Clayten Ayres pitched a complete-game four-hitter and helped his cause with two hits as Walla Walla Community College downed Shoreline, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon to advance to the Northwest Athletic Conference championship bracket.
Shoreline defeated Green River, 6-0, earlier Sunday to face the Warriors for a berth in the championships.
Ayres struck out four while completing the game for Walla Walla.
“Clayten stepped up the way that you hope that your sophomores would in big games,” Warriors coach Dave Meliah said. “He put us on his back.”
Walla Walla scored a run in the second inning, and tacked on three more in the third.
Shoreline plated its only run in the seventh.
The Dolphins had one error in the game, while the Warriors didn’t have commit one.
“We played excellent defense, not only today but, for most of the year, and I know that has given our pitchers a ton of confidence to go out and pound the strike zone.”
The Warriors, 31-15 overall, next play Mount Hood at 12:35 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the NWAC Championships in Longview, Wash.
“I am so proud of these guys for pushing through the adversity all season and working hard every step of the way,” Meliah said. “Our sophomores have done a great job of keeping this group together and our coaches have done an amazing job of helping them get better. All the hard work is paying off and now we get to take the next step and play in the championship tournament.”