The Walla Walla Bears kicked off their own seven-team tournament with a pair of victories on Thursday at Walla Walla Community College’s Warrior Field.
The Bears began by rallying past the Spokane Northstars, 10-8, Thursday afternoon before shutting out the Seattle Rainiers, 9-0, in the evening.
Game one was a back-and-forth battle, as the Bears jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning after Zander Norris hit a line drive to center that brought in Kyren Morris.
Heston Richmond then brought in two more with a two-RBI single of his own to center field.
The Northstars slowly got those three runs back with one run in each of the first three innings, including a solo home run from Elan Krausz in the second inning.
After an Adrian Roa RBI single in the fourth to give the Bears the lead again, Kyren Morris answered with a three-run home run of his own to give the Bears a 7-3 lead and cap off a four-run inning.
But Spokane would not back down as they came back with a three-run fourth inning behind Andrew Sweat’s three run home run to bring the Northstars back to within one, 7-6.
“(The Northstars) just kept fighting back and kept scoring on us, so I was very impressed with them,” said Bears coach Alex Behrman. “Our pitcher (starter Matt McKenzie) was grinding, but they kept chipping away one run at a time.
“We need to work on our defense,” he said. “They had seven runs on four hits, so that’s not very indicative of our defense. But we did hit the ball very well. Kyren Morris hit a home run, which was very nice, and Adrian Roa had a couple big hits for us as well.”
Spokane grabbed a one-run lead in the fifth inning after bringing in two more runs.
The Northstars held the Bears to no more runs until the top of the seventh, when Caden McCaw took the lead back for the Bears when he came through with a two-RBI single to center field and then an RBI double by Roa to make it 10-8.
Roa then came in to close out the Bears’ victory.
In the second game of the day against the Rainiers, the Bears dominated from the start.
A five-run second inning included a two-RBI double by Roa, an RBI single by Kyler Tiner
Both Roa and Tiner later scored off of a wild pitch.
Ben Ortiz pitched a complete game shut out for the Bears, as he recorded six strikeouts and gave up only one hit and walked one batter.
After an RBI single by Elliot Marks in the fourth, the Bears put the game to rest in the bottom of the fifth inning with three runs.
Kyren Morris had an RBI single, Roa score off of a bases-loaded walk and Tiner scored the final run on a passed ball.
“We just need to work on making adjustments throughout the game better as we move on through this tournament,” Behrman said. “Our hitters will sometimes take the same approach from one at-bat to the next one, so we need to figure out the pitcher early on in the game.”
The Bears return to Warrior Field in the second day of the four-day tournament, facing the Pullman Patriots at 4 p.m. today.
Bears 10, Northstars 8
McKenzie, Oliver (5), Roa (7) and Richmond. Rollis, Houser (7) and Oman.
HRs — WW: Ky. Morris; Spo: Krausz, Sweat.
Hits — WW: Ky. Morris 2, Ko. Morris, McKenzie, Norris, Richmond 2, McCaw 2, Roa 3. Spo: Oman 2, Moore, Krausz 3, Sweat.
Bears 9, Rainiers 0
Bennani and Tonina. Ortiz and Marks
HRs — none.
Hits — Seattle: Murray. WW: Tiner, Ky. Morris, Marks, Treadway, Roa.