WALLA WALLA — Kendyl Hamilton and Brook Simpson clubbed two-run home runs Saturday afternoon as Walla Walla Community College posted a 6-3 victory over defending NWAACC champion Wenatchee Valley in the first game of an Eastern Region softball doubleheader at Warrior Field.
The Knights, who had won eight straight and nine of their last 10 games heading into Saturday’s twinbill, built an 8-1 lead in the nightcap and hung on for an 8-5 triumph.
WWCC now stands at 5-2 in league play and 7-8 overall.
Wenatchee, ranked No. 3 in the latest NWAACC coaches poll, is 5-1 and 11-2.
On Friday, the Warriors claimed the first game of a scheduled doubleheader with Yakima Valley, 10-4.
Friday’s second game was postponed because of rain and will be rescheduled at a later date.
Walla Walla fell behind 2-0 after an inning-and-a-half of Saturday’s opener before rallying for three runs in the home half of the second. Hamilton tied the score with a two-run homer to center field and Simpson capped the rally with an RBI single to center.
Each team picked up a run in the third. Hannah DeBaugh brought home the Warriors’ tally with a two-out infield single.
Simpson’s four-bagger provided WWCC with insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.
“We took advantage of opportunities,” WWCC coach Mark Michaud said. “We had gritty at-bats. We were focused in all of our at-bats. Our girls picked each other up and did a great job.”
Walla Walla trailed 8-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning of game two. Paige Pontarolo socked a two-RBI double to center and Misa Gonzalez knocked in a run with an infield hit to give WWCC a chance for a late-inning rally.
But the contest came to a sudden end when Cheyenne Kessler drilled a line drive that Knights’ third baseman Kinley Pope turned into a game-concluding double play.
“We battled and fought,” Michaud said. “Wenatchee is a disciplined team. We were not as disciplined. That was the key to the game.”
In Friday’s victory over YVC, Pontarolo had three hits while Sam Robillard and Kessler launched long flies. Robillard, who had three RBIs in the game, belted a two-run shot in the second inning and Kessler went deep to lead off the fifth.
“I was really excited to see our hitters do what they did with two strikes,” Michaud said. “We take a lot of pride in our confidence to hit with two strikes and our hitters took it to another level.
“Over half of our RBIs came in at-bats when we had two strikes,” he added. “That is a major sign of mature hitters that are able to stay in the moment.”
The Warriors hit the road next weekend for league games at Spokane Friday and Big Bend Saturday.
WVC 021 000 0 — 3 8 0
WWCC 031 002 X — 6 4 5
Rambo and Swanson; Moe and Snow.
HR — WWCC: Hamilton, Simpson.
Hits — WVC: Pope 3, Rodriguez 2, Rambo, Swanson, Hess; WWCC: Simpson 2, Hamilton, DeBaugh.
WVC 010 133 0 — 8 11 4
WWCC 010 001 3 — 5 7 3
Crookes and Hazen; Smith, Moe (4), DeBaugh (5) and Snow.
HR — WVC: Rambo, Rodriguez.
Hits — WVC: Rambo 3, Wilkey, Hazen, Lynch, Wall, Rodriguez, Beagle, Hess, Pope; WWCC: Kessler 2, Pontarolo 2, Snow, Robillard, Gonzalez.
YVC 020 010 1 — 4 9 0
WWCC 125 011 X — 10 9 1
Reynolds and Saldua; Moe and Snow.
HR — WWCC: Robillard, Kessler.
Hits — YVC: Harper 2, Turner 2, Reeves, Miller, Shipley, Saldua, Laird; WWCC: Pontarolo 3, Robillard 2, Smith 2, Kessler, Hamilton.