Before Saturday, Kentridge’s Zach Beatty had never heard of Richland. He didn’t even know where it was.
After Beatty hit a second-inning grand slam and pitched the final 2 2/3 innings to lead the Chargers to a 10-8 victory over the Richland in the first round of the 4A state tournament, the Bombers certainly know who he is.
“It was a funny ballgame,” said Richland coach Grant Richardson, whose team trailed 8-4 after two innings. “We caught some breaks, but we just came up a couple of runs short. I’m proud of the guys, they showed a lot of heart coming back.”
The Bombers finished their season at 16-7 but saw the program’s string of six consecutive trips to the semifinals come to an end.
The Chargers advanced to play Cascade (20-8) — a 2-0 winner over Wenatchee in the first game — for the lone berth to state.
Kentridge (19-8), behind two home runs by Dumit Malacon, beat Cascade 6-1 in the final game to earn a spot in the Final Four next weekend at Gesa Stadium in Pasco.
Richland got off to a good start Saturday. Mason Hilty faced just three batters to open the game, and the Bombers gave him run support in the bottom of the inning, picking up a pair of runs.
Kentridge starter Jeremy Rabauliman, who came into the game with an impressive resumé, hit the first two batters he faced. Gibson McGeorge and Hunter Chambers drove in runs for the 2-0 lead.
An inconsistent strike zone and timely hitting helped the Chargers hang eight runs on the board in the second.
After Hilty issued two bases-loaded walks and Andrew Barrera drove in a run with a single to right field, Beatty drove the first pitch he saw over the left-field fence for an 8-2 lead.
“I figured with the bases loaded they had to throw me something good,” Beatty said. “I liked the pitch and unloaded on it.”
The Bombers got two runs back in the bottom of the inning — both on bases-loaded walks — which ended Rabauliman’s day.
Kentridge scored a run in the third for a 9-4 lead, but the Bombers got the run back in the bottom half with a sacrifice fly by Jalen Fields.
The Bombers held the Chargers scoreless in the fourth, then tacked on two runs in the bottom half to pull within 9-7.
Chambers and Tyler Kjarmo each drove in runs, and Richland had the bases loaded for Fields, who flew out to right field.
Kentridge picked up its final run in the bottom of the fifth as Chris Torlai scored on a wild pitch.
Richland catcher Kjarmo chased down the ball and got it back to pitcher Nate Ruane, who made a diving tag, but the plate umpire, who took a couple of seconds make the call, said Torlai was safe.
McGeorge drove in a run in the bottom of the fifth, and the Bombers were poised to added a couple more in the sixth with runners on second and third and two outs.Ruane lofted a ball to right field, which was fielded by Isaiah Terry.
“If that ball was 10 feet to the right or 10 feet to the left, it’s a tie ballgame,” Richardson said. “With this wind, weird things are going to happen. No game is defined by one hit or one pitch. We play seven innings for a reason.”
The teams combined for five hit batters and 14 walks as the pitchers were unable to get a feel for the strike zone.
“Both teams had to play with the same conditions and same calls,” Kentridge coach John Flanigan said. “Both had to be mentally tough. You can’t worry about the wind or the guy calling the game.”
Kentridge 081 010 0 — 10 8 2
Richland 221 210 0 — 8 7 2
Jeremy Rabauliman, Daniel Torlai (2), Zach Beatty (5) and Shane Stober; Mason Hilty, AJ Shaw (3), Nate Ruane (5) and Tyler Kjarmo. Highlights—Beatty (K) 1x3, HR, 4 RBIs; Travis McGuire (K) 2B; Chris Torlai (K) 2 RBIs; Hilty (R) 2x4, 2B, RBI; Hunter Chambers (R) 2x4, 2 RBIs; Kjarmo (R) 2x4, 2B, RBI; Gibson McGeorge (R) 3 RBIs.
Cascade 2, Wenatchee 0: KJ Brady hit a solo home run in the third inning and Ky Dye pitched a complete game as Cascade (20-7) edged Wenatchee (19-4) in a loser-out game.
Wenatchee pitcher Dustin Driver, who has signed to play for UCLA, went five innings with six strikeouts.
Cascade 001 001 0 — 2 5 0
Wenatchee 000 000 0 — 0 3 1
Ky Dye and Michael Mazza; Dustin Driver, Grady Miller (6), Adam Grubb (7) and Drew Holmberg. Highlights—KJ Brady (C) HR; Mazza (C) 2B; Dye (C) 5K, 1BB; Driver (W) 6K.
Kentridge 6, Cascade 1: Dumit Malacon hit a solo home run in the fifth inning and added a two-run shot in the sixth as Kentridge picked up the lone berth to the 4A state tournament.
Sam Dacus pitched a complete game one-hitter, and Joe Wainhouse and Joel Condreay each hit a double for the Chargers.
Cascade 100 000 0 — 1 1 1
Kentridge 000 114 x — 6 10 3
KJ Brady and Mazza; Sam Dacus and Stober. Highlights—Dumit Malacon (K) 2x2, 2 HR, 3 RBIs; Joe Wainhouse (K) 2x3, 2B; Joel Condreay (K) 1x3, 2B, RBI.