WALLA WALLA — The Kennewick Bandits and the Walla Walla Bruins split their second Central Washington Junior American Legion League baseball doubleheader of the season Tuesday afternoon at Warriors Field on the Walla Walla Community College campus.
The Bandits rode a four-run uprising in the top of the sixth inning to a 7-5 victory in the first game of the twin bill. The Bruins rebounded behind a strong pitching performance from Kyle Barker and a 13-hit offensive attack to take the nightcap 7-0.
Walla Walla improved to 13-5 overall, 10-2 in league play, as it prepares to host a 12-team junior tournament this weekend. Games will be played at WWCC, Murr Field and Borleske Stadium.
“Kennewick is becoming one of the better teams in the league,” Bruins coach Jason Parsons said of the Bandits. “But we are now through with them until the district tournament.”
Walla Walla continues to lead the league with Richland holding down second place, Parsons noted.
Barker allowed just one hit, struck out two batters and walked three over six shutout innings. Adam Eskil pitched the seventh because Barker had reached his pitch count, Parsons said.
“We want everybody to be ready for this weekend’s tournament,” Parsons said. “Kyle had reached 85 pitches and that was his limit.”
Ethan Sanders managed the Bandits’ lone hit in the second game with a line-drive single between first and second bases in the sixth inning.
Logan Cordeiro had three hits, including a two-run single in the second inning, to lead the Bruins’ offense. Eskil also had three hits and scored twice, Nate Sumerlin contributed a pair of RBI singles, Colby Watilo singled twice and scored once, and Ali Buentello and Kal Gray added RBI singles.
Gray collected two of Walla Walla’s six hits in the first game and scored one of his team’s five runs. Ryan Kimball ripped a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth as the Bruins scored three times to take a 4-2 lead.
But in the visitors’ sixth, three consecutive one-out singles followed by two bases-loaded walks and an error produced four Kennewick runs,
“The first game came down to one inning that got away from us,” Parsons said. “Our pitching has been solid all year, but we are still too inconsistent offensively and defensively.”
The tournament begins Thursday, but the Bruins won’t see action until Friday when they take on the Asotin County Blues in a 4:30 p.m. game at WWCC.
Kennewick 000 114 1 — 7 7 2
Walla Walla 010 030 1 — 5 6 2
Bauman, Dawson (5) and Kerchoff; Zehner, McKinney (6) and Watilo.
Hits — Kennewick: Dupuis, Harvey, Spivey, Schafer 2, E. Sanders, R. Sanders; WW: Gray 2, Coronado, Eskil, Kimball, Watilo.
Kennewick 000 000 0 — 0 1 1
Walla Walla 140 110 x — 7 13 0
Oldham, Spivey (4) and Landetend; Barker, Eskil (7) and Watilo, Novak (5).
Hits — Kennewick: E. Sanders; WW: Buentello, Cordeiro 3, Gray, Eskil 3, Zehner, Sumerlin 2, Watilo 2.