4 5 2
Fazzari and Standard; Leroure, Acevedo, Breland and Alexenko.
HR - Transmission: Smith and Estes.
Hits - Exchange: Haen 3, Stairs, Schack; Transmission: Smith 2, Estes, Bartlow, Alexenko.
Police Guild 14, Banner Bank 6
Police Guild 000 207 5 - 14 10
Banner Bank 102 111 0 - 6 1
M. Wheeler and E. Wheeler; Bobadilla and Rivers.
HR - none.
Hits - Police Guild: Aguilar, Preston 3, Broxson, Elsom, Drivdahl, Lugo, Arceo and Terry; Banner Bank: Roth.