WALLA WALLA - The Walla Walla Griz assured themselves of no less than a second-place finish in the final Central Washington Single A American Legion League standings Monday by splitting a league doubleheader with Pendleton at Murr Field.
The Griz, who had swept a twin bill from the Diamondjax Sunday in Pendleton, lost Monday's opener 6-5 in eight innings after rallying for a run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
But the Walla Wallans bounced back to take the second game 5-2, scoring twice in the bottom of the fourth to snap a 1-1 tie and tacking on a pair of insurance runs in the sixth.
The victory in the second game hiked Walla Walla's league record to 12-4 and completed league play. The Griz are 17-8 overall.
Moses Lake went into the week with a 2-2 record and was the only team in position to deny the Griz a league championship. Pendleton is now 4-4 and would need to win out to match Walla Walla's league record.
"But we own the tiebreaker with Pendleton because we won three of the four games against them," Griz coach Ryan Van Dyke pointed out.
Walla Walla entertains the Tri-Cities Badgers at Murr Field Wednesday at 3 p.m. in a non-league doubleheader, then travels to Mount Hood, Ore., for a weekend tournament. The Griz face the host team Friday at 7 p.m. in their first game.
Kyle Barker and Trevor Coronado teamed up to pitch a four-hitter in Monday's second game. Barker pitched the first four innings, struck out three, walked five and allowed one unearned run. Coronado worked the final three frames with one strikeout and no walks and also yielded one unearned run.
Walla Walla was guilty of four errors in the second game and eight on the day.
The Griz scored twice in the second inning to tie the game at 1-1. Kal Gray singled, stole second and moved to third as Logan Cordeiro reached on an infield error. Coronado struck out, but when the pitch was dropped and the Pendleton catcher threw to first to register the out, Gray scampered home.
Gray reached second base on a throwing error in begin the fourth inning. After Cordeiro bunted Gray to third, Barker was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Once again Coronado struck out with the pitch being dropped. Gray scored on the throw to first, Barker took third and and scored on a subsequent throwing error.
With two outs in the sixth innings, Barker and Coronado drew walks and Justin Elsom followed with an RBI single. Another throwing error allowed Coronado to score.
Pendleton made nine errors in the twin bill.
Walla Walla managed just seven hits in the doubleheader, four of them coming in the first game. Colby Watilo had an RBI double in the first inning, Zach Crum drove home a run with a single in the fifth and Coronado delivered a two-out RBI single in the seventh. Tyler Anderson drove home a run with a sacrifice fly.
Blake McKinney and Wyatt Taylor shared the Griz pitching duties in the first game and checked Pendleton on seven hits.
Pendleton 200 000 31 - 6 7 4
Walla Walla 200 020 10 - 5 4 4
Goodwin and Myers; McKinney, Taylor (5) and Watilo.
Hits - Pendleton: Hancock 2, Lunney, Myers, Paige 2, Pointer; WW: Watilo, Gray, Coronado, Crum.
Pendleton 100 010 0 - 2 4 5
Walla Walla 010 202 x - 5 3 4
Hancock and Myers; Barker, Coronado (5) and Watilo.
Hits - Pendleton: Yeager, Myers, Goodwin, Persinger; WW: Watilo, Gray, Elsom.