WALLA WALLA — Nelson Carpenter of the Walla Walla Griz swung a bat hotter than the summer weather Monday afternoon during a Central Washington American Legion Class A baseball doubleheader with the Hanford Flames at Murr Sports Park.
Carpenter collected four hits and threw a complete game in the opener — won by the Griz, 10-5 — and socked four more hits in the nightcap that the Flames claimed by a 21-13 score.
The split left the Griz at 5-7 in league play.
Walla Walla played Monday’s twin bill without three of its top performers, coach Ryan Van Dyke said. Catcher Alex Lybbert was out with a toe injury and pitchers Dexter Aichele and Mitch Lesmeister were attending a basketball camp.
Each team scored a pair of runs in the first inning of game one. Hanford added a run in the second and led 3-2 after two frames.
Walla Walla seized the lead for good after a five-run fourth inning. Anders Davidson tied the game at 3-3 with an RBI single to left field, Joe Yenney followed with a three-run double to left-center, and a bases-loaded walk ended the fourth-inning scoring.
“Joe’s been hitting the ball well for us lately,” Van Dyke said.
The Griz tallied their final three runs of the contest in the fifth. Carpenter spanked an RBI single to left and Wyatt Taylor contributed a two-run triple to left.
Walla Walla trailed 5-1 with an inning-and-a-half of game two completed, then rallied for five runs in the bottom of the second inning. Carpenter belted a three-run double to center that evened the score at 5-5, then stole home on a successful double steal to give the Griz a 6-5 edge.
The Griz gave up three runs in both the third and fourth innings before Josh Needham ripped an RBI double to center in the last half of the fourth to pull the home team within four, 11-7.
Walla Walla yielded a run in the fifth prior to a three-run rally in the latter half of inning five. Davidson and Carpenter had run-scoring singles that helped the Griz cut the deficit to two, 12-10.
The Flames put the game away with three runs in the sixth inning and six in the seventh.
The Griz scored three times in the bottom of the seventh. Carpenter and Taylor produced two of the runs with a single and sacrifice fly, respectively.
Walla Walla sealed its own fate in game two with seven errors.
“We didn’t make a couple of plays we usually make,” Van Dyke said. “We made some plays harder than they were.
“The heat was a factor,” Van Dyke said. “It was actually cooler in the field than it was in our (first-base) dugout.”
Next up for the Griz will be a pair of games on Thursday in Spokane as part of a wood bat tournament to be hosted by the University Titans.
Hanford 210 010 1 — 5 8 2
Walla Walla 200 530 X — 10 10 2
Duberstein, Hammitt (4), Sands (6) and Young; Carpenter and Leahy.
HR — none.
Hits — Hanford: Hammitt 2, Betzsold 2, Smith 2, Becker, Sands; Walla Walla: Carpenter 4, Davidson 2, Elsom, Feistner, Yenney, Taylor.
Hanford 413 313 6 — 21 16 5
Walla Walla 150 130 3 — 13 13 7
Rice, Ross (2) and Anderson; Camacho, Needham (4), Elsom (6) and Leahy.
HR — none.
Hits — Hanford: Hammitt 3, Becker 2, Anderson 2, Betzsold 2, Serkowski 2, Hill 2, Sands, Sealock, Cowen; Walla Walla: Carpenter 4, Needham 3, Camacho 2, Davidson 2, Taylor, Elsom.