YAKIMA — Walla Walla continued its mid-season surge here Sunday as the Warriors defeated Skagit Valley 8-5 and Edmonds 12-2 on the final day of an NWAACC crossover softball tournament at Yakima Valley College.
Sunday’s victories gave the Warriors a 4-1 record for the weekend and bumped their season mark to 15-20, that after a 2-12 start to the season.
The Walla Wallans are 11-9 in NWAACC Eastern Region play and will try to improve on that this coming weekend when Wenatchee and Yakima come to town for doubleheaders. Wenatchee, which takes on the Warriors Friday at 4 p.m., leads the East with a 17-1 record while Yakima, currently 8-10 in East play, faces WWCC Saturady at noon.
“We’re still climbing the ladder,” Warriors coach Mike Staudenmaier said. “A lot of teams would have folded after starting out the season with a 12-game losing streak, but not this team.”
The Warriors are in fifth place in the East but can make up ground with a strong weekend. Columbia Basin, Treasure Valley and Spokane are tied for second place in the division with identical 11-7 records.
Walla Walla had to fight back from an early 5-0 deficit to defeat Skagit Valley in Sunday’s first game. The Cardinals took advantage of what Staudenmaier described as “a lot of bleeders” to drive Warriors starting pitcher Kaitlin Erm from the circle.
“I really hated to take her out,” Staudenmaier said of Erm, “She wasn’t pitching that poorly. They didn’t hit the ball hard against her at all.”
Nevertheless, he summoned Haley Freske into the game. Freske worked her way out of the second inning and then blanked Skagit Valley on just two hits over the final five innings.
And the Warriors came alive offensively.
Cheyanne Lawson’s first hit of the game launched a three-run WWCC rally in the third inning. Her second hit initiated a two-run volley in the fourth, and her third was a two-run single in the fifth that snapped a 5-5 tie.
Karly Hudleson and Marisa Gonzalez had two hits each for the Warriors in the first game as they outhit Skagit Valley 11-9.
Kelsey Locke went the distance in the circle in the second game and blanked Edmonds on just a pair of hits.
Locke also had two hits in the game, including a two-run home run in the fifth inning. By then, however, the game was well in hand thanks to a Paige Pontarolo’s stwo-run triple that highlighted a three-run second inning and Brandy Knowles’ grand slam homer that ignited a six-run fourth.
Hudelson and Pontarolo had three hits apiece against Edmonds and Gonzalez, Locke and Sam Robillard added two hits each.
WWCC 8, Skagit Valley 5
Skagit Valley 230 000 0 — 5 9 2
Walla Walla 003 221 x — 8 11 0
Lopez and Gladsjo; Erm, Freske (2) and Morton.
Hits — SV: Trumbull 2, Falcone, Gladsjo 2, Douglas, Spence 2, Miksovky; WWCC: Knowles, Hudelson 2, Pontorolo, Gonzalez 2, Simpson, Lawson 3, Locke.
WWCC 12, Edmonds 2
Walla Walla 030 63 — 12 17 0
Edmonds 000 200 — 2 2 3
Locke and Morton; Napier, Smythe (4) and Meyers.
HR — WWCC, Knowles, Locke.
Hits — WWCC: Hudelson 3, Pontarolo 3, Knowles, Locke 2, Hawk, Simpson, Gonzalez 2, Freske, Hamilton, Robillard 2; Edmonds: Rucher, Napier.