Walla Walla Community College

Warriors split with Vikings

MOSES LAKE — Walla Walla Community College’s Lowden Smith, a Dayton High School graduate, pitched more than seven scoreless innings out of the bullpen before teammate Blake Macdonald singled home Steven Sordahl in the 12th and enabled the Warriors to beat Big Bend, 6-5, and salvage a doubleheader split with the Vikings in the Northwest Athletic Conference’s East Region here Wednesday.

The Warriors (16-7 overall) had lost the first game, 2-0, despite left-hander Jake Simmons’ quality pitching performance, but their victory in the nightcap enabled WWCC to stay tied with Big Bend for second place in division standings with 6-4 records.

“These were two very competitive ball games,” Walla Walla coach Dave Meliah said. “Jake threw well the first game and we swung it alright, but just couldn’t get a hit with runners in scoring position.

“Lowden came up huge in relief for us in game two. Without him we don’t have a shot at winning that game.”

Walla Walla’s Dylan Wilbert caught all 21 innings and threw out four of eight runners attempting to steal bases throughout the doubleader. He also singled twice with a run batted in in the second game.

Simmons pitched seven innings in the first game, limiting Big Bend to single runs in the second inning and the sixth on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts.

The Warriors, meanwhile, failed to score off Big Bend pitcher Tyler Winkler, despite several opportunities with nine hits.

Walla Walla’s Colton Peha would finish the day with two doubles and a single, Sordahl totaled a double and three singles and Macdonald had four singles, but runs were hard to come by, especially in the first game, as the Warriors ended up leaving 10 runnners on base.

Walla Walla finally managed to cross home plate in the second game’s fourth inning, when they scored three times for a 3-3 tie.

However, the Vikings quickly answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning for a 5-3 lead, and Meliah replaced Warrior starter Cameron Walker with Smith, who got them out of any further trouble.

Walla Walla tallied two more runs to tie the game again in the top of the fifth inning, the last time anybody would score until the 12th.

Smith wound up pitching seven more innings, scattering six hits without any walks but six strikeouts.

Three Big Bend pitchers, in the meantime, matched Smith’s string of zeroes on the scoreboard until the 12th inning, when Sordahl hit a lead-off double, advanced to third on Peha’s groundout, and then scored on Macdonald’s single for a 6-5 lead.

The Dayton graduate returned the mound for the bottom of the 12th inning, but after Big Bend designated hitter Justin Dehoog led off with a double and pinch-runner Aidan Lucas replaced him as the potential tying run, Meliah called in reliever Clark Streby to finish the game.

Streby retired Tristin Parton on a groundout to first base, but Lucas advanced to third with only one down.

Lucas then tried to score on Bryan Wulf’s grounder to Ryan Riepma, but the Warriors shortstop threw him out at the plate.

Big Bend’s Dylan Cooper flew out to right field to wrap up the WWCC win.

“We could have hung our heads after getting shutout in the first game and the first three innings of the second but we didn’t do that,” Meliah said. “I was proud of the guys for keeping their composure, competing, and finding a way to win a ballgame.”

The Warriors next play Saturday at home against Columbia Basin.

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