WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Valley took another step in earning a ticket across town here Monday in District 5 Little League baseball action.
Valley Little League hosts the 11-12 state tournament beginning at the Eastgate facility July 21. Valley, with an 18-0 win over Asotin County Tuesday, is one win away from earning a state ticket home.
In 9-10 elimination action, Valley remained alive with a 15-4 win over Asotin County.
Tonight at 6 p.m., Walla Walla Pacific plays for its state 9-10 ticket to Auburn. Valley needs to beat Pacific twice to earn a state berth.
In 11-12 elimination action, Asotin County plays Pacific at 8 p.m. The winner moves on to face Valley Thursday.
All games are at the Pacific Complex.
11-12 All-Stars: Valley 18, Asotin Co. 0
Asotin County ignited a slow burning fuse as it blanked Valley over the first two frames, and went to the third in a scoreless tie.
The fuse reached ignition and Valley blew up.
Valley ripped five home runs, pounded out 13 hits, batted around in the third and fourth innings and moved into Thursday's District Championship game with an 18-0 win.
"We've got guys that just rip the ball," WWV manager Sam Worth said. "We've got to stay patient and we did that tonight. I'm kind of in awe right now. I was expecting this team to be a good offensive team, but I didn't see this coming."
Dalton James led off the Valley third and blasted the first pitch over the right center fence. Carter Davis ripped Asotin's next pitch to the left center gap for a double, and Asotin could not close the flood gates. Turner Edwards culminated the Valley third with a rocket shot to right center and before the dust settled, Valley had sent 11 hitters to the plate and scored six runs to grab a 6-0 lead.
"We were aggressive in the strike zone and even a little out of the strike zone today," Worth said. "We stayed aggressive late in the game to make sure we finished up."
The Valley hits kept coming as Connor Lemma doubled home the first of 12 fourth-inning Valley runs. Patrick McKibben, Diego Cardenas, and James drew consecutive walks to set the table for Davis. Davis didn't miss as he drilled his third hit of the game over the center field fence for a grand slam. Two outs later, Edwards golfed one over the right center fence. Silas Shumate beat out an infield hit, and Isaiah Lomeli capped the Valley night with a tomahawked a two-run blast.
Asotin County had no answer as it never caught up to Valley starting pitcher Davis. Davis gave up four hits in blanking Asotin County over his 50 pitches. Davis ran out of pitches with two outs in the sixth.
"We asked Carter to go 50 (pitches) tonight, and we had to because of the pitching rules," Worth said. "50 was the magic number. Everyone is available to pitch Thursday."
Valley gets the winner of Tuesday's Asotin County-Pacific game on Thursday with a chance to earn a state berth at its home Valley Complex.
"We're relaxed and confident," Worth said. "We'll go to practice tomorrow (today) and we're going to have to play one of these guys (Pacific or Asotin) again. We're not taking anything for granted. We expect a tough game on Thursday.
"If we're going to host that thing (the state tournament), we've got to be the team to get there," Worth said. "That's our goal."
9-10 All-Stars: Valley 15, Asotin County 4
The double play is a pitcher's best friend. Valley turned two double plays behind the pitching of Bobby Holtzinger and lived to play another day with a 15-4 win over Asotin County.
Valley shortstop Jacob Wallace fielded Asotin's Carson Aliverti's grounder and tagged Clayton Olson as he ran to third and fired to first baseman Logan Jones for a double play that ended Asotin's second.
In the third, Wallace gobbled up Aaron Boyea's grounder, threw to second baseman Jackson Shumate for a force out, and Shumate's relay to Jones was in time to get Boyea and complete a 6-4-3 double play and get Holtzinger out of a two on no out jam in the third.
"Jacob Wallace did a good job on a couple of balls there," Valley manager Rob Holtzinger said. "He got two of them (double plays), two different ways."
A two-run single from Levi Gies capped a three-run first for Valley as Valley took a 3-0 lead.
"Definitely, it (getting off to a good start) was important," manager Holtzinger said. "We were able to put some runs together. We had a couple of chances to put it away earlier (at 12-1 in the fourth and at 13-3 in the fifth), which would've simplified our pitching."
Joseph Terry tripled home Grady Lemma who walked, to cap a three-run Valley third and stretch the lead to 6-1.
Terry's run scoring single and Asotin pitching wildness led to a six-run Valley fourth. Holtzinger's two-run sixth inning triple ended the scoring.
On the Valley mound, Holtzinger went five innings and only walked two as he left with a 13-4 lead.
"Bobby gave us innings and made hitters earn their way on," manager Holtzinger said. "Joe Terry did a good job handling him behind the plate."
Valley goes to its second elimination game tonight against Pacific, which defeated them 21-8 in the first round.
"We'll try to survive one more day," manager Holtzinger said. "We've got some guys ready (to pitch)."
11-12 All-Stars: Valley 18, Asotin County 0
Valley 006 (12) - 18 13 0
Asotin Co. 000 0 - 0 4 6
Davis, Lomeli (4) and Lemma; Savolainen, Berzett (3), Garrett (4) and Heytvelt, Savolainen (4).
HR - WWV: James, Edwards 2, Davis, Lomeli.
Hits - WWV: Davis 3, Worden, Edwards 2, James 2, Lemma 2, Shumate, Lomeli 2; Asotin Co: Savolainen, Heytvelt, Marks, Garrett.
9-10 All-Stars: Valley 15, Asotin County 4
Valley 303 612 - 15 5 6
Asotin Co. 010 210 - 4 6 7
Holtzinger, Rose (6) and Terry; Boyea, K. Auer (1), W. Auer (4), Caldwell (5) and Aliverti, Boyea (5).
HR - none.
Hits - WWV: Holtzinger 2, Gies, Terry 2; Asotin Co: Hurst 2, K. Auer, Hurlbert 2, Caldwell.