The WWCC baseball team wins the opener, 10-4, before Treasure Valley salvages the split with a 9-2 win in the nightcap.
One big inning keyed both Walla Walla Community College and Treasure Valley to a victory, as they split a Northwest Athletic Conference East Division baseball doubleheader here on Wednesday.
The Warriors scored seven runs in the fifth inning for a 10-4 win in the opener, but then surrendered five runs in the seventh inning of the nightcap, a 9-2 loss.
“We put some pressure on them in the first game, and had a big inning that gave us some separation,” Warriors coach Dave Meliah said. “Unfortunately, they did the exact same thing to us in game two. We have to be able to keep teams from having big innings against us. That has really hurt us in a couple games this year.”
Walla Walla (12-8 overall, 4-2 in the division) and Treasure Valley finished the day in a four-way tie atop East standings along with Yakima Valley and Spokane, which both had swept their respective Wednesday doubleheaders. Yakima Valley beat Wenatchee, while Spokane topped Blue Mountain.
At Warrior Field, meanwhile, Walla Walla took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning of the opener, when Colton Peha doubled to get the ball rolling. By the time Treasure Valley could record the third out, the Warriors had scored seven runs on three singles, with the aid of two hit batters, two fielding errors, and a base on balls.
Larry DeWitt followed Peha’s double with the walk, so Treasure Valley called in left-hander Blake McFadden, but he failed to provide much relief. McFadden proceeded to hit Sean Coffey with a pitch to load the bases.
After Brandon Wagstaff popped out, McFadden hit Jacob Haas with a pitch, forcing Peha home. Walla Walla High School alumnus Futa Ikuma then singled DeWitt home for a 5-2 lead.
The sacks remained full after Josh Kutzke flied out shallow right field, but Taylor Brooks hit a two-out single to plate Coffey and keep the rally going. Robby Heiberg then singled home Hass, with Ikuma on his heels thanks to an error.
Peha’s second at-bat of the fifth resulted in another Treasure Valley error, giving the Warriors two more runs for a 10-2 lead.
Treasure Valley could answer with only one run in the sixth inning, and one more in the seventh with the help of a Walla Walla error, but Warriors starting pitcher Jarrod Molnaa kept them comfortably out in front. The right hander had given up two runs in the very first inning, but bounced back with a string of zeros.
Molnaa finished with seven innings pitched, allowing six hits, four runs (three earned), and two walks, but also two strikeouts.
Walla Walla reliever Carson Woolery wrapped up the win with two strong innings, setting down all six batters he faced.
Treasure Valley again jumped ahead in the second game, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning as leadoff hitter Cole Jones tripled and later scored.
Coffey tied the game in the home half of the first, doubling home DeWitt with two outs, but Walla Walla failed to score again until the ninth inning.
Meanwhile, Treasure Valley used a single run in the third inning, and another in the fourth, to go up 3-1.
Treasure Valley added five more runs in the seventh inning. Walla Walla starting pitcher Clark Streby issued a leadoff walk and then surrendered a single to his last batter.
Streby turned the mound over to reliever Austin Haughton, but he gave up three straight singles. Later, two fielding miscues gave the opposition another run. Before Haughton could escape his only inning of work, Treasure Valley’s lead was 8-1.
Treasure Valley called on reliever Levi Abrahamson to protect the lead, and he retired all six hitters he faced in two innings out of the bullpen.
After Treasure Valley added one more run in the top of the ninth, Walla Walla rallied for a run of its own against reliever Jaden Jensen.
The Warriors then loaded the bases with two outs, but Jensen managed to escape.
Walla Walla returns to action on Saturday, when the Warriors visit Blue Mountain for a doubleheader.