RICHLAND — Timely hitting helped the Walla Walla Griz pull away for an easy, 12-0 victory over the Tri-City Badgers in Game 1 of an American Legion Single A baseball doubleheader Saturday at Liberty Christian High School.
Hitting — period — anchored a 20-12 Griz win in the nightcap, the sweep swelling Walla Walla’s summer record to 6-2.
Wyatt Taylor pitched and fielded himself out of several jams in the early innings of the opener, when the outcome was still in doubt. The 10-run mercy rule ended proceedings after five innings as Taylor (two hits, four walks, three strikeouts) booked an abbreviated shutout.
The Badgers “had the bases loaded a couple times early in the game, and (Taylor) was able to pitch himself out of it,” Griz coach Ryan van Dyke said.
In the second inning, Tri-City loaded the bases with no outs, but Taylor coaxed a comebacker to the mound and threw to home for the force, hustled to the plate after a passed ball to collect his catcher’s throw and apply the tag, then notched a strikeout to preserve what was then a mere 2-0 lead.
With no outs and the bases full of Badgers in the third, Taylor had a strikeout, induced a lazy fly-out too shallow to score the runner from third and milked a groundout.
The Griz exploded for five runs in the bottom of the inning, and Taylor cruised for the duration.
“We had good, timely hits in Game 1,” said van Dyke. “It always seemed like we were hitting with guys in scoring position.”
Joe Yenney had a double, single and three RBIs for the winners, and Nelson Carpenter and Dexter Aichele added two hits apiece.
In Game 2, Walla Walla overcame a pair of early deficits and held on behind some strong relief work by Aichele. The Griz took the lead for good during an eight-run uprising in the fifth.
The middle panels saw each offense trade touchdown-sized rallies — Walla Walla hanging seven runs on the board in the top of the third, Tri-City countering with six in the bottom of the fourth and the Griz’s eight-spot blowing things open in the fifth.
When the dust settled, Carpenter had four, Anders Davidson three and Justin Elsom two of Walla Walla’s 16 hits. Carpenter also scored four runs and knocked in two, Davidson added three RBIs and two runs and Elsom two RBIs.
Aichele replaced Griz starter Yenney one out into the bottom of the fourth in a 12-12 tie and allowed just one run over the final 3 2/3 to earn the win.
Walla Walla hosts a doubleheader against the Yakima Rookie Beetles at 1 p.m. today at Muir Field.
TC 000 00 -- 0 2 1
WW 205 23 -- 12 9 2
Taylor and Leahy; Steele, Sanchez (4) and Hall.
HR -- None.
Hits -- TC: Mertens, A. Hall. WW: Carpenter 2, Yenney 2, Aichele 2, Leahy, Cinnamon, Arceo.
WW 227 080 1 -- 20 16 4
TC 411 600 0 -- 12 10 6
Mertens, R. Steele (3), Hall (6), Hawk (7) and Hall, Mertens (6); Yenney, Aichele (4) and Lesmeister.
HR -- None.
Hits -- WW: Carpenter 4, Davidson 3, Elsom 2, Yenney, Aichele, Lesmeister, Taylor, Feistner, Arceo, Calzaretta. TC: Mertens 2, Hawk, C. Steele 2, Hall, Cornelius 2, Jilek 2.