WALLA WALLA - Exchange Club powered to a 15-3 win over Police Guild Wednesday night under the bright lights of Borleske Stadium for the 2011 Babe Ruth All-City Championship crown.
Aron Fazzari started and went five innings, while Exchange's offense backed him up, with four different players hitting multiple knocks on the night. The win marks Exchange's second championship in a row, and is the second recent championship for manager Rod Fazzari. He won the All-City Little League title two weeks ago.
"For me, just to be involved, I love it," Rod Fazzari said. "But to win the All-City Championship, it's just a joy. It's exciting to be able to win it on this field. It's a real blessing to be involved."
Despite the lopsided score, Police Guild had it tied by the bottom of the third inning.
Exchange rallied back for four- and eight-run fourth and fifth innings and the mercy rule win.
Despite the loss, Police Guild manager Kevin Crum said he is proud of his team, which entered the postseason tournament as the number three seed.
"Our goal was to play on this field at the end of the year, and we did that," Crum said. "We just fell flat. I'm going to give it to Aron Fazzari, he kept us off balance all year long and he did again tonight.
"Our guys stayed strong and they were upbeat the whole way, so I'm proud of them for that," he said.
Exchange, playing as the away team, fired the first volley. After striking out leadoff batter Travis Haen, Police Guild starter Peter Sirmon gave Aron Fazzari a free pass to first and got Isaiah Standard to line out to center field. Next up to bat was cleanup hitter Daniel Benavides, who launched a massive double to score Fazzari.
Two batters later, Taylor Schack lined a single to right to score two, giving Exchange a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the first.
The Police responded to the incoming fire, with Sirmon hitting a lead-off single to left and Manny Aguilar knocking another single over short stop Travis Haen's head.
Fazzari regained his composure and struck out Bryan Preston to record the first out of the inning, but the very next play Dalton Broxson singled to right, scoring both baserunners.
Police Guild was poised to put more runs across home plate, with Broxson on second after stealing a base and only one out, but it was not to be as the next batter flew out to left field and Broxson was caught stealing at third, ending the inning at 3-2 Exchange.
Neither team was able to score in the second, as Sirmon was replaced by Dalton Broxson.
The indomitable Fazzari escaped the inning despite giving up a double and a walk.
"In the first couple innings, every ball they hit was finding the outfield grass," Rod Fazzari said of the doubles and fly balls. "We had this wind blowing tonight that got the ball up into the air in the left for both teams, and the ball was flying."
Broxson blanked Exchange again in the top of the third, as all the Exchange boys made contact, but each ball found its way into a mitt. He burned through the inning, throwing just seven pitches to blank Exchange in the third.
Police Guild managed to knot it at 3-all up in the bottom of the stanza, when Justin Elsom tied the game with an RBI single.
With one out and two men on base, Peter Drivdahl rolled a bunt down the third baseline. Fazzari charged the bunt and picked off Broxson at third when he attempted home. Fazzari then struck out Nigel Lugo, notching his third strikeout on the night and ending the inning.
"That was a huge out, it was a heads-up play," manager Fazzari said. "(Aron) could have come in set and not made a play because he didn't really have a one, but to get that kid off of third base was a big out and a real big momentum changer."
After that, Exchange Club began to put the Police Guild away, notching four runs in the top of the fourth. Police Guild never recovered.
Broxson began to tire in the fourth, giving up a walk, a double, an RBI single and another run to Fazzari, who reached first base on a miss-handled ball and was pushed around by another hit from Benavides.
"I'd say it was defensive errors, we had quite a few dropped balls at inopportune times so that really busted it open for them," Crum said of the inning.
Police Guild went three up, three down in the bottom of the fourth, while Exchange carried its earlier momentum.
Justin Elsom relieved Broxson, but Elsom had difficulties finding the strike zone. Walks, combined with fielding errors, led to an inning to forget, as Exchange scored eight runs after batting through the order to tally the final score at 15-3.
"Pitching was strong at times, and you could probably blame it on coaches for not making a couple of moves at a couple of different times," Crum said. "We might have let a few kids go a little too long, but we knew we had to get pitches out of Dalton (Broxson)."
The Police were unable to answer Exchange's 12-run advantage, and the game ended after the fifth inning on to the 10-run mercy rule.
The Police Guild was missing several players to prior engagements and injury, but Crum was adamant that the loss was not a result those absences.
"We had four kids (out), but that's not the reason (we lost)," Crum said. "We won the other night handily with the team we brought tonight - so no excuses."
Exchange 15, Police Guild 3.
Exchange 300 48 - 15 10 1
Police Guild 201 00 - 3 7 3
Fazzari and Standard; Simron, Broxson (2) and Elsom, Sirmon (5).
Hits - Exchange: Haen 2, Fazzari, Benavides 2, Porter, Schack 3, Taylor 2. Police Guild: Sirmon, Aguilar 2, Broxson 2, Elsom, Lugo.