Good pitching, good defense. Minimize your mistakes, and take advantage of your opponents' miscues.
If there were an "Art of War" for baseball, that would be Chapter 1, and never more so than in the playoffs.
The Richland Bombers played plenty of good defense Tuesday and got more than enough good pitching from Syd Hall, who twirled a no-hit gem to lead his team to a 7-0 win over Davis in the first day of the CBBN 4A district tournament.
"It's not all about home runs, about hitting it over the fence," said Hall, who struck out six, walked three and hit one batter in facing one over the minimum. "A couple of good bunts, play some small ball, play some defense and you win games."
The victory sends the Bombers (16-5) into Saturday's championship game in Walla Walla against Moses Lake (9-13), which beat Chiawana 12-6 in a loser-out game and knocked off league champion Walla Walla 3-2.
Wa-Hi (15-6) and Davis (12-10) will play a loser-out game Saturday morning.
Both the Richland and Davis starters were working at a quick pace. Trenton Dupree held the Bombers to one hit before being lifted after five innings with his team down 4-0.
The difference to that point was defense.
The Pirates, who beat Wenatchee 12-9 in an earlier loser-out game, failed to make two routine plays in the third inning that led to four unearned runs.
The first error came when a runner flashed in front of the shortstop, and the ball climbed up his arm and got past to score a run.
With the bases still loaded, Cody Poznanski hit a hopper down to third, but the throw across the infield went wide of first and turned into a three-run error.
That four-run hole was more than deep enough for Hall to bury the Pirates, who could not figure out his curveball and routinely chased the count.
"My curveball worked really good today," said Hall, who threw his second no-hitter of the season and only got back on the mound last summer after having arm troubles when he was younger. "All my teammates were coming up and telling me: 'Your curveball is dealing real well. It's breaking off the table.' "
The support from his teammates wasn't just verbal. The Bombers turned two double plays. And in Davis' next at-bat after giving up those four unearned runs, center fielder Zach Rapacz made a brilliant play to track a screamer to dead center that would have gone for a leadoff double at least.
"Zach made two running plays out there in center field, and those were the only two hard-hit balls all day," said Richland coach Ben Jacobs, praising his team's play as well as the pace of a game that concluded in less than 90 minutes.
"It was clean," he said, "and when it's clean like that, everybody goes home happy."
w Kevin Anthony: 582-1403; firstname.lastname@example.org