WALLA WALLA — Defending Class 2B baseball champion DeSales moved two steps closer to the program’s 18th state title Saturday afternoon with a pair of regional victories at Murr Sports Park.
The Irish, now 21-2 on the season, nipped Colfax, 1-0, for the regional crown behind the three-hit pitching of Cam Richman.
DeSales earned its berth in the regional final with a 14-0 shutout of Kittitas as Logan Hoeft, Adam Eskil, and Isaiah Standard combined on a five-inning no-hitter.
In the opening game of the day, Colfax defeated Riverside Christian, 9-5.
The Irish will meet Liberty Bell on Friday at 4 p.m. in one of two semifinal games to be played at Rotary Field in Ellensburg. Liberty Bell punched its semifinal ticket with a 9-8 win over Asotin on Saturday in Spokane.
Saturday’s finale at Murr was decided by an unearned run in the top of the first inning. DeSales catcher Joe Duehn led off the contest with a ground ball that Colfax shortstop Garrett Burke misplayed for an error. Duehn went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Travis Haen, and scored on an Eskil double into the right-center field gap.
“It was a fastball low,” Eskil said. “I got my hands out and hit it pretty good.”
DeSales had opportunities to add to its run total, but left the bases loaded in the first and two runners on in the second inning.
Richman, who struck out eight and walked one, retired 10 Bulldog hitters in a row after Dylan Heiser reached safely on an Irish error leading off the Colfax first.
The Bulldogs had their share of chances. Their best hope to score came in the last of the fourth when they got runners to second and third with two out.
But Richman wiggled off the hook by striking out Bryce Kramlich on three pitches to end the inning.
“I trust Cam to throw strikes,” Eskil said. “That (fourth inning) was the only time I was nervous the whole game.”
Burke led off the Colfax fifth with an infield single, only to be erased when Austin Getz banged into a 6-4-3 double play.
In the home sixth, Heiser led off with a single and moved to second on a Mark Webber sacrifice.
But Richman punched out Brady Ellis and retired Patrick Jacobs on a lazy fly to left to stop the Bulldogs’ threat.
Richman set Colfax down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh to bring the curtain down on a one-hour, 25-minute affair.
“Cam was pretty dominating,” DeSales coach Kim Cox said. “He’s a quality guy.”
“He’s always giving me props,” Duehn said of Richman. “It’s all him. He’s a great player. Cam pitches well with the lead.
“I’m comfortable with our defensive set-up,” Duehn said. “We’re happy to have gotten it done.”
Jacobs pitched well in defeat. He gave up four hits — only two after the first inning.
“It was a pitcher’s battle for sure,” Richman said. “It’s great to see our guys come to work every day. They deserve this.”
“It was a well-played ball game by both groups of kids,” Cox said. “I believe the best team won. We left a lot of guys in scoring position, but our guys got on some balls well and made some good contact.”
In its victory over Kittitas, the Irish settled the issue quickly against the younger Coyotes, who sported a varsity roster without a senior or a junior, and five eighth graders.
DeSales scored eight times in the first inning. Darryl Galloway and Haen had the biggest swings of the frame with a three-run triple and a two-RBI double, respectively.
Galloway added an RBI single during a six-run second inning. The Irish took advantage of three Kittitas errors during inning two.
Hoeft, Eskil, and Standard teamed up to fan nine and walk two in the game that was called after 4½ innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
DeSales 1, Colfax 0
DeSales 100 000 0 — 1 4 1
Colfax 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
Richman and Duehn; Jacobs and Becker.
HR — none.
Hits — DeSales: Eskil, Caudill, Galloway, Haen; Colfax: Ellis, Burke, Heiser.
DeSales 14, Kittitas 0
Kittitas 000 00 — 0 0 4
DeSales 860 0X — 14 7 2
Meador, Helgeson (2), Weber (3) and Helgeson, Meador (2), Helgeson (3); Hoeft, Eskil (4), Standard (5) and Richman.
HR — none.
Hits — Kittitas: none; DeSales: Haen 2, Galloway 2, Duehn, Hoeft, Jubb.