WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla Bears committed six errors and gave up three unearned runs in losing game one of an American Legion twin bill with the Columbia Gorge Hustlers, 6-5, in nine innings at Murr Field Tuesday.
The Bears regrouped and took game two, 10-5, behind three double plays and an offensive onslaught of six hits and six walks to go with three hit-by-pitches.
“Game one we just weren’t sharp,” Bears skipper Brian Kitamura said. “The guys knew that and we did a good job of bouncing back in game two.
“But defensively, that is where it starts for us,” he said. “We are a team that utilizes our speed and defense. Our defense definitely didn’t back our pitchers. I thought our pitchers threw the ball well. The defense just didn’t come through in game one.
“Game two was better in crucial situations.”
Walla Walla had its chances in a close contest throughout game one.
The Bears jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on three RBI doubles – one each by Moe Handcox, Tyler Hamilton and Pete Bakker.
The Hustlers snuck back into the game with unearned runs in the top of the second and fifth innings to pull within 3-2 headed into the bottom of the fifth.
The Bears answered with an RBI double by Bakker, scoring Travis Haen, who had walked, and the score was 4-2 Walla Walla headed to the sixth.
Columbia Gorge’s Beaux Watt singled and stole second in the top of the sixth. He was knocked in by Steve Bartells and it was 4-3 going to the seventh when Columbia Gorge’s Lucus Denney knocked a two-run round tripper.
That home run gave the Hustlers a 5-4 lead and Walla Walla sent the game into extra innings with a fielder’s choice, hit-by-pitch and walk to load the bases. The game was tied when Bakker scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the seventh.
The game was tied only for the Bears to lose it in the ninth on Bartells’ RBI single.
Lefty Daniel Lake got the no-decision in pitching 5 1/3 innings for the Bears, while J.J. Zamora relieved.
Game two saw the Bears dominate the Hustlers.
It was 1-0 Hustlers going into the bottom of the second inning.
Walla Walla put up four runs in that frame one with three walks, two hit-by-pitches, a Josh Eggers sacrifice fly RBI and an RBI single by Handcox.
Cameron Richman received an RBI on a bean ball, and Daniel Camacho forced in a run on a walk.
Both teams scored in the fourth, but the Hustlers plated just one while the Bears score four runs. Columbia Gorge scored on an RBI groundout by Austin Wilson and the Bears were highlighted by RBI singles by Handcox and Hamilton.
After the fourth, it was 7-2 Walla Walla.
The Bears padded their lead to 10-2 in the sixth before the Hustlers tried to make a game out of in the seventh with three more runs.
The final five-run deficit was aided by a 2-run home run by Hamilton in the sixth and a sacrifice fly by Handcox.
A.J. Carkner gave up the three runs on the mound for the Bears in the seventh and Handcox pitched the first five innings, giving up only two runs.
The Bears (28-11-1) have now concluded their 2013 summer baseball season.
Columbia Gorge 6, Walla Walla 5
Col Gorge 010 011 201 — 6 12 2
Walla Walla 300 010 100 — 5 7 6
Wilson, Mathisen (7) and Denney. Lake, Zamora (5) and Hamilton.
HR – CG: Denney.
Hits – CG: Sugg, Mathisen 3, Denney 2, Weekly , Watt, Bartells 2, Copper 2; WW: Handcox, Hamilton 2, Bakker 2, Caudill 2.
Walla Walla 10, Columbia Gorge 5
Col Gorge 010 100 3 — 5 7 1
Walla Walla 140 303 x — 10 6 3
Watt, Walker (4) and Copper. Handcox, Carkner (6) and Richman.
HR – WW: Hamilton.
Hits – CG: Mathisen, Denney, Walker, Quintanilla 2, Mathisen 2; WW: Camacho, Eggers, Handcox 2, Hamilton 2.