MOSES LAKE - Getting runners on base wasn't Walla Walla's problem here Wednesday night.
Getting them home was, at least until the seventh inning of the second game when the Griz erupted for six runs and salvaged a split in their Central Washington Junior American Legion League baseball doubleheader against the Moses Lake Thunder.
The Griz dropped the first game 6-1 and were trailing 5-0 in the nightcap before the big uprising that led to a 6-5 Walla Walla victory.
"I told the kids afterwards, we are extremely lucky to get out of here with a split," Walla Walla coach Ryan Van Dyke said.
Despite collecting just five hits combined in the two games, the Griz had runners on base in nearly every inning, Van Dyke said. Numerous times in scoring position.
But the Walla Wallans struck out eight times in the first game and 13 times in the second as they squandered one scoring opportunity after another.
"Partly is was good pitching," Van Dyke said.
"Their pitcher in the first game threw hard, and he had a good, tight breaking ball that was hard to pick. Their second-game pitcher was a tall lefty with a big, looping curve. We haven't faced many left-handers, and it was hard to pick up that pitch as a strike. He was freezing us."
Colby Watilo had both of Walla Walla's hits in the first game, and he scored the team's only run in the fourth inning when he stole second base and came around on a two-base throwing error.
The seventh inning of the second game was the product of two hits, four walks and a hit batter, three passed balls and a critical Moses Lake error that allowed the winning run to score. Solomon Arellano's three-run double was the crucial hit in the inning.
"It was just inches from being a home run," Van Dyke said of Arellano's blast to left field. "It hit the very top of the fence."
Trevor Coronado pitched the final two innings in each game and was the winning pitcher after pitching two perfect innings in the second game. He allowed just two hits and no runs over his four innings of work while registering five strikeouts and no walks.
The Thunder pounded out 11 hits in the first game, nine of them off Blake McKinney over the first five frames. But they were limited to just five in the second game by Kyle Barker, all of them coming in a five-run fifth inning.
The split gives the Griz a 14-7 record overall. They are 9-3 in league play going into a 3 p.m. doubleheader Sunday against the Pepsi Diamondjax at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton.
Walla Walla 000 100 0 - 1 2 4
Moses Lake 040 200 x - 6 11 2
McKinney, Coronado (5) and Watilo; Boyd and Crum.
Hits - WW: Watilo 2; ML: S. Vela, Longmire, J. Vela, Boyd 2, Cosper 2, Haddacan 2, Karstetter 2.
Walla Walla 000 000 6 - 6 3 0
Moses Lake 000 050 0 - 5 5 3
Barker, Coronado (6) and Watilo; Karstetter and Crum.
Hits - WW: Arellano, Taylor, Elsom; ML: Longmire, J. Vela, Crum, Boyd, Karstetter.