Walla Walla knotched a walk-off win in the opener, and rode Taylor Hamada’s complete-game pitching effort to the win in the nightcap, as the Bears won 6-5, and 6-1 Sunday to sweep the Kennewick Outlaws in independent American Legion baseball action at Walla Walla Community College.
“We are developing a good team feeling,” Bears coach Alex Behrman said. “We had guys from WWCC and mixed in a bunch of locals. They are starting to feel integrated. We can win some tournaments with this team.”
The Bears hit the ball all over the yard for six innings, tallying eight hits in the opener.
But the Outlaws’ defense turned two double plays and held off the Bear attack.
Trevor Ridley delivered two Outlaws with a fourth-inning single, and Easton Stevens drove in another, as the Outlaws appeared to take control with a three-run fourth to push their lead to 5-0 after four.
“We had baserunners, but couldn’t execute,” Bears right fielder Brody Woods said. “They turned a couple of double plays and we couldn’t get the big hit.”
The Bears came to bat for the last time down 5-0.
After Woods grounded out to start the seventh, Josh Bergevin drew a walk to reach base for the third time after two previous singles.
Brian Lawrence singled. Hamada singled to drive home Bergevin with the Bears’ first run.
Adrian Roa walked and Kobe Morris followed with a two-run double, and it was 5-3 Outlaws.
Elliot Marks grounded out, but got Roa home to make it 5-4 with two outs.
Kyren Morris then pinch hit, and was plucked by an Outlaw pitch to put the tying and winning runs on base.
“I put Kyren up there hoping he could win it for us,” Behrman said. “He got hit, and that left it up to Matt (McKenzie).”
McKenzie delivered a single, and Kobe Morris scored the tying run.
Woods, with the winning run on, came to bat for the second time in the inning and delivered a line drive up the middle and Kyren Morris scooted home with the winning run.
“Never had a walk-off before,” Woods said. “Hitting is contagious, and the pure energy from our dugout was a big help. I wanted to hit the ball hard the other way and move the runner along. I got a fastball and hit it hard over the second baseman.”
“We hit the ball well all day,” Behrman said of the first game. “They (the Outlaws) played really good defense and then we blew it open in the seventh.”
The momentum from the seventh carried into the first inning of the nightcap.
Hamada drilled the first pitch for a single, and the first four Bears hitters got hits.
Kyren Morris tripled in Hamada, Kobe Morris singled in Kyren Morris, and after Marks singled Kobe Morris to third, Caleb Ephan picked up the third Bears run with a sac fly to make it 3-0 Bears after one.
“Huge momentum swing (from game one to two),” Behrman said. “Taylor hit the first pitch and we have been working on getting the guys to be overly aggressive at the plate. Being that aggressive will give them confidence at the plate.”
Hamada, on the hill for the Bears, was on cruise control through four innings, blanking the Outlaws on three hits.
Kobe Morris came to bat with one out and two Bears on base in the home fourth. He faced Simeon Howard for the second time after Howard struck him out the first go around.
Not this time.
Morris blasted one over the left-field bullpen and out of the yard for a three-run homer and a 6-0 Bears lead.
“It was a 2-0 count and I was looking for a fast ball middle in,” Kobe Morris said. “I heard our runners going, but I got the pitch out in front and got good results.”
Hamada got touched for a solo home run from Stevens in the fifth, but sailed home with a five-hit complete game as the Bears completed the sweep with the 6-1 win.
“I threw a lot of fastballs, mixed in some change ups, and varied the velocity on the fastballs,” Hamada said. “So far, so good with the arm (which was troublesome during his Wa-Hi career). After Kobe got the big hit, and a five run lead, I was free to be more aggressive. We mixed it up and kept them off balance.”
The Bears defense, highlighted by Kobe Morris handling all six chances on the afternoon cleanly, was stalwart.
The Bears only made one error on the afternoon.
“If the ball rolls on my side, I want to get it,” Kobe Morris said of his work at third base. “Getting to it takes priority.”
The Bears are back in action this afternoon, hosting the Lewis-Clark Twins at 5:30 p.m. at WWCC.
Anderson, Aldrich (6), Mattson (7) and Lind, Ridley (7); Ortiz, McKenzie (6) and Lawrence.
HRs — none.
Hits — Kenn: Stevenson, Edmiston, Lafontaine, Ridley, Stevens, Mattson; WW: Ephan 2, Woods 2, Bergevin 2, Hamada 2, McKenzie 2, Ko. Morris, Lawrence, Roa.
Stevens, Howard (2), Shelby (5) and Ridley; Hamada and Marks.
HRs — Ken: Stevens; WW: Ko. Morris.
Hits — Kenn: Stevenson 2, Higley, Lafontaine, Stevens; WW: Hamada 2, Ky. Morris, Ko. Morris 2, Marks, Richmond, Roa 2, Tiner.