Steven Sordahl’s grandpa has called him Joe since before could walk. The nickname is in reference to boxer Joe Frazier, who like Sordahl, would get up every time he got knocked down.
Saturday, after Kennewick saw its 4-0 lead evaporate and Mt. Spokane tie the game in the seventh inning, Sordahl picked up his bat in the bottom of the 10th inning and went to work.
Sordahl lined a triple to the gap in right-center, followed by JJ Hancock, who blasted a walk-off home run over the right-field fence to lead the Lions to a 6-4 victory and their second consecutive District 5/8 title at Roy Johnson Field.
“We had to make the adjustment from a guy (Drew Rasmussen) who threw fastballs and a slider,” Sordahl said of getting his timing down on Wildcats reliever Blake Macdonald. “We made the adjustment, but it took a bit to gets the bats going.”
With Sordahl safely on third base and Hancock at the plate, Mt. Spokane pulled its left fielder for an extra infielder. Sordahl said he didn’t know that to think of that move. All he could think about was Hancock putting the ball in play to send him home.
Hancock drove a 2-0 pitch over the fence for his ninth homer of the season.
“At the time, I knew it was a done deal either way,” Hancock said of his hit. “I knew Steve would get in.”
The Lions (22-1) and Wildcats (18-5) advance to the first round of state next Saturday at Richland High School, and were later joined by Hanford as the No, 3 seed after a 12-1 victory over Shadle Park.
“It is not the nature of our team to pack it in,” said Kennewick coach A.J. Marquart. “It was a great battle by both teams. It was exciting for the fans. Everybody will remember JJ’s walk-off, but the key hit was Stevie’s triple.”
The Wildcats started Rasmussen, who threw a fastball unlike anything Kennewick had seen this season, but Lions jumped him from the get-go, stringing together three hits for three runs in the first inning, including an RBI-triple by Hancock.
“He was good,” Marquardt said. “It was good for us to jump on him early before he settled in. He was bringing it.”
Rasmussen kept the Lions quiet in the second, third and fourth, but come the fifth, Kennewick pushed its lead to 4-0 as Malik Sitler drove in a run.
Kennewick starter Colton Plew did not allow a hit until the fifth inning, and left with two outs in the sixth inning with a 4-1 lead. The second out of the inning came as Macdonald tried to score on a single by Jake Leavey, but was thrown out at the plate by Hancock from right field.
“That was a massive play,” Marquardt said. “The throw was on the button and (catcher) Dylan (Wilbert) did a good job staying with it.”
Reliever Mark Driver struggled in the seventh, giving up three runs on three hits as the Wildcats pulled even.
Driver settled in over the next three innings, picking up the win.
Kennewick opened play Saturday with a 3-2 victory over Shadle Park as Wilbert’s bases-loaded double in the third inning was all the Lions needed.
Matt Driver pitched a complete game, scattering five hits.
Mt. Spokane 000 001 300 0 — 4 8 2
Kennewick 300 010 000 2 — 6 11 3
No outs when winning run scored
Drew Rasmussen, Blake Macdonald (8) and Jake Leavey; Colton Plew, Mark Driver (6) and Dylan Wilbert. Highlights—Tyler Bailey (M) 2x3; Jordan Fitzpatrick (M) 2B, RBI; Sordahl (K) 3x5, 2B, 3B; Hancock (K) 2x5, 3B, HR, 3 RBIs; Dillon Plew (K) 2x4, RBI.
Shadle Park 100 010 0 — 2 5 0
Kennewick 003 000 0 — 3 4 4
Matt Keenan, Seth Bilesky (6) and Johnny Krupla; Mark Driver and Wilbert. Highlights—Nguyen (S) 2x4; Wilbert (K) 2B 3 RBIs.
Hanford earns No. 3 seed: Aaron Enderlin went 2-for-3 with two doubles and drove in five runs to lead the Falcons to a 12-1 victory over Shadle Park (15-8) to earn the No. 3 seed to the state playoffs next week.
Hanford (19-4) scored two runs in the first inning off Enderlin’s first double, then hung 10 runs on the board in the third inning, sending 14 men to the plate for a 12-0 lead.
In the scoring frenzy, Brady Heid had a two-run triple and Enderlin a three-run double. The Falcons also took advantage of six walks and one hit batter.
In their opener, the Falcons dropped a 4-3 game to Mt. Spokane as Rasmussen’s RBI-single in the bottom of the seventh pushed the winning run across the plate.
Isaac Benard had a solo home run in the sixth inning for Hanford, while Enderlin went 2-for-3 with a double.
Hanford 011 010 0 — 3 8 3
Mt. Spokane 200 001 1 — 4 9 1
Cooper Smith, Macdonald (6) and Leavey; Jacob Anderson and Aaron Enderlin. Highlights—Benard (H) HR, RBI; Enderlin (H) 2x3, 2B; Rasmussen (M) 2x4, RBI; Leavey (M) 2B; Macdonald (M) 3B; Smith (M) 2x3.
Hanford 2(10)0 00 — 12 9 1
Shadle Park 000 00 — 1 3 0
Nate Mitchell, Sawyer Henry (5) and Enderlin; Dylan Greenwald, Johnny Krupla (3), Kodee Reindau (3), Payton Macklin (4) and Brett Rypien. Highlights—Anthony Porcaro (H) 2x2; Brady Heid (H) 3B, 3 RBIs; Enderlin (H) 2x3, 2 2B, 5 RBIs; Jamie Hopp (H) 2x3, 2B, 2 RBIs; Rypien (S) 2B.