Jarrod Molnaa and Zach Zehner teamed up to pitch Walla Walla Community College to a 4-3 victory over Mount Hood Sunday afternoon at Warriors Field in the first game of a non-league baseball doubleheader.
Molnaa worked the first five innings and checked the Saints on three hits and one run before handing the ball off to Zehner. The former Wa-Hi Blue Devil scattered five hits and yielded two runs, one of them earned, in his four innings on the hill.
“It was good to see Jarrod out there on the mound today,” WWCC coach Dave Meliah said of Molnaa, who prepped at Kennewick High School. “He has battled an elbow injury for two years and has worked extremely hard to get back to healthy. It showed a great deal of perseverance and determination on his part and it was an excellent first outing for him.
“And Zach did a nice job of keeping their hitters off balance,” Meliah said of Zehner, a transfer from Central Washington University. “He was able to close out the win for us.”
It was the third consecutive victory of the young season for the Warriors, who opened their campaign Saturday by sweeping Clark 2-0 and 10-9 in a home doubleheader. But WWCC’s win streak came to an end in the second game of Sunday’s twin bill as the Saints pulled out a 6-3 victory.
“We got a little bit sloppy in game two,” Meliah said, referencing three defensive errors that led to a pair of unearned run. “But we competed hard and battled back to give ourselves a chance.
“Overall it was a good start to the season. But, like I told the guys, this is just the start. We have to keep working hard and getting better every day.”
Cameron Walker and Ryan Riepma had two hits each for the Warriors in Sunday’s opener. And Garrett March and Blake Macdonald delivered clutch two-out, run-scoring hits in the bottom of the fifth inning that boosted Walla Walla’s lead to 4-1.
“Those were big hits that gave us some breathing room,” Meliah said. “They ended up being the game-winning runs for us.”
Taylor Travess and Bowen Ogata had three hits each for Mount Hood in the first game, and Ogata collected three more hits in the nightcap as the Saints totaled 14 hits against four WWCC pitchers. Jace Mckinney also had three hits in the second game for the visitors.
Colton Peha collected two of WWCC’s nine hits in the second game.
The Warriors, who have the luxury of playing their first 16 games on their home field, will host Green River and Tacoma this coming weekend in a pair of 11 a.m. doubleheaders.