WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla Bruins completed a perfect 3-0 showing in the Central Washington AA League championship baseball tournament Sunday night with an 11-1 victory over the Moses Lake Walleyes at Walla Walla Community College’s Tausick Way field.
Walla Walla, which improved its summer record to 33-6, had seven different players with at least one hit each to back the three-hit pitching of starter Kyle Barker.
The Bruins, who will host the Class AA state tournament July 27 through Aug. 1, completed their task efficiently as reflected by the time of the contest — one hour, 21 minutes — and the fact that it was halted after six innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
Barker proved to be a model of efficiency personally. The right-hander made his way through six innings of mound duty on just 54 pitches.
“The keys were the mind set that I came into the game with, being mentally focused, and knowing that I had the defense behind me,” Barker said.
Barker also benefited from an abundance of offensive support.
Walla Walla racked up five runs on three hits in the first inning. Reid Magnaghi began the scoring with a one-out, solo home run to right field.
Others contributing to the Bruins’ offensive success in inning one were David Pontarolo and Nate Sumerlin. Pontarolo gave Walla Walla a 2-0 lead with an RBI single and a two-out double by Sumerlin drove in the final run of the frame.
Two more Walla Walla tallies came about in the first on a Moses Lake error.
The Walleyes got a run back in the second inning on a leadoff home run by Tyson Karstetter that rattled the right-field bullpen.
The Bruins extended their lead with three runs in the fourth inning. Ali Buentello dropped a two-run single into shallow right and scored on a two-out double by Adam Eskil.
Matt Daniel delivered Walla Walla’s ninth run with a fifth-inning base knock.
The final Bruins’ tallies crossed the plate on a sixth-inning error.
“The kids came out ready to play,” Walla Walla coach Jason Parsons said. “They were all (fired up) after Reid hit that home run in the first inning. All of our kids can drive the ball. Kyle Barker (was) fantastic.”
The Bruins entered district play knowing their ticket to the state tournament had already been punched because of their status as the host team. Barker said that did not matter to him or his teammates this past weekend.
“We don’t want any free rides,” Barker said. “We want to keep it rolling and play good baseball.”
Bruins 11, Walleyes 1
Walla Walla 500 312 — 11 8 3
Moses Lake 010 000 — 1 3 3
Barker and Daniel, Watilo (5); Longmire, Fisk (6), J. Vela (6) and Crum.
HR — Walla Walla: Magnaghi; Moses Lake: Karstetter.
Hits — Walla Walla: McKinney 2, Kimball, Pontarolo, Sumerlin, Buentello, Eskil, Daniel; Moses Lake: Karstetter, J. Vela, Boyd.