KENNEWICK — Walla Walla High School lost a pair of Mid-Columbia Conference baseball games to league-leading Kennewick Friday, 11-1 and 4-1.
“They are leading the conference for a reason,” said Wa-Hi coach Keith Gradwohl of the Lions (14-2, 10-0 MCC). “They are well coached and they are solid — their pitching is solid, their fielding is solid and they are strong at the plate.”
Jarrod Molnaa shut down the Blue Devils (5-12, 3-9) in game one, allowing just one run on three hits for the Blue Devils while striking out 10 in a complete five-innings. And it was a similar story in the nightcap, as Kennewick starter Clayten Ayres gave up one run on three hits as well in 6 2/3 innings.
“In game one, Jarrod Molnaa was in control the whole game...” Gradwohl said. “In game two it was a pitching duel between Walla Walla’s Adam Mathews and (Kennewick’s) Clayton Ayres.
“Mathews pitched really well against a good-hitting ballclub,” Gradwohl said. “Three of his hits were a ball that was lost in the sun, one that just took a bad hop, and an infield hit that had eyes.”
Mathews gave up two earned runs in a complete-game effort and scattered seven hits.
Kennewick built a four-run lead in the nightcap before Wa-Hi got on the board in the fifth.
Julian Zamora hit a one-out double, Keltan Fulmer and David Pontarolo each walked to load the bases before Mathews gave himself an RBI single for the only Wa-Hi run of the game. With the bases still loaded, Daniel Camacho hot a hard one-hopper at the second baseman that could have scored two runs had it not been hit right at the fielder, Gradwohl said, but instead Kennewick turned a double play to end the inning and leave the tying runs stranded.
The Blue Devils host last-place Pasco (3-15, 0-12) Friday at 3 p.m. for their last series of the regular season.
Wa-Hi is one game behind Chiawana for second place in the MCC 4A standings, and the Riverhawks play Richland (12-6) Friday.
“We still have a shot at getting the No. 2 seed (to the district playoffs), which has been our goal for the past couple of weeks,” Gradwohl said.
A two-seed in the district playoffs gets a first-round bye. All of the 4A schools in the MCC play in districts and the top two advance to a regional playoff with the Greater Spokane League.
Wa-Hi 001 00 — 1 3 4
Kennewick 213 32 — 11 10 1
Lake, McKinney (4) and Watilo. Molnaa and Wilbert.
Hits — Wa-Hi: Mathews 2, Arellano. Kennewick: Sordahl, Gonzalez, Hancock 3, Ayres, Wilbert, DeWitt, Storali, Julian.
Wa-Hi 000 010 0 — 1 3 2
Kennewick 120 100 X — 4 7 0
Mathews and Fulmer. Ayres, Driver (7) and Hancock.
Hits — Wa-Hi: Mathews, Camacho, Zamora. Kennewick: Sordahl, Gonzalez, Hancock, DeWitt 2, Plew 2.