PASCO — Baseball 101 says that good pitching beats good hitting.
If that diamond mantra holds true, then perhaps the Columbia Basin Hawks will be the ones to finally derail the Yakima Valley express.
After all, CBC was the last team to beat the Yaks, who ride into Pasco for today's doubleheader (1 p.m. first pitch) on a 15-game winning streak.
"This is the best time to play them, when they think they're pretty good," said Hawks coach Steve Farrington, whose club is 12-4 (22-10 overall) and in second place in the NWAACC East, three games back of YVC (15-1, 21-4).
"Everything they've done has been successful -- they've rallied from behind four or five times during that stretch, and they've buried people, too. They can swing it."
Indeed they can.
Yakima Valley, ranked second in the NWAACC poll and seventh in the ABCA Pacific Division poll, has scored eight or more runs in nine of their 15 consecutive wins, dating back CBC's 17-4 rout of the Yaks in both teams' East opener.
They have eight batters hitting better than .300, led by a couple of home-grown products -- Selah outfielder Trevor Dallman (.370, 9 RBIs) and Eisenhower infielder Tyler Berman (.368, 16 RBIs).
Also, center fielder Roeman Fields not only is hitting .353, but has enough speed to score from second base on a fly ball, as he did against Walla Walla last week.
But the Yaks aren't all stick, no pitch. They've held teams to less than 4 runs a game during their winning streak, with another Selah product, Jake Fife, their top arm (3-0, 1.69 ERA, 41K, 32IP).
CBC will counter with a treasure trove of arms that have helped the Hawks win eight of their last nine. Farrington has sent as many as 12 pitchers in a week out to the hill, and the team has a staff ERA of 2.25.
"I think we've been in the hunt because we can pitch," Farrington said. "Pitching gives you a chance, puts you in position to win every game. Then it's about minimizing the damage defensively and being able to manufacture some runs."
The Hawks have gotten consistently good starts from all four starters -- Kody Young, Taylor Nicholson, Arturo Reyes and McKenzie Acker, all of whom have an ERA under 2.
Young in particular has been tough, with a 1.18 ERA and 44 strikeouts against just 13 walks in 45 2/3 innings.
"He's been able to throw more than one pitch for a strike," Farrington said of the sophomore from Kamiakin. "That gives him the ability to pitch from behind in the count, ahead of the count, gives us a chance to slow down the running game."
If CBC has had one problem, it's been that it has had to manufacture runs. Acker, re-learning the outfield after strictly pitching in high school and at CBC as a freshman, leads the team in hitting at .392 and is at or near the top in most all offensive categories. Former Kamiakin standout Britt Hammer is hitting .358 and is tops in RBIs (24).
However, they are the only Hawks hitting better than .300, and the team's batting average of .277 is solid, but not great.
"All we need is one more than the other guy," Farrington pointed out. "That's what we play for. That's probably for me, as long as we have a chance to win every ballgame, where we want to be."