A two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning proved to be the difference as the Walla Walla Community College baseball team advanced at the Northwest Athletic Conference Super Regional tournament on Saturday.
The Warriors turned back Shoreline, 3-2, at Warrior Field to move into today’s 1 p.m. game. Walla Walla will play the winner of Shoreline and Green River, who play at 10 a.m. today.
Shoreline downed Green River, 8-3, earlier on Saturday to earn a spot in the nightcap against WWCC.
The Warriors scored both of their runs in the seventh with two outs to turn the tide on the Dolphins.
Cody Price led off with a single, before Steven Sordahl moved him to third on a single. Austin Kopacz drew a walk, which brought up Clayten Ayres with the bases full of Warriors.
Ayres was hit by a pitch to bring in Price, before Paul broke the 2-2 tie with a single to score Sordahl.
“Austin Kopacz, Clayten Ayres and Jarod Paul all had some big at bats in the seventh with two outs to tie the game and then give us the lead,” WWCC coach Dave Meliah said.
It was a pitcher’s duel up to that point, as Shoreline’s Henry McAree and Walla Walla’s Jake Simmons traded scoreless frames through three.
The Dolphins pushed across two in the top of the fourth on a Sam Ballweg single, but Simmons recovered and forced an inning-ending double play. Walla Walla got on the board in the sixth as Paul brought home Sordahl with an RBI single.
Simmons went 7 1/3 innings, allowing six hits with two strikeouts and two walks. McAree finished with eight strikeouts and four walks over 6 2/3 innings.
“That was a tough, gritty game,” Meliah said. “Both teams’ starting pitchers threw well. Both teams fought hard. It’s the type of game that you expect in the postseason.”