Baseball: Driver leads Kennewick to sweep of Richland

April 18, 2014 

Mark Driver has had a busy week. The Kennewick senior pitched three innings of the opening game Tuesday against Pasco.

On Friday, he threw six solid innings, and the Lions used a four-run fourth inning to hand Richland a 7-3 loss in the first game of a Mid-Columbia Conference doubleheader at Bomber Field.

“I felt comfortable out there,” said Driver, who is 3-0 in MCC play. “It was good to extend myself, we don’t play against until next Friday. I have to give the Richland hitters credit, they battled through the lineup.”

The Lions completed the sweep, beating the Bombers 9-0 in the nightcap to remain atop the MCC standings with Walla Walla at 6-0.

“Our pitching was strong the last two weeks, but Kennewick is a solid team,” said Richland coach Grant Richardson. “They hit well and pitched well. The second game got out of hand and we couldn’t put the plug on the second inning. We had an inning here or there I would like to take back. We just got beat by a better team.”

Driver threw 80 pitches, striking out six and scattering four hits before yielding the mound to his younger brother Matt in the seventh.

“Credit to Mark,” Kennewick coach A.J. Marquardt said. “He had an efficient game Tuesday and he had a great start today. He has stepped up and grabbed the Game 1, No. 1 guy.”

The Bombers got on the board in the bottom of the first inning as Mitch Piper hit a line drive just past Mark Driver’s head to score courtesy runner McKlane Elgin from second base.

Quentin Lafontaine evened the score in the top of the second as his single to the right of first base took a fortuitous bounce and continued on into right field, allowing Larry DeWitt to score from second base.

After posting three strikeouts in the bottom of the second, the Bombers came back to add a run in the third. Stuart Moore reached on an error, went to second on yet another Lions miscue, and scored on a Piper double to left field to give Richland a 2-1 lead.

Then Kennewick laid the hammer down, scoring four runs on four hits to take a 5-2 lead.

Josh Kutzke, Dillon Plew and Steven Sordahl each had RBI singles, and Plew scored on a wild pitch as the Lions sent 10 men to the plate.

“That set our guys at ease,” Marquardt said of the fourth. “We have some guys who are new at the varsity level and we settled in on the defensive end. From that point on, we played a pretty clean game.”

Driver gave up one run on no hits to Richland in the bottom of the fourth, but that was all for the Bombers.

“The fourth inning helped the atmosphere,” Driver said. “A little breathing room always helps.”

Two additional runs in the fifth inning gave Kennewick a 7-3 lead.

In the second game, the Lions had a four-run second inning, and tacked on three in the fourth to pull away from the Bombers.

Dylan Wilbert went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs for Kennewick, while DeWitt went 4-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

Kennewick 010 420 0 — 7 11 3

Richland 101 100 0 — 3 4 1

Mark Driver, Matt Driver (7) and Wilbert; Cameron Jenkins, Brandon Humphrey (5), Matt Woodman (7) and Kjarmo. Highlights—Steven Sordahl (K) 3x4, 2 RBIs; Quentin Lafontaine (K) 2x4, RBI; Dillon Plew (K) 2x3, 2 RBIs; Mitch Piper (R) 2x3, 2B, 2 RBIs.

Kennewick 140 300 1 — 9 12 2

Richland 000 000 0 — 0 6 0

Colton Plew, Matt Driver (6) and Hancock; Connor Craig, Matt Woodman (3) and Kjarmo. Highlights—Wilbert (K) 2x4, 2B, 3 RBIs; L.DeWitt (K) 4x4, 2B, 2 RBIs; Hancock (K) 2B; C.Plew (K) 1x3, 2 RBIs; Lafontaine (K) 2B; Malik Sitler (K) 2x4, RBI; Stuart Moore (R) 2x4, 2B.

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