WALLA WALLA - Luke Reardon tamed the Kennewick Junior Dusters on just three hits Sunday afternoon as the Walla Walla Bruins launched the 2012 Junior American Legion baseball season with a 9-3 victory.
The Bruins held a 7-5 lead after six innings in the second game of the Central Washington Junior American Legion League doubleheader at Walla Walla Community College, but the Dusters bunched eight hits in the final frame and scored six times to pull out an 11-7 victory and salvage a split.
"My goodness," Bruins coach Jason Parsons said. "We had an opportunity to walk out of there with a league sweep to start the season. Our pitchers sort of lost command in the last couple of innings."
Still, Parsons was pleased with what he saw from his team to begin the year.
"Luke Reardon pitched like a champion," Parsons said. "I also thought we had a pretty good approach at the plate, and for the most part our defense was pretty good. Overall, we had very few lapses."
Reardon pitched six shutout innings before yielding three runs in the seventh. He finished with five strikeouts and issued three walks.
Zane Henderson stroked three run-scoring singles in the first game for Walla Walla and David Pontarolo and Reardon contributed two hits each. In the second game, Daniel Lake and Junior Ruiz had two hits apiece.
The Bruins' first-game victory was highlighted by a seven-run fifth inning in which Lake, Pontarolo, Henderson and Jarrod Needham delivered consecutive run-scoring singles.
Trailing 5-2 in the second game, Walla Walla rallied for five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 7-5 lead. Lake started the rally with a double, Ruiz singled home the first run, Reardon doubled to score Ruiz and Henderson was hit by a pitch. Anthony Arellano's single plated two runs and gave the Bruins the lead, and Pontarolo doubled for an insurance run that didn't prove to be insurance enough.
Walla Walla returns to action Wednesday when it faces the Milton-Freewater Blazers in a single non-league at 5:30 p.m. at McRae/Ireland Field in M-F.
Kennewick 000 000 3 - 3 3 2
Walla Walla 100 071 x - 9 9 1
Spivey, Miller (5) and A. Morton; Reardon and Fulmer.
Hits - Kennewick: C. Morton, Schaffer 2; WW: Lake 2, Pontarolo 2, Henderson 3, Needham, Arellano.
Kennewick 002 003 6 - 11 12 1
Walla Walla 002 005 0 - 7 9 3
C. Morton, Wakefield (4), Sample (7) and A. Morton; Zehner, Needham (5), Lake (7) and Daniel.
Hits - Kennewick: Mahan 2, Ebberts 2, C. Morton 2, Oldham 2, Spivey, Miller 2, Newbry; WW: Lake 2, Ruiz 2, Reardon, Sumerlin, Arellano, Needham, Pontarolo.