Treasure Valley hands WWCC a pair of setbacks, 6-0 and 7-4, on the Warriors’ field on Wednesday.
Treasure Valley visited Warrior Field on Wednesday determined to play spoiler in the NWAC East Region baseball race.
The Chukars, 3-17 in the East entering Wednesday’s twin bill, dealt Walla Walla Community College a setback in its bid to earn one of the four East postseason spots as they got superb pitching in the opener to defeat the Warriors 6-0.
Treasure Valley then pushed across three seventh-inning runs in the second game to overcome a 4-3 Warrior lead and post a 7-4 win to complete the sweep.
“We weren’t ready to go,” Warriors coach Dave Meliah said. “Records don’t matter at all at this level. They are obviously better than their record. It’s about who shows up ready to compete on a given day. They (TVCC) wanted to compete today.”
Trent Cooper’s bloop single to right started the Chukar third in a scoreless tie in the opener.
A C.C. Burrup RBI triple and a two-run home run from Chase Barrera followed, and staked Chukar starting pitcher Roy Robles to a 3-0 lead.
That proved to be more than the left hander would need.
Robles shut the Warriors down on four hits.
The Warriors had a runner thrown out at third, but that was as far as any Warrior advanced.
The Warriors never bunched two hits together in any one inning against Robles.
Singles by Dimick Wood, Danny Robinson, Lowden Smith, and an eighth inning, two-out double by Sean Coffey were the Warrior offense.
Robles finished his complete-game shutout by limiting the Warriors to those four hits, walking one, hitting one, and striking out nine.
“Take my hat off to R.J. (Robles),” Meliah said. “He threw strikes and made us swing the bat. We didn’t do a good enough job. He didn’t give us many opportunities.”
Three hits and a walk, and the Chukars scored twice in the first inning of the nightcap.
The Warriors responded.
Coffey’s fly to right to lead off the Warrior first, was lost in the sun and fell for a single.
Brian O’Rourke reached on an error and Kealan Martin singled.
The Warriors got one home on Danny Robinson’s fielder’s choice grounder.
Robinson ran a delayed steal of second and was thrown out, but O’Rourke scooted home on the play and the Warriors were even at 2-2 after one.
The Chukars re-took the lead in the third, only to see the Warriors answer in the home fourth.
Cooper Larson’s fly was dropped for a two-base error to open the fourth.
Wood singled Larson to third, and Cody Garza drove Larson home and Wood to third with a single.
Coffey picked up Wood with a sac fly and the Warriors had their first lead of the day at 4-3 after four.
After a tough start, Warrior starting pitcher Brayde Hirai settled in and blanked the Chukars over the middle three innings before running into trouble in the seventh. A walk and two singles loaded the bases with two outs for the Chukars.
Trace Ogata was summoned from the Warrior bullpen to relieve Hirai.
Payton Higgins greeted Ogata with a two-run double off the left-field bullpen fence.
The Chukars added another on a errant pitch and TVCC grabbed a 6-4 lead with.
The Warriors threatened in the seventh as Smith hustled for an infield single to put Warriors at second and third, but the big hit did not come.
After TVCC added one in the eighth, a Coffey double and an O’Rourke single again got Warriors to second and third with two outs, but they couldn’t muster a clutch hit.
In the ninth, a Robinson single sparked a Warrior inning that had the tying run at the plate, but a force-out ended it and preserved the Chukars’ 7-4 win and sweep of the doubleheader.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of energy today,” Meliah said. “We had opportunities in the second game and showed more fight. We had runners in scoring position. We didn’t swing the bat very well. We’ve had that issue this year. We swing the bat well some days and others we don’t.
“We wasted an opportunity to stay in fourth place today,” he continued. “We’ve still got six games to play, so anything can still happen. These (losses) are tough ones to swallow. We’ve got to play better than that if we even want an opportunity to make the post season. You’ve got to be playing your best baseball at the end.”
The Warriors drop to 9-13 in East play and travel to Wenatchee Saturday for an East doubleheader with Wenatchee Valley.
Robles and Hladky; Haughton, Peterson (7) and Wood.
HR — TVCC: Ch. Barrera, Bleskin.
Hits — TVCC: Hladky 2, Higgins 2, Cooper, Burrup 2, Ch. Barrera 2, Co. Barrera, Bleskin 2, Rodriguez; WWCC: Wood, Robinson, Smith, Coffey.
Strickland, Wheeler (7), Rodriguez (9) and Berg; Hirai, Ogata (7), ORourke (9) and Wood, Lester (9).
HR — none.
Hits — TVCC: Bleskin, Ch. Barrera, Rodriguez 3, Cooper 2, Wong 2, Co. Barrera 2. Berg, Higgins, Pannullo; WWCC: Coffey 2, Martin, Smith 2, Wood, Garza. Robinson 2, ORourke.