Bruin bats pop in the heat Friday at tourney

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WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla Bruins opened their AA American Legion Bruins baseball tournament here at the Walla Walla Community College playfields Friday by sweeping themselves into Saturday’s quarterfinals.

The Bruins jumped to a 6-0 lead after two in their opener with Asotin County and coasted home with a five-inning 12-1 win. In the second game, the Bruins answered a late Sumner rally and completed pool play with a 12-5 win.

The two Friday victories launched the Bruins into an 11:45 a.m. Saturday quarterfinal battle with Bellevue Honda.

“We feel like we have a pretty good ball club,” Bruins coach Jason Parsons said. “When we are doing things the right way, we have a chance to beat anybody. We need to get some fluids in us (due to the heat) and recoup.”

Walla Walla 12, Asotin County 1

Back-to-back singles from Ali Buentello and David Pontarolo opened the door for a three-run Bruin first. The Blues never recovered.

Walla Walla’s Kal Gray added a two-run double in a three-run Bruin second and the lead swelled to 6-1 after two.

Bruin pitcher Ryan Kimball gave up a run on an RBI single by Asotin’s Aaron Trimmell in the Asotin first and then slammed the door. Kimball retired 11 Asotin hitters in a row before Cole Copeland slapped a one-out single in the Blues fifth with the Bruins on top 12-1. Kimball erased Copeland and Asotin as he enticed a game ending double play — shortstop Gray to second baseman Pontarolo to first baseman Robbie Novak.

Kimball finished with a three hitter and nine strikeouts.

“He (Kimball) was a little overmatching (for Asotin),” Parsons said. “After the first inning, he was able to get his slider and breaking ball over for strikes, which really made it difficult for them.”

The Bruin offense put up a fifth-inning six spot to give Kimball a 12-1 lead and set the stage for the 10-run rule to end the game.

Buentello’s RBI double and Matt Daniel’s run-scoring single keyed the Bruin six-run uprising.

Walla Walla 12, Sumner 5

The Bruins got consecutive hits from Kimball, Trever Coronado, Daniel, and Nathan Sumerlin to spark a five-run Bruin first. Sumerlin’s line drive, with the bases loaded, evaded a diving attempt by Sumner right fielder Bridger Robinson and rolled all the way to the wall and cleared the bases as the Bruins took a 4-0 lead. Kyle Barker singled home Sumerlin and Walla Walla grabbed a 5-0 lead.

The Bruins took advantage of two walks and three Sumner errors to run the score to 8-0 after three.

Walla Walla starting pitcher Adam Eskil breezed into the sixth with that 8-0 lead. Eskil took a three-hit shutout into the fram, but Sumner finally responded.

Behind Cory Burrill’s two-run home run, Sumner erupted for four sixth-inning runs and cut the lead to 8-4.

“Adam threw a great game,” Parsons said. “The heat was wearing on him and they (Sumner) are a good-hitting ball club. We missed our spot and you see what happens.”

The Bruins answered with four runs of their own in the home sixth. Singles by Blake McKinney and Zach Zehner, plus a sac-fly from Pontarolo keyed the four-run Bruin response. Logan Cordeiro, in relief of Eskil, got the last five outs for Walla Walla to send the Bruins to Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Walla Walla 12, Asotin County 1

WW 330 06 — 12 7 0

Asotin Co. 100 00 — 1 3 5

Kimball and Watilo, Daniel (5); Trimmell, Hansen (5) and Sells.

Hits — WW: Buentello 2, Pontarolo 2, Gray, Zehner, Daniel; Aso: Sells, Trimmell, Copeland.

Walla Walla 12, Sumner 5

Sumner 000 004 1 — 5 8 6

WW. 512 004 x — 12 10 3

Burrill and Adkins; Eskil, Cordeiro (6) and Daniel, Novak (5).

HR — Sumner: Burrill.

Hits — Sumner: Staley 2, Fischlin, Burrill 2, Hubbard 2, Uhler; WW: Kimball, Coronado, Pontarolo, Zehner, Daniel, Sumerlin 2, Barker, Cordeiro, McKinney.

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