CHICO, Calif. — Trailing 3-2 in the fifth inning of their game against the Petaluma Leghorns Saturday, the Walla Walla Bears exploded for three runs and held on for a 5-4 victory to clinch a spot in today’s championship game of the Chico Father’s Day Classic.
Tyler Hamilton and Peter Bakker each took free passes to first to open the rally, and JJ Zamora singled to load the bases.
Spencer Cordeiro smacked an RBI double to score the first run and Dylan Shuler followed with a two-RBI single to cap the rally.
After scoring a run in the sixth, Petaluma loaded the bases with one out gone in the seventh.
Hamilton, who moved from behind the plate to the mound to close out the seventh, struck a batter out and induced a grounder to third to end the game.
“Our guys are playing hard,” Walla Walla coach Brian Kitamura said. “We are doing a lot of great things on the field and improving every day against tough competition.”
On Friday the Bears played two eight-inning games. The Bears triumphed pver Spanish Springs Bandits, 6-5, and tied the Chico Nuts, 6-6.
A two-RBI double by Moe Handcox helped Walla Walla build a 3-0 against the Bandits in the first inning, but Spanish Springs answered with runs in the first, third and fourth innings to take a 4-3 lead into the sixth.
Zamora tied the game in the sixth at 4-4 with an RBI single.
Trailing 5-4 going into the seventh, the Bears got an sac-fly RBI from Connor Johnson to tie it at five apiece.
In extra innings, Pete Bakker singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Bakker then moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on another errant throw home to score the winning run.
The Bears and Nuts battled to a 6-6 tie after five innings before the game was called due to time limitations after the eighth.
Chico had a chance to win the game in the eigth, as the Nuts put runners at first and third with only one out gone in the inning.
The Nuts attempted a suicide squeeze to score the winning run, but catcher Tyler Hamilton snagged the pop-up bunt and threw to first to catch the baserunner off guard for a game-ending double play.
The Bears will play in the tournament championship game today at 2:15 p.m.
Walla Walla 5, Petaluma 4
Petaluma 002 011 0 — 4 9 0
Walla Walla 020 030 X — 5 10 2
Littleton, Hagerlit (5) and Bryan. Zamora, Hamilton (7) and Hamilton, Bakker (7).
HR — WW: Cordeiro. Peta: Stafford.
Hits — Petaluma: Stafford 2, Larnow, Bender 2, Walsh 2, Deville, Hilbert. WW: Eggers 2, Hamilton 1, Zamora, Cordeiro 2, Shuler 3, Camacho.
Walla Walla 6, Spanish Springs 5
Walla Walla 300 001 11 — 6 5 4
Spanish Springs 102 101 00 — 5 9 3
Shuler, Handcox (6) and Hamilton. Henley, Allen (5) and Glatthar.
Hits — WW: Handcox 2, Hamilton, Bakker, Zamora. Spanish Springs: Parks 3, Messer, Hauder, Haley, Allen, Glatthar, Galletti.
Walla Walla 6, Chico 6
Walla Walla 100 230 00 — 6 10 1
Chico Nuts 103 200 00 — 6 9 4
Cordeiro, Lake (5) and Hamilton. Jackson, Visinoni (5) and Vierra.
HR — Chico: Souza.
Hits — WW: Johnson 2, Handcox, Hamilton 2, Bakker, Zamora 3, Kramer. Chico: Souza 3, Henderson, Sanderson, Schuler, Melton, Murphy, Vierra.