WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla Bruins split a Central Washington AA American Legion twin bill with the Hanford Flames at Walla Walla Community College Monday.
The Flames won the opener, 6-5, before the Bruins rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the nightcap, 6-5.
“We pitched well enough to win both games, we just didn’t play as clean defense as we should this late in the summer,” Bruins coach Jason Parsons said.
Walla Walla pulled into a 5-3 lead with three sixth-inning runs in the opener, but the Flames plated three seventh-inning runs to edge the Bruins.
In the second game, Walla Walla scored four second-inning runs to jump to a 4-3 lead, but Hanford tied it in the fifth and took the 5-4 lead with a seventh-inning run.
That was when the Bruins’ rally began. Kal Grey singled, and Zach Zehner reached on a fielder’s choice when the Flames tried for the lead runner and didn’t get the out.
Adam Eskil’s bunt down the third-base line, intended to be a sacrifice, resulted in a single and the Bruins had the bases loaded with no outs.
After a Walla Walla strikeout, Robi Novak hit a shot to shortstop with the defense playing in. The shot was fielded cleanly, but the throw home bounced off the Hanford catcher’s glove and Grey came home to tie it. The resulting passed ball allowed Trever Coronado, who was running for Zehner, to score the game-winning run.
The Bruins (29-6 overall, 14-3 in league) close out the regular season with a single nine-inning game at Hanford at 5 p.m.tonight.
As the No. 1 seed out of the South Division, Walla Walla hosts the district tournament this weekend at WWCC. Seeding is still being determined, but the Bruins open against the fourth seed from the North at 5 p.m. Friday. Other games will be at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
“We’d much rather stay at home than have to travel,” Parsons said of hosting the tournament.
Hanford 100 110 3 — 6 14 2
Walla Walla 001 103 0 — 5 6 6
Henry, True (7) and Miles. Zehner, McKinney (7) and Watilo.
HR — none.
Hits — Han: Godwin, Quadrel 2, Miles 2, Marks 2, Jurgens 2, Heiman, Banna 3, Henry. WW: Eskil 2, Magnaghi, Coronado, Summerlin, McKinney.
Hanford 111 010 1 — 5 6 2
Walla Walla 040 000 2 — 6 10 4
Heiman, McKee (7) and Darnell. Kimball and Novak, Watilo (5).
HR — none.
Hits — Han: Quadrel, Miles, Marks, Henry, Sutey, Bryce. WW: Cordero, Gray 2, Eskil 3, Novak 2, Summerlin, Pontarolo.