W-P gets past Dayton to advance

Dayton's Robert Loper (left) runs to second base and avoids the out by Waitsburg-Prescott's Kyle Gradwohl on Tuesday.

Dayton's Robert Loper (left) runs to second base and avoids the out by Waitsburg-Prescott's Kyle Gradwohl on Tuesday. Photo by Michael Lopez.

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PRESCOTT — Waitsburg-Prescott broke a 2-2 tie with a four-hit, two-run sixth inning here Tuesday in Southeast 2B District baseball playoff action against Dayton.

W-P made those two runs stand up and it advances with a 4-2 win over the Bulldogs in the loser-out game.

Dayton’s season comes to an end as the Bulldogs finish 12-9.

W-P plays an elimination game for the third District 9 ticket to the regional tournament at 11 a.m. Saturday at Borleske Stadium against Tri-Cities Prep.

The Jaguars downed Garfield-Palouse/Tekoa-Oakesdale, 4-3, on Tuesday to advance.

“After we gave up the lead, we had some kids get in there and swing it really well,” W-P coach Jon Gradwohl, who took over the reins from Dustin Snedigar due to Snedigar being injured in a car accident on Monday, said of the W-P rally. “I was glad to see that. I was a little bit worried as the kids didn’t seem like they were ready to go at the beginning. They were just more concentrated than I thought they were.”

Pitching-wise, Dayton’s Lowden Smith and W-P’s Talen Larsen dominated the first three innings.

Smith gave up an unearned run in the home second, as W-P’s Devin Acevedo drew a lead-off walk, went to third on a two-base throwing error, and came home on Jacob Dunn’s sac fly for a 1-0 W-P lead.

Smith took a no-hitter to the fourth and struck out the first W-P hitter, but Kyle Gradwohl dropped the barrel on an inside fastball and pulled the ball over the right-field fence for a 2-0 W-P lead.

Larsen gave up three hits in three innings but got help from his defense. A double play stopped the Bulldog second, and Acevedo, at third for W-P, scaled the fence in foul ground to make a catch to hold Dayton in check despite hits from Tanner Bren and Christian Warner in the third.

“We had a lot of chances to score guys,” Bulldog coach Sal Benavides said. “We had enough base runners out there to score, but just couldn’t get the key hit.”

Following a Guy Spalinger infield single and a walk to Smith, the Bulldogs had the bases loaded with two outs in the Bulldog sixth.

Logan Hays’ comebacker was knocked down by Larsen, but Hays’ hustle forced a hurried and erratic throw as two Bulldogs sprinted home to tie it at 2-all.

Larsen bounced back to blank the Bulldogs in the sixth as the heart of the W-P lineup came to bat in the home sixth.

“We thought if we could weather the storm and get through the 2-, 3-, 4-hitters, we would have a shot at it in the seventh,” Benavides said. “They (W-P) came up and hit the ball pretty solid.”

With one out, Kyle Gradwohl legged out a slow roller to short stop. A wild pitch moved Gradwohl to second, and Acevedo plated him with a ground-rule double that bounced over the center-field fence. Acevedo stole third for the second time in the game, and scored on Dunn’s base hit.

“We swung the bats pretty well,” coach Gradwohl said. “Lowden (Smith) is a good pitcher. It was good to see us get some good swings on him.”

Larsen threw one pitch — a ball — to start the seventh and Gradwohl came on to get the final three outs and send W-P to Saturday’s elimination game.

The loss ends the Bulldog careers of Spalinger, Warner, Smith, Hays, Robert Loper and Cruz Ramirez.

“We had a pretty good season,” Benavides said. “We were in all the games. I liked what I saw this year. I thanked all my seniors. They carried the team. They got it done with the bat and the glove. They were good leaders.”

Acevedo and Kyle Gradwohl led W-P with two hits each.

“I’m out here taking the ball for Dustin (Snedigar),” coach Gradwohl said. “Whatever Dustin’s got going (for Saturday, as Snedigar is expected back), we’ll just keep the ball rolling.”

W-P 4, Dayton 2

Dayton 000 020 0 — 2 5 2

W-P 010 102 x — 4 7 2

Smith and Hays; Larsen, Gradwohl (7) and Dunn.

HR — W-P: Gradwohl.

Hits — Day: Kleck, Bren, C. Warner, Spalinger, Loper; W-P: Gradwohl 2, Acevedo 2, N. Pearson, Dunn, Leroue.

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