GIG HARBOR, Wash. — Walla Walla Pacific’s 11s fell to Rainier, 4-2, at the Washington State 10/11 Little League tournament here Sunday.
Walla Walla answered Rainier’s two-run fourth inning to tie it up in the bottom of the inning, but Rainier bounced right back with two more fifth-inning runs which held up for the victory.
“We played a good game!” Pacific coach Nate Ferraro said. “Our pitching came through again and did as much as we could ask of them. Besides a few mistakes in the field and two pitches left over the middle of the plate, we played great baseball.”
Anthony Senne pitched a strong 3 2/3 innings starting for Walla Walla, striking out four, and allowing four hits, two walks and one earned run.
Mathew McKenzie relieved to shut the door in the fourth inning and finish off the game giving up two earned runs on two hits, one strikeout, a walk and one hit batter.
Kelly Coll got the start for Rainier, giving up four hits, a walk and the two runs while striking out seven Walla Walla batters over 5 2/3 innings.
“During the first three innings of the game it was a pitching duel,” Ferraro said. “Senne and Coll both cruised through the first three innings.”
In the top of the fourth inning, Rainier’s Lewis Welsh had a leadoff walk, and Mario Smulling then reached base on an infield error. Both runners then moved up on a passed ball.
Reen McFeely then hit a grounder to second base, and Pacific’s Hunter Polley threw Welsh out at home, as McFeely moved up to second.
Ren Schneider then had a base hit to right field, scoring two runs.
Senne then struck out the next batter, ending his day on the mound as McKenzie came in and got a ground ball to Walla Walla first baseman Kristopher Serrano to end the inning.
Walla Walla came up in the bottom of the fourth, and Polley hit a one-out single. With two outs, Dylan Ashbeck sent the third pitch he saw over the right-center field wall to tie the game.
In the top of the fifth, Rainier’s Sam Sproule reached base on an infield error. Aaron Barber came to the plate and hit a ground ball that resulted in a fielder’s choice, bringing up Coll, who helped his cause by smacking the first pitch he saw from McKenzie over the right-field fence to give Rainier the 4-2 lead.
“You’ve got to hand it to their pitcher Coll, he threw hard and was able to take advantage of the corners of the plate,” Ferraro said. “I am proud of our kids! Although we have struggled hitting as a team so far in the tournament, our defense and pitching have given us the chances to win ballgames. We were one bounce of the ball here or there from being 2-0 in the tournament.
“Dylan Ashbeck has brought his power to the tournament, driving his second opposite-field home run of the tourney,” he said. “Anthony Senne and Mathew McKenzie had great performances on the mound.”
The loss puts Walla Walla into the loser’s bracket to face Spokane South, a 9-0 loser to Chehalis on Saturday, at 2 p.m. today.
“We get to get back on the field tomorrow to face a good Spokane South team,” Ferraro said. “I’m excited for these kids! These kids are anxious to get back on the field tomorrow, and that’s what is so great about this group a good young ball players. If we come out and play the way we are capable, this team is going to be very hard to beat.”
Rainier 4, Walla Walla Pacific 2
Rainier 000 220 — 4 6 0
Walla Walla 000 200 — 2 4 2
Senne, McKenzie (4) and Ashbeck. Coll, Sproule (6) and Sproule, Barber (4).
HRs — Rainier: Coll. WW: Ashbeck.
Hits: Rainier: Cooper, Sproule, Barber, Coll, Smith, Schneider; Walla Walla: Polley 2, Ashbeck, Arroyo.