Walla Walla Bears nipped in tourney championship

The Bears down Tri-County, 7-3, but lose a pitcher's duel in their tourney's title game, 2-1, to Pride Baseball.

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WALLA WALLA - The Walla Walla Bears came up just short in their quest to capture the championship of their annual summer baseball tournament that wrapped up Sunday.

Walla Walla dropped a 2-1 decision to defending tournament champion Pride Baseball in the title game at Walla Walla Community College's Tausick Way diamond.

The Bears dropped the Tri-County Outlaws, 7-3, earlier Sunday in the semifinals to advance to the title game.

The game's starting pitchers - Drew Christina of Walla Walla and Pride Baseball's Mitch Viydo - allowed just five hits apiece in a swift contest that ended just an hour and five minutes after the first pitch.

"It was a good baseball game on both sides," said Walla Walla coach Brian Kitamura, whose team now possesses an overall record of 29-10-1. "This is one of the most competitive games we've played all year.

"That was a good Pride team," Kitamura said. "They played extremely well this entire tournament."

Pride Baseball ended the tourney with a 6-0 record - which included three wins by shutout - and allowed just four runs total in its six triumphs.

The Bears end their season with doubleheaders against the Columbia Gorge Hustlers next weekend. The teams will play in The Dalles on Saturday and in Walla Walla on Sunday.

Pride Baseball 2, Bears 1

Walla Walla scored its only run in the third inning on a two-out RBI single to right field by Conner Holbrook.

Pride Baseball tallied both of its runs in the bottom half of frame three.

Viydo retired 11 batters in a row after Holbrook's hit.

The Bears' Brett Christina broke the string with a two-out, seventh-inning double off the base of the right-field fence. He moved to third on a passed ball.

But Viydo retired a hustling Mike Pontarolo on a grounder to shortstop to end the game. Jon Mercer's throw to first beat Pontarolo by a half-stride.

Drew Christina gave up just three hits after the third inning. He ended up with six strikeouts.

"Drew was outstanding on the mound," Kitamura said. "The guys battled the whole tournament. We're pleased with the strides we've made."

Bears 7, Outlaws 3

Walla Walla put five runs on the board in the first inning. Connor Lawhead scored the first run with a bouncing single down the right-field line. Runs two through five materialized on a wild pitch, an error, a bases-loaded double play (4-6-3), and another wild pitch, respectively.

"It was nice to get off to that hot start," Kitamura said. "We had good approaches at the dish."

An error produced a third-inning run that gave the Bears a 6-0 lead.

Moe Handcox, who stroked three hits in the game, scored Walla Walla's last run with a fifth-inning single.

Bears' starter Jake Campeau hurled a three-hit complete game.

"We were able to respond well and made plays when we needed to," Kitamura said.

Pride 2, Bears 1

Bears 001 000 0 - 1 5 1

Pride 002 000 X - 2 5 0

D. Christina and Holbrook; Viydo and Duffy.

HR - none.

Hits - Bears: Toon, Eggers, Lawhead, Holbrook, B. Christina; Pride: Morgan, Marriott, Duffy, Hatch, Sitkowski

Bears 7, Outlaws 3

Outlaws 000 201 0 - 3 3 3

Bears 501 010 X - 7 10 3

Thornhill, Rude (4), Bailey (5) and Monkus, Woodward (5); Campeau and Holbrook.

HR - none.

Hits - Outlaws: Holden, Price, Bowe; Bears: Handcox 3, B. Christina 2, Bakker 2, Lawhead, Holbrook, Eggers.

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