Walla Walla sophomore ace Ryan Kimball overcame a shaky start to pitch six solid innings Saturday and lead the Blue Devils baseball team to a 9-8 victory over Richland High to win the Class 4A District 5 title at Murr Field.
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 9-2 lead, as Anders Davidson and Blake McKinney banged out three hits each.
The Bombers rallied in the seventh, though, scoring six runs to nearly complete a furious rally.
“Our guys today, they never gave up,” Richland coach Grant Richardson said. “We had Walla Walla pretty nervous, but you can’t wait so long to do that. You have to have that kind of intensity from the first inning on.”
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In the inning, Mitch Piper hit a two-run double and a two runs came across on wild pitches to make it 9-6. After two outs, Garrett March singled, Griffey March walked and Mason Nelson and Stuart Moore delivered run-scoring singles to make it 9-8. Tyler Kjarmo then hit a ball to left center, which was tracked down by Walla Walla’s Reid Magnaghi for the final out.
Walla Walla will face the Greater Spokane League’s No. 1 seed in the District 5/8 championship game next Saturday at a time and location to be determined. The winner of that earns a state playoff berth. Richland will face the GSL’s No. 2 seed in an elimination game.
In the first game Saturday, Richland ace Gibson McGeorge was so sick from the flu that his coach didn’t even know if he would make it off the bus for the team’s elimination game against Chiawana.
But McGeorge — who vomited a few times on the ride over — dug deep and threw six solid innings and went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to help the Bombers rally past Chiawana 7-6.
“You are kind of going, ‘uh, oh,’ but he manned up and had a heck of a day,” Richardson said. “That dehydration got to him a bit in that seventh inning. But he gave us a great shot to win after I didn’t think he would be able to step off the bus.”
Chiawana scored twice in the seventh to send the game to extra innings and added three more in the eighth to put the Bombers on the brink of elimination.
But Richland got four consecutive hits in its half of the eighth, scoring four runs to eliminate the Riverhawks.
Piper had the game-winner on a groundball to first, scoring Moore.
Richland 7, Chiawana 6
Chiawana 001 000 23 — 6 5 3
Richland 030 000 04 — 7 8 6
Hrai, Bennion (3), Varagas (8) and Graff. Gibson McGeorge, Cameron Jenkins (7), Connor Craig (8) and Tyler Kjarmo. Highlights—Chi: Hrai 2-3; Miles 2B. Rich: Griffey March 2-4, Stuart Moore 3-4; McGeorge 2 RBIs.
Walla Walla 9, Richland 8
Richland 200 000 6 — 8 8 3
Walla Walla 400 122 x — 9 13 4
Jenkins, French (1), Guffey (5), Craig (5) and Kjarmo. Kimball, Zehner (7) and Watilo. Highlights—Rich: Garrett March 4-4; Mitch Piper 2B. WW: Davidson 3 hits, McKinney 3 hits.
Waitsburg-Prescott 3-1, Asotin 1-4: Talen Larsen earned his fifth win of the season as the host Cardinals split a Southeast 2B doubleheader with the Panthers.
The split means Waitsburg-Prescott (10-10 overall, 7-5 league) falls to the No. 4 seed and will host Dayton at 4 p.m. Tuesday in an elimination game.
Asotin 000 010 0 — 1 5 5
Waitsburg-Prescott 110 100 x — 3 6 2
Trimmell and Schaefar. Larsen and Dunn. Highlights—WP: Talen Larsen 5 W, Kyle Gradwohl 3-4, 2 2Bs.
Asotin 000 040 0 — 4 6 2
Waitsburg-Prescott 000 100 0 — 1 8 3
Loseth and Schaefar. Dunn, Gradwohl (7) and Leroue, Dunn (7). Highlights—WP: Gradwohl 2-4, RBI; Chad Pearson 2-4.
Tri-Cities Prep 12-10, Tekoa-Oakesdale/Garfield-Palouse 1-0: Isaac Nelson went 5-for-5 on the day with a double, leading the Jaguars to a sweep of Tekoa-Oakesdale-Garfield-Palouse in the final 2B regular-season doubleheader in Pasco.
Nelson also pitched the first game, striking out eight in five innings.
In the second game, Trevor Stets pitched the full five innings for TCP (7-5, 11-9), striking out four and allowing one hit.
The Jaguars will host a loser-out game Tuesday against Tekoa-Oakesdale-Garfield-Palouse.
TOGP 000 010 0 — 1 4 4
Tri-Cities Prep 201 006 3 — 12 9 2
Two outs when winning run scoredWolteing and Lopez; Isaac Nelson, Phillip Geist (6) and Sam Harlow. Highlights—TCP: Nelson 8K, 3x3, 2B; Geist 2x2, 2 2B; John Zilar 2x4, 2B; Jacob Amado 2x3.
TOGP 000 00 — 0 1 7
Tri-Cities Prep 300 16 — 10 11 1
Two outs when winning run scoredLopez and Griner; Trevor Stets and Harlow. Highlights—TCP: Stets 4K; Nelson 2x2; Zilar 2x4; Trent Mercado 2x4, 2 RBIs; Harlow 2x4, 3B, RBI.