Columbia Basin College had a chance to pull within two games of East-leading Treasure Valley on Wednesday, but the Chukars used some timely hitting and creative baserunning to sweep the Hawks 6-5 and 11-5 in NWAACC East play in Pasco.
The Chukars, who have won seven in a row, lead the East at 17-5, while the Hawks dropped to 13-9.
In the opener, Treasure Valley scored the game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning to squeak past CBC.
The Chukars may have manufactured the run they needed for the win, but CBC coach Scott Rogers said the game was lost in the early innings.
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“The ninth didn’t lose us the game,” Rogers said. “What cost us the game was the two hit-by-pitches and two errors at second base — one that was mental. On the first one, they scored two. That’s three runs off the board and we win 5-2. Those runs shouldn’t have been there.”
But they were, and they put the Chukars in position to win their sixth game in a row.
Lane Lacrone led off the top of the ninth for the Chukars with a bunt. He advanced to second on a Brady Baker fielder’s choice, and ended up at third via a JD Larimer single.
Westin Hinkle’s bunt down the first-base line scored Lacrone for the go-head run.
Treasure Valley left-hander Cody Mathews got the first out in the bottom of the ninth, and Baker finished the inning.
The Hawks gave up six runs on 11 hits. Stetson Plew took the loss, throwing the final 31⁄3 innings, but the winning run was on his watch.
“We pitched good enough to win,” Rogers said. “It’s always a battle against a quality team. You can’t give them anything.”
In the second game, TVCC starter James McDonald, a 6-foot-8 right-hander from Nampa, Idaho, pitched five innings and allowed five runs on eight hits with four strikeouts, but when he left the Chukars had an 8-5 lead.
Both teams scored four runs in the first — TVCC’s all came with two outs — but the Chukars broke the game open with two runs in the second and three in the fourth, two off a Baker triple.
Of the Chukars’ 11 runs, six were scored with two outs.
CBC starter Ryker Ford lasted 11⁄3 innings, giving up six runs — all earned — on five hits.
Dalton Johnson went 3-for-5 for the Hawks, while Tucker Ibabao was 2-for-4 and Jordan Webb drove in two runs.
Treasure Valley 002 012 001 — 6 11 2
Columbia Basin 020 030 000 — 5 9 1
Adrian Martinez, Cody Mathews (6), Brady Bakers (9) and Colin Drury; Matt Peterson, JD Page (2), Stetson Plew (6) and Tucker Ibabao. Highlights—Daulton Blackwell (T) 2B, 2 RBIs; Brady Baker (T) 2B, 2 RBIs; Aaron Alexander (T) 2B; JD Larimer (T) 2x5, RBI; Chase Hernandez (T) 2x4; Kenton Brunson (C) 2B; Dalton Johnson (C) 2x5, RBI; Travis Key (C) 2x5, RBI.
Treasure Valley 420 030 001 — 11 13 3
Columbia Basin 400 100 000 — 5 9 4
James McDonald, RJ Rouse (6) and Drury and Spencer Pollock (7); Ryker Ford, Steven Danek (2), Chris Noonan (6), Nate Sorensen (7) and Tucker Ibabao. Highlights—Brady Baker (T) 3x5, 2 3B, 2B, 2 RBIs; Chase Hernandez (T) 2x4; Westin Hinkle (T) 2 RBIs; Matt Bryan (T) 2 RBIs; Dalton Johnson (C) 3x5; Tucker Ibabao (C) 2x4; Jordan Webb (C) 2 RBIs.