YAKIMA - The Walla Walla Bears won their opening game in the Beetles Firecracker Tournament Thursday, defeating the Columbia Basin Desert Dogs, 4-3, with Josh Eggers' sacrfice fly in the top of the seventh inning plating the winning run.
"We left 14 runners on base over the course of the game, with many being on base and in scoring position with less than two outs," Bears coach Brian Kitamura said in an email. "A better approach at the plate in RBI situations and better in-game adjustments are what we need to continue improving and put ourselves in positions to be successful."
The Dogs cast the first stone with a lone run in bottom of the first but remained scoreless until a pair of runs crossed home in the sixth.
The Bears, on the other hand, abandoned seven base runners in three innings before crossing the plate in the fourth.
Connor Holbrook, who had three hits on the day, provided an RBI single to left-center to score Eggers for the inning's lone run.
The Bears pushed two more runs across in the next inning, with Kevin Toon getting hit by a pitch to start the inning and rally. Jake Campeau scored Toon with a sac fly, and Spencer Cordeiro notched an RBI single to give the Bears an insurance run.
The Desert Dogs came back with a two-RBI double in the sixth to knot the contest at 3-all, but Cordeiro took a base on balls and advanced to scoring position after a sac bunt and came in for the winning run after Eggers' sac fly.
Campeau, who came in to relieve for Bears starting pitcher Taylor Lemke with two outs gone in the sixth, pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win.
"Lemke gave us exactly what we needed on the mound today - great performance from him," Kitamura said. "He was efficient, pounded the zone, and induced ground ball outs. This was the best we've seen him this summer and he continues to work hard and get better every time out."
The Bears continued pool play against the 2011 tournament champions, the Skagit Sox, at Parker Field in Yakima today at 9 a.m. and face the Spokane Heat today at 4:30 p.m. at La Salle High School.
Walla Walla Bears 4, Columbia Basin Desert Dogs 3
Walla Walla 000 120 1 - 4 9 2
Columbia Basin 100 002 0 - 3 5 3
Lemke, Campeau (6) and Holbrook; Derr, Mathews (6) and Pfaff.
HR - none.
Hits - Walla Walla: Lawhead, Holbrook 3, Bakker, Campeau, Cordeiro, Pontarolo 2, Eggers. Columbia Basin: Fox, Hillary, Bassett, Gifford, Sutherland.