After a 10-day break from the rigors of a league schedule, Mid-Columbia baseball teams jump back into action today with a full slate of doubleheaders.
Chiawana plays at Southridge, Kamiakin at Richland, Kennewick at Pasco and Walla Walla at Hanford, all with 4 p.m. starts.
It is the start of a big week for Richland (9-1, 4-0 MCC), with the reigning Class 3A state champion Braves (3-5, 0-2) followed by perennial contender Kennewick (6-2, 2-0) on Friday at Roy Johnson Field. The Bombers and Lions played earlier this year, a 6-4 nonleague win for Richland.
“The guys are ready to go after that week off,” said Bombers coach Grant Richardson. “They’re hungry to get back on the field.” Richardson, in his first year at the helm, inherited a veteran team with a deep pitching staff. Still, he is impressed with how much they have improved since the beginning of the season.
“We made a lot of errors early in the year, and we’ve cleaned that up a lot,” he said. “The hitting has gotten better, the pitching has gotten better. We’re on a climb of steady improvement.”
Hanford coach Tom DeWitz would like to see some steady improvement from his green pitching staff, though that can be a lot to ask in hitter-friendly Waits Field.
No. 1 starter Jalen DeVine is 3-1, the rest of the staff 0-4.
“We’ve got to find a No. 2,” DeWitz said. “Defensively, I feel like we’re solid. ... We got guys that can swing it. We scored a lot of runs the other night against Southridge, but we left a lot of people on base.”
Junior outfielder Isaac Benard is putting together a monster year, hitting .500 (13-for-26) with five doubles, three home runs, 14 RBIs and 13 runs scored. Of the 58 runs scored by the Falcons (3-5, 0-2), Benard has had a hand in 27 of them.
“He’s doing a lot of good things for us,” DeWitz said. “We need to get some other guys doing some things.”
After Walla Walla (3-6, 1-3), Hanford plays at Chiawana (6-4, 3-1) on Friday. Southridge (6-2, 2-0) follows Chiawana with a pair at home against Pasco (5-5, 0-4) on Friday.
Richland 4-0 9-1
Kennewick 2-0 6-2
Southridge 2-0 6-2
Chiawana 3-1 6-4
Walla Walla 1-3 3-6
Kamiakin 0-2 3-5
Hanford 0-2 3-5
Pasco 0-4 5-5
Chiawana at Southridge (2), 4 p.m.
Kamiakin at Richland (2), 4 p.m.
Kennewick at Pasco (2), 4 p.m.
Walla Walla at Hanford (2), 4 p.m.
Hanford at Chiawana (2), 4 p.m.
Kamiakin at Walla Walla (2), 2 p.m.
Pasco at Southridge (2), 4 p.m.
Richland at Kennewick (2), 4 p.m.