WALLA WALLA — A trio of Walla Walla pitchers combined for a four-hit shutout Sunday as the Warriors defeated defending NWAACC champion Pierce 10-0 in the first game of a non-league baseball doubleheader at WWCC’s Tausick Way field.
The Raiders rebounded to win the nightcap 7-6 on Michael Sherwin’s two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning.
The Warriors, who swept Olympic 1-0 and 19-3 on Saturday, are now 5-3 for the season. Pierce’s record stands at 5-3 as well, including Saturday’s 3-0, 3-0 victories at Blue Mountain CC in Pendleton.
“We took a step forward this weekend,” said Warriors coach Dave Meliah. “It’s what we talked about ... improving every week and playing our best baseball once league play begins. And we definitely improved this week.”
Drew Christina pitched the first six innings for WWCC in the opener. He allowed three hits, struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.
“Drew was lights out,” Meliah said. “He dominated the defending NWAACC champions, a quality opponent, for six innings.
“He could have gone longer. He only threw 77 pitches and was cruising, but with a 10-0 lead there was no reason to push his pitch count.”
Shane Dixon was nearly as effective in his two shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out one Raiders batter. Juan Munoz tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning to complete the shutout.
The Warriors used the home run to supply Christina with an early cushion. Corey Morris hit a two-strike solo homer with one out in the bottom of the first inning, and Jarod Gonzalez followed Jarrod Turner’s two-out single with a two-run homer as the Warriors assumed a 3-0 lead after one inning of play.
Gonzalez added an RBI single in the third inning, Seth Wolfe singled home a run in the fifth inning and Turner and Cody Poznanski chipped in with run-scoring singles in the sixth inning as WWCC added to its lead.
The Warriors got off to an even better start in the second game. Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases, and consecutive singles by Gonzalez, Ryan Neal and Brandon Costello produced five runs. Gonzalez and Costello were each credited with two RBIs and Neal drove home one.
Poznanski’s two-out single in the second inning produced a sixth WWCC run. But the Warriors left the bases loaded in the inning and did so again in the fourth.
“That was the key inning,” Meliah said of the empty fourth. “I told the guys, when you’ve got a good team down you have to go for the finishing shot, and we didn’t do it.
“We let them hang around and they got some momentum behind them. It was another learning process.”
The Raiders, who pounded out 16 hits in the game, struck for four runs in the fifth inning, added another in the seventh and then plated the tying run and what proved to be the winning run in the ninth.
Jake Campeau pitched the first seven innings for the Warriors and chalked up nine strikeouts while not walking a batter. He allowed just three hits over the first four innings but was touched for nine hits over the next three frames.
“I thought Jake had a solid outing,” Meliah said. “He was about as dominating as Drew (Christina) for the first four innings, he made it through seven and left with the lead. That’s what you ask from your starting pitcher.”
Nick Brockman pitched the final two innings and was tagged with the loss.
“Nick made just one bad pitch, and it wasn’t the home run,” Meliah said. “He gave up a base hit to the guy ahead of (Sherwin) when he hung a slider.”
The Warriors play two more home doubleheaders this weekend. Skagit Valley invades Warriors Field Saturday and the Prairie Baseball Academy, which pinned a couple of defeats on WWCC earlier in the season, is in town Sunday.
“That will be a good test to see how far we have come in the last couple of weeks,” Meliah said. “Hopefully the guys are excited about showing what kind of a team they are.”
Pierce 000 000 000 — 0 4 2
Walla Walla 301 132 00x — 10 14 0
Kornegay, Johnson (5), McCoy (6) and Sherwin; D. Christina, Dixon (7), Munoz (9) and Turner.
HR — WWCC, Morris, Gonzalez.
Hits — Pierce: Hoskins, Sherwin 2, Larson; WWCC: Wolfe 2, Morris, Turner, Gonzalez 3, Poznanski 3, Neal 2, B. Christina, Jones.
Pierce 000 040 102 — 7 16 1
Walla Walla 510 000 000 — 6 9 1
Shadle, Weber (2), Frigerio (8) and Sherwin; Campeau, Brockman (8) and Brown, Holbrook (8).
HR — Pierce, Sherwin.
Hits — Pierce: Oyer, Larson 2, Hoskins 3, Sherwin 3, VanSlyke, Nelson 2, Kim, Elmer 3; WWCC: Toon, Gonzalez 2, Poznanski, Neal 3, Jones, Costello.