WALLA WALLA - The Walla Walla Griz opened the 2012 edition of their eponymously-named tournament with a resounding bang Saturday, picking up nine hits, seven walks and 13 runs in a five-inning thumping of the Milton-Freewater Blazers in American Legion baseball play at Walla Walla Community College's Warrior Field.
Walla Walla lost to Spokane, 3-0, in its second game of the day.
The game was called in the top of the third inning due to rain and was originally not counted, but in order to determine seeding for today's bracket play it was counted as a loss for the Griz.
The Griz play again today at 9 a.m. at WWCC against the Titan Diamond Club in the semifinals of bracket play.
With a win, Walla Walla advance to the championship game at 2 p.m. A loss, and the Griz play for third or fourth at WWCC at 11:30 a.m.
Against the Griz, Walla Walla's bats were popping, with three Grizzlies hitting doubles and three Grizzlies with two hits apiece.
Kylar Anderson, Kal Gray and Blake McKinney had the extra-base hits, while Anderson, Wyatt Taylor and Ryan Kimball had the multi-hit games.
Along with an offensive explosion, the Griz benefitted from strong pitching and fielding.
Walla Walla pitcher Gavin McEvoy went the shortened distance, with a lone single in the Milton-Freewater fourth ending his no-hitter. McEvoy didn't issue any bases on balls, and the Griz defense committed just one error in the game.
"It was the best that Gavin has pitched all summer," Ryan VanDyke said, "He did really well.
"Our defense also did really well," VanDyke said. "We hit the ball and it was a quick game. Milton-Freewater is a good team, we just happened to come out on top."
Walla Walla 13, Milton-Freewater 0
Walla Walla 304 51 - 13 9 1
Milton-Freewater 000 00 - 0 1 2
McEvoy and Watilo. Shuler, Burke (4) and Ortiz.
HR - none.
Hits - WW: Watilo, Kimball 2, Anderson 2, Gray, McKinney, Taylor 2. MF: Ortiz.