Clayten Ayres drove in a pair of runs and scored another Saturday afternoon as Walla Walla Community College squeaked out a 3-2 victory over Shoreline in the first game of an NWAC baseball doubleheader at Warrior Field.
Jarod Paul had four hits and Michael Kilpatrick added three in the nightcap as the Warriors finished off the sweep with a 13-3 triumph that was called in the seventh inning due to the 10-run mercy rule.
The brooming improved WWCC’s record to 9-5 and extended its winning streak to four games.
The first three-and-a-half innings of Saturday’s opener showcased starting pitchers Jake Simmons of the Warriors and Shoreline’s Henry McAree.
Neither team managed a run until the home half of inning four. Ayres led off with a double to the left-center field gap, then advanced to third base on a passed ball moments later.
One out later, Paul reached base on catcher’s interference. Ayres scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Steven Sordahl.
“He had good off-speed stuff,” Ayres said of McAree. “Coach (Meliah) brought us together (before the bottom of the third inning) and told us to look for fastballs early (in the count). I was able to get a fastball up and did what was preached earlier in the game.”
Ayres padded WWCC’s lead in the seventh with a two-out, two-run single to center.
“I was looking for a pitch up that I could handle and put a good swing on it,” Ayres said.
The Dolphins got on the board with two outs in the eighth inning on a Drey McInnes home run to left off Walla Walla reliever Griffin Davis.
Shoreline scored a run off Warriors’ closer Talon Derrick in the ninth and had runners at first and third with one out. But Derrick got Jorgen Arnesen to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play to end the two-hour, three-minute contest.
Travis Haen, who entered the game in the seventh inning for defensive purposes, Meliah said, commenced the game-ending twin-killing by ranging to his left to snare Arnesen’s grounder. He spun around and hit shortstop Cody Price with a perfect toss to get the force out at second.
Price fired a seed to Ayres at first to complete the double play.
“We put Travis in for a reason,” Meliah said. “That was not a routine double play.”
Simmons, Davis and Derrick combined on a six-hitter and teamed up for seven strikeouts.
McAree fanned nine over six frames, but was saddled with the hard-luck loss.
“He’s probably one of the best guys we’ve seen all spring,” Meliah said. “Hits against a pitcher like that are precious. You have to work the count.”
Paul gave WWCC a 1-0 edge in the first inning of game two when he rolled an RBI single to center.
Third-inning RBI singles, all to right, by Sordahl, Paul, Cam Walker and Jake Leavey increased Walla Walla’s lead to 5-0.
Shoreline scored three times in the sixth before the Warriors tallied four runs in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Garrett March started the sixth-inning scoring with a sac fly to left, Kilpatrick socked an RBI triple to center, a wild pitch plated the third run, and Conner Bryant brought in the final run of the stanza with an infield grounder.
Hunter Chambers’ sacrifice fly highlighted the seventh. The other runs crossed on a pair of bases-loaded walks and a hit by pitch with the sacks juiced.