WALLA WALLA - The Pacific 9-10s earned a state berth Thursday in District Five Little League baseball action at the Pacific Little League Complex.
Pacific avenged a 7-3 Tuesday loss to Valley with a 19-3 win to claim the district title and a trip to Auburn for the state 9-10 tournament.
In 11-12 action, Pacific forced a championship game by defeating Valley 15-5. The same two teams square off tonight at 6 p.m. with a district title and a ticket to the Valley-hosted 11-12 state tournament on the line.
11-12s: Pacific 15, Valley 5
Free passes will come back to haunt you. Valley issued 11, giving up 10 walks and one hit batsman. Pacific capitalized using eight clutch hits to score nine of those free passes on the way to keeping its hope for a district title alive with a 15-5 win over Valley.
"We started hitting the ball tonight," Pacific manager John Knowles said. "We had some timely hitting. We scored some extra runs with base hits with guys in scoring position."
Pacific's first three hitters each drew a walk. Mason Knowles scored on a wild pitch, but Valley starting pitcher, Parker Likes, struck out the next two Pacific hitters. Devon Oliver delivered with a two-run, two-out double for a 3-0 Pacific lead.
Valley's bats answered as Likes doubled with one out in the Valley first. Connor Lemma drove one out to left center, and Valley trailed 3-2.
Levi Haen reached on a Valley error to open the Pacific third. With two outs, Matt Baumgart singled home Haen for a 4-2 lead.
Valley cut the lead to 4-3 in the home fourth. Patrick McKibben blooped a two-out single down the right field line to knock in Turner Edwards, who drew a walk to open the inning.
The wheels fell off for Valley in the fifth as Pacific sent 15 batters to the plate, collected five walks and a hit batsman, and rapped out five hits to score 11 times. Scott Golden put the game away as he came to the plate after Oliver, Baumgart, and Josh Calzadillas each had drawn consecutive base on balls. Golden lifted an opposite-field home run over the left-field fence for a grand slam and a 12-3 Pacific lead. Ortiz added a run-scoring single, and Oliver knocked in his third and fourth runs of the game with a single as Pacific grabbed a 15-3 lead.
"He (Golden) comes up with a big hit, seemingly out of the blue sometimes," manager Knowles said. "It's always a big deal. It was awesome. It got us jump started."
An Edwards double and a Lomeli single got two runs back for Valley in the last of the fifth, but Oliver, Pacific's starting pitcher, got a strike out to finish his complete game win. Oliver scattered seven hits, walked one, and hit one in shutting down Valley.
"He (Oliver) had them off balance all night," manager Knowles said. "He had good control and he's tough to hit. He did an excellent job.
"Because Devon threw such a great game, we have everybody else available (to pitch tonight)," manager Knowles said. "The kids are up now and know they can do it. Valley is a good team and we know they can beat us. We have to come out and play great baseball."
9-10 Championship: Pacific 19, Valley 3
Following a lead-off walk to Valley's River Sanders, an infield single by Jackson Shumate, and a Pacific errant throw that allowed Sanders to score, Valley took a 1-0 lead to the top of the third of Thursday's championship game.
But Pacific scored nine times in the third and added 10 in the fourth to take home the district title with a 19-3 win.
"You never learn anything by winning all the time," Pacific manager Steve Barker said. "These guys came out more disciplined at the plate and it paid off for us."
With one out in the Pacific third, Garrett Martin and Carson McClure both laid down bunts and reached safely. The flood gates opened.
"They started it off with those two bunts," Barker said. "As soon as the eight, nine guys (in the batting order) get on, then the lead off guys come up, and that's when it started rolling."
Kristopher Serrano had two hits and knocked in two in the Pacific third. Dylan Ashbeck added a two-run single and Pacific took a 9-1 lead.
Bobby Holtzinger's double highlighted the Valley third as Valley got two back to cut the lead to 9-3, but Pacific put it away in the fourth.
An Ashbeck two-run double and a Hunter Polley RBI single were the key hits in a 10-run Pacific fourth.
"Once our kids got themselves up in this game," Barker said. "There was no getting them down."
The loss ends Valley's tournament with a 2-2 record.
"The kids put together a pretty good ball club for themselves," Valley manager Rob Holtzinger said. "I'm sorry it had to end like this for them because this wasn't really an example of what they played like for the two weeks (of all-star work). We just had too big a hole to overcome tonight.
"They learned a little baseball, and developed some friendships," manager Holtzinger said of the all star experience. "You look at their disappointment and you know it meant a lot to them. That's valuable. It was fun."
For Pacific, the 19-3 win sends them to Auburn, Wash. to open the 9-10 state tournament on July 14.
"They are a good group," Barker said of his all stars. "I think they will do well at state."
11-12s: Pacific 15, Valley 5
Pacific 301 0(11) - 15 8 0
Valley 200 12 - 5 7 3
Oliver and Ortiz; Likes, Edwards (4), Shumate (5), Davis (5), Lomeli (5) and Lemma.
HR - WWP: Golden; WWV: Lemma.
Hits - WWP: Oliver 2, Hoeft, Baumgart, Knowles, Ortiz, Morris, Golden; WWV: Likes 2, Lemma, Davis, McKibben, Edwards, Lomeli.
9-10s: Pacific 19, Valley 3
Pacific 009 (10) - 19 9 2
Valley 102 0 - 3 4 3
Serrano, Ashbeck (3) and McKenzie; Wallace, Rose (3), Cornia (4), McAlvey (4), Shumate (4) and Holtzinger.
HR - none.
Hits - WWP: Senne, Serrano 2, Ashbeck 2, VanSlyke, McClure, Wolcott, Saltmarsh; WWV: Shumate 2, Holtzinger 2.