PASCO -- A week ago, the Columbia Basin College baseball team was in second place in the NWAACC East Region by three games and staring their toughest eighth-day stretch straight in the teeth.
Now, heading into today's doubleheader at home with Treasure Valley (1 p.m. first pitch), the Hawks have had smooth sailing through potentially stormy waters.
CBC has won seven straight and 12 of 13 coming off sweeps of fellow East heavies Yakima Valley and Walla Walla. The Hawks (26-10, 16-4) are tied with YVC (22-7, 16-4) atop the region with third-place Treasure Valley (30-5, 15-5) on tap.
A sweep today -- and that's a big if -- and the Hawks will have gone 6-0 against the other top three teams in the East during this dangerous stretch.
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But first they'll have to figure out how to slow down a Chukars team that, much like CBC, is pretty good at pretty much everything.
"They're a solid ballclub," Hawks coach Steve Farrington said. "Good team speed, they swing the bat, their pitching is pretty good."
Treasure Valley has four tough lefties at the top of their batting order, including sophomore outfielders Alex Barbee (.369) and Mike Turcotte (.359)
"They're almost lefty to a fault," said Farrington, noting that the Hawks have plenty of southpaw pitchers to counter, including starter Mac Acker (4-1, 1.69 ERA).
Acker still leads the team in batting with a .397 average, just seven points ahead of second baseman Britt Hammer.
The teams split their earlier meeting, with CBC handing the Chukars their first loss of the season, 7-6 in 16 innings.
In that game, the Hawks scored early on TVC ace Zach Fabricius (6-0, 1.37 ERA), then held on with nine different pitchers.
The Chukars, after a 19-0 start, reached 24-1 before falling on some inconsistent play and losing four out of six, including splits with Big Bend and Wenatchee Valley.
* Kevin Anthony: 509-582-1403; firstname.lastname@example.org