Bears down Riverdogs, 7-6, to win Chico Classic

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CHICO, Calif. — The Walla Walla Bears won the Chico Father’s Day Classic with a 7-6 victory over the Napa Riverdogs here Sunday.

Napa jumped out to a 2-0 lead with four straight hits in the top of the first inning.

But Bear starter A.J. Carkner settled in, holding Napa scoreless until the sixth inning.

In the fourth inning, Walla Walla’s bats came alive. Josh Eggers led off the inning by getting hit with a pitch, and Moe Handcox then walked. Both moved up 90 feet on Tyler Hamilton’s sacrifice bunt.

Pete Bakker then singled to right field, driving in Eggers and Handcox to tie the game at 2-all.

The Bears then tacked on two more runs in the fourth, and another in the fifth to make it 5-2.

The Riverdogs had consecutive singles to lead off the sixth, dropped a fly in the outfield to load the bases, and another single made it 5-3.

A Bears error allowed another Napa run, a single tied the game and a sacrifice fly gave the Riverdogs the 6-5 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, Handcox was hit by another pitch with one out. He stole second base to move into scoring position, and Hamilton banged the next pitch to the fence in left to drive in Handcox and tie the game at 6-6.

After a pitching change induced a strikeout for the second out of the inning, J.J. Zamora punched a 2-1 pitch through the right side and courtesy runner Daniel Lake slid around and under the tag for a 7-6 walk-off win. Bears players swarmed Zamora on the field after Lake crossed home.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the way we played, and the fight we showed throughout the entire tournament,” Bears coach Brian Kitamura said. “The competition down here was strong and every game we played in was decided by one run. We definitely had a ‘refuse to lose’ attitude.

“We talk a lot about consistency through the entire game and being ready to contribute when called upon,” he said. “Our guys locked into our game plan and approach, especially at the plate, and executed. Everyone stepped up and contributed in a significant way.”

The Bears head to the High Desert Classic in Ephrata, Wash., Thursday through Sunday.

Bears 7, Riverdogs 6

Napa Riverdogs 200 004 0 — 6 10 2

Walla Walla Bears 000 410 2 — 7 7 2

Mitchell, Obranovich (6), Mullins (7) and Benere; Carkner and Hamilton.

HR — none.

Hits — Napa: Reyes 3, Martin 2, Estes, Keen 2, Fernandez, Obranovich; WW: Hamilton 2, Bakker, Zamora 2, Camacho 2.

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