BOISE - The Walla Walla Bears pulled out the victory they needed Saturday afternoon to advance to play for fifth place at the Donnelley Sports Boise Summer Classic here on Sunday.
And Sunday the Bears handed the Reno A's a 10-2 defeat to claim fifth.
"Defensive miscues and unearned runs hurt us early in the tournament," Bears coach Brian Kitamura said. "We had the same record as the teams playing for third (place), but lost by two runs on the tie-breaker. We were definitely hoping for a better placing, but hopefully this can be a good learning experience that every little thing in a tournament counts."
The Bears opened up a 6-0 lead after three innings, and the A's two-run fifth inning was all the offense they could muster.
"We took advantage of what we were given," Kitamura said. "We were given 10 base-on-balls, and we definitely took advantage of those. And with 10 hits, we were able to put 10 runs on the board.
"We're hitting the ball hard as a team," he said. "Our pitchers did a great job on the mound (throughout the tournament). They're learning how to mix in secondary pitches for strikes in fastball counts, and they're doing a good job working with our catchers."
To open the tournament, the Bears beat the Boise Capitals, 6-1, on Thursday, and fell to the Boise Seminoles, 3-1, on Friday afternoon before handling the Capital Senators, 15-2, Friday night.
Walla Walla then fell to the Mountain View Toros, 15-1, Saturday morning before bouncing back to edge the Nampa Chiefs, 3-2, Saturday afternoon to put them into a game for fifth place Sunday morning against Reno.
Saturday's victory over the Chiefs was Nampa's first loss of the tournament. Taylor Lemke won a classic pitcher's duel, giving up six hits to a potent Nampa offense.
"He had very good command, throwing both his fastball and slider for a strike in any count," Bears coach Brian Kitamura said.
The Bears jumped on the board in the top of the first as Moe Handcox led off with a double, and scored on a two-out RBI single to left center field by Kevin Toon.
Nampa answered in the fourth with two runs on back-to-back RBI singles.
But Walla Walla, needing a victory to keep playing Sunday, got a seventh-inning walk by Toon followed by Brett Christina's single to advance Toon. With runners on the corners, Pete Bakker lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to tie the game at 2-all, and then Mike Pontarolo singled up the middle to give the Bears the lead.
Spencer Cordeiro stepped in to notch the save and set up Sunday's game.
Earlier Saturday, the Bears got two hits apiece from Connor Lawhead and Toon, but Toros starter Kyle Garvin stranded at least one Walla Walla runner each inning.
Toon's first-inning sac fly scored Handcox for the Bears' only run.
On Friday against the Boise Seminoles, "a lack of focus both in the field and at the plate did the Bears in," Kitamura said.
The Seminoles took a 3-0 lead into the seventh inning. A late Bears rally ended with a deep fly-out to left with the tying run at the plate.
Against the Capital Senators later Friday, enjoyed 14 walks and two hit batters combined with 15 hits en route to the 15-2 win.
Conner Holbrook led the Bears offense with three hits, with Handcox, Lawhead, Toon, Brett Christina and Lemke each collecting two.
Jake Campeau struck out 11 Senators in the complete-game win.
In the tournament opener on Thursday, Walla Walla's 6-1 win, the Bears jumped on Boise quickly, with Handcox leading off the game with a single to left field. Josh Eggers singled and Holbrook laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over before Toon drove in Handcox with a sacrifice fly to right.
Walla Walla scored two runs in the first, third and fourth innings.
Drew Christina got the complete-game victory and contributed two hits on his behalf.
"Drew did an outstanding job keeping Boise off balance and locating his fastball," Kitamura said. "He changed eye levels very effectively and helped to get us off to a good start in the tournament."
Getting two hits as well were Handcox and Holbrook.
"We were very solid defensively today, which was great to see," Kitamura said. "With the heat, we need to stay hydrated, sharp and play clean, crisp defense behind our pitchers."
The Bears host their own 10-team Walla Walla Sweet Invitational beginning Thursday, primarily played at Walla Walla Community College and Borleske Stadium.
"We're taking small steps," Kitamura said of the Bears. "The scariest thing is we're 24-9-1 on the season and we haven't hit our full stride yet. We've got two weeks left (in the season), hopefully we'll put it all together when we start our tournament here Thursday.
"Our guys are working hard and we're looking forward for opportunity to compete at home," he said. "It should be a highly competitive tournament, we've got good teams from the west side and very good teams from the east side."
Walla Walla 6, Boise Capitals 1
Walla Walla Bears 220 200 0 - 6 9 0
Boise Capitals 000 000 1 - 1 5 1
D. Christina and Holbrook; Poulson, Brown (6) and Coninger
HR - None.
Hits - Walla Walla: Handcox 2, Eggers, Holbrook 2, Toon, B. Christina 2, Campeau; Boise: Foley, Feeney 2, Powers, Coninger.
Boise 3, Walla Walla 1
Boise Seminoles 011 010 0 - 3 4 2
Walla Walla Bears 000 000 1 - 1 5 2
Haggett and Durham; Lawhead and Holbrook.
HR - none.
Hits - Boise: Brother, Bush, Durham, Cochran; Walla Walla: Handcox, Campeau 2, Lemke, Cordeiro.
Walla Walla 15, Boise Capitals 2
Walla Walla Bears 220 402 5 - 15 15 4
Capital Senators 200 000 0 - 2 6 3
Campeau and Lemke; Dennis, Bilger (6), Layman (7) and Keefe.
HR - none.
Hits - Walla Walla: Handcox 2, Lawhead 2, Holbrook 3, Toon 2, B. Christina 2, Lemke 2, Pontarolo, Eggers; Boise: Boston 2, Wooley, Keefe, Skinner, Wood.
Mountain View Toros 15, Walla Walla 1
Walla Walla Bears 100 00 - 1 9 4
Mountain View 160 26 - 15 15 0
Holbrook, Omoto (3), Cordeiro (4) and Lemke. Ky. Garvin and Pogue.
HR - none.
Hits - Walla Walla: Handcox, Lawhead 2, B. Christina, Toon 2, Campeau, Lemke, Pontarolo. Mountain View: Trube, Hafer, Ky. Garvin 3, Ko. Garvin, Sale 3, Burnham, Clark, Pogue 3, Reilly.
Walla Walla 3, Nampa Chiefs 2
Walla Walla Bears 100 000 2 - 3 5 1
Nampa Chiefs 000 200 0 - 2 6 2
Lemke, Cordeiro (7) and Holbrook. Lupton and Lamb.
HR - none.
Hits - Walla Walla: Handcox, Toon, B. Christina, Pontarolo, Eggers. Nampa: Treinen, Lightfoot, Pancheri, Lamp, Hensley, Liliegren.
Walla Walla Bears 10, Reno A's 2
Reno A's 000 020 0 - 2 5 1
Walla Walla Bears 114 013 x - 10 10 2
Howard, Troscoiar (3), Genert (4), Galvin (5), Pilling (6) and Damonte. D. Christina, Omotto (5), Lawhead (5) and Holbrook.
HR - none.
Hits - Reno: German 2, Howard, Prunau, Andrews. Walla Walla: Handcox, Pontarolo 2, Toon 2, B. Christina, Lemke, Cordeiro, Eggers 2.