WALLA WALLA — Just when it looked like the Walla Walla Bruins were going to squander a scoring opportunity in the fourth inning of their Washington American Legion Class AA State Baseball Tournament game with Mt. Spokane Tuesday afternoon, it was Kal Gray to the rescue.
Gray pounded a three-run triple to right field as part of a four-run fourth that helped the Bruins achieve an 11-7, loser-out victory at Walla Walla Community College’s Tausick Way field.
The Bruins improved to 36-7 on the season and will play Buckley-Enumclaw today at 4 p.m. on the WWCC diamond. The winner will square off with Mason — 30 minutes after the 4 p.m. game is completed — at Walla Walla Community College.
Wednesday’s survivor will oppose either Eastlake or Yakima Valley for the Class AA state title Thursday at 1 p.m. at Borleske Stadium.
In its Tuesday triumph, Walla Walla fell behind 3-0 after a half inning.
The Bruins got two runs back in the home second. Zach Zehner grounded an RBI double down the right-field line and David Pontarolo added a run-scoring ground out to shortstop.
Each team tallied once in the third inning.
In the Walla Walla fourth, Nate Sumerlin led off with a single and was doubled to third by Pontarolo.
The Bruins’ chances for scoring appeared to be in jeopardy after Colby Watilo fouled out to first base and Ali Buentello lined to third.
But Logan Cordeiro kept the inning alive with a walk to set the table for Gray, whose three-RBI three-bagger gave Walla Walla a 6-4 lead.
Adam Eskil capped the fourth-inning scoring with an RBI single to left.
The Bruins scored four more times in the fifth inning to up their advantage to seven, 11-4. Watilo slapped a two-run single to center and Gray chipped in with a bases-loaded walk.
A wild pitch resulted in the Bruins’ final run of the game.
Gray, Watilo, Eskil, and Sumerlin had two hits apiece for Walla Walla.
“We hit the ball well,” Walla Walla coach Jason Parsons said. “We were on time. The kids squared some balls up.”
Mt. Spokane rallied in the seventh inning against Bruins’ starting pitcher Ryan Kimball. It scored three times and had the bases loaded with two outs.
But Kimball got pinch hitter Billy Parada to hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to end the game.
Though he gave up seven runs and 11 hits on Tuesday, Kimball’s outing was an improvement over his Sunday showing against Mason in which he did not get out of the second inning.
“Ryan had a much better outing,” Parsons said. “All of our kids contributed.”
Walla Walla 11, Mt. Spokane 7
Mt. Spokane 301 000 3 — 7 10 4
Walla Walla 021 440 X — 11 11 2
Walker, Macdonald (5) and Leavey; Kimball and Watilo.
HR — none.
Hits — Mt. Spokane: Bailey 3, Leavey 3, Fitzpatrick 2, Conroy 2; Walla Walla: Gray 2, Watilo 2, Eskil 2, Sumerlin 2, Magnaghi, Zehner, Pontarolo.
2013 Washington American Legion
Class AA State Baseball Tournament
Walla Walla 11, Mt. Spokane 7 (loser out)
Yakima Valley 9, Bellingham 3 (loser out)
Eastlake 7, University 6 (University eliminated)
Buckley-Enumclaw 6, Mason 3
at Walla Walla Community College
4 p.m. — Buckley-Enumclaw vs. Walla Walla (loser out)
30 minutes after completion of 4 p.m. game — Buckley-Enumclaw - Walla Walla
winner vs. Mason (loser out)
at Borleske Stadium
3 p.m. — Yakima Valley vs. Eastlake
30 minutes after completion of 3 p.m. game — Yakima Valley vs. Eastlake,
if necessary (loser out)