Monday, May 23, 2011
PASCO - Yakima defeated Walla Walla for the second time in as many days here Sunday and completed an amazing comeback to earn the Eastern Regional's No. 1 seed to the NWAACC Championships baseball tournament that begins Thursday at Lower Columbia College in Longview.
Sunday's 5-3 Yaks victory ended the Warriors' season with a final 30-16 record.
"We are obviously disappointed," said second-year WWCC coach Dave Meliah. "But to win 30 games and play in the regional playoff championship game are huge accomplishments.
"We fought all the way to the last out and gave ourselves a chance with the tying run on second base in both the eighth and ninth innings," Meliah added. "I am real proud of these guys for not giving up and for leaving it all on the field."
Yakima began the tournament on Friday by losing to the Warriors 9-2. But the second-seeded Yaks, who finished tied atop the Eastern Region's regular-season standings with Columbia Basin with identical 22-6 records, were undefeated after that, downing Treasure Valley 8-5 on Friday and the Chukars again 6-2 and the Warriors 5-4 on Saturday to set up Sunday's tournament rubber game with Walla Walla.
The Warriors finished the regular season tied for third place in the East with Treasure Valley, both teams at 18-10. But by beating first Yakima and then Columbia Basin, 3-2, during Friday's play, WWCC entered Saturday's games as the only unbeaten team in the four-team field.
But they couldn't get past the Yaks a second time and earn their first trip to the NWAACCs in four years.
"Yakima was just a little bit better than us today," Meliah said of Sunday's defeat. "That is just the way it goes sometimes."
Columbia Basin, which entered the regional tournament as the No. 1 seed, also advances to the NWAACC tourney as the East's second seed.
Sunday's game saw Yakima score twice in the first inning and three times in the third off Warriors' starting pitcher Nick Jordan. However, Jordan and reliever Anthony Garza, who came on in the sixth, checked the Yaks the rest of the way and gave their team a chance to make a comeback.
The Warriors sliced Yakima's lead to 5-2 with a pair of runs in the seventh inning and added one more in the eighth. But that's as close as they could get.
In the seventh, Kyle Suni and Tyler Roberts singled and rode home on Jared Jordan's double, his second hit of the game. Alex Bonczyk singled and later scored on Chance Kopacz' infield grounder in the eighth inning for Walla Walla's third and final tally.
Yakima takes a 36-11 season record into the league's championship tournament. The Yaks will face host Lower Columbia in the final game of the first round at 7:35 p.m.
In other first-round games, Everett plays Lane at 9:35 a.m., Pierce takes on Columbia Basin at 12:35 p.m. and Mount Hood meets Bellevue at 4:35 p.m.
The double-elimination tournament continues through Sunday.
Walla Walla 000 000 210 - 3 8 2
Yakima 203 000 00x - 5 10 0
N. Jordan, A. Garza (6) and Sani; Schoonover, Druffel (8), Fowler (8) and Chavarria.
Hits - WWCC: Bonczyk, Paulson, M. Garza, Suni, Roberts, J. Jordan 2, Windsor; Yakima: Fields 2, Mueller 2, Berman, Sermo, Dallman 2, Weigel, Chavarria.