Something has to give this week in Mid-Columbia Conference baseball, with a pair of MCC unbeatens squaring off Friday while two other teams meet in search of their first league wins.
Also, could Pasco have picked a worse time to take on Southridge?
First, the haves
Richland pays a visit to Roy Johnson Field at 4 p.m. for a doubheader with Kennewick.
Both teams are 4-0 in league, though it’s the Lions who are drawing a ton of attention across the state and even at a national level.
Kennewick is 10-0 overall and ranked 42nd in the nation in the CBS MaxPreps Xcellent 50.
The Lions have scored 102 runs while giving up just 19. Their team batting average is .422, led by Ramon Gutierrez’s .591 and Trent Sellers .520. Sellers, just a sophomore, also has eight doubles, 16 RBIs and 15 runs scored. Three other players also are in double digits for driving in runs.
On the mound, Gerald Hein is 6-0 with a 0.75 ERA. Matt Driver and Tyler Sellers are each 2-0, and Fabian Green has been lights out in relief.
Richland may not be overwhelming all its opponents the way the Lions have, but the Bombers are coming off an impressive 3-0, 1-0 sweep of Southridge behind the impressive arms of Hunter French and Joel Meinert. The Bombers have thrown four shutouts in a row and five overall.
French (2-1) already has thrown 26 innings and has a miniscule ERA of 0.27. No. 2 starter Cameron Jenkins (1.34 ERA) and Meinert (1.50) also have been tough to score on.
At the plate, Griffey March has an OPS of 1.321 and Casey Perryman 1.066 to spark the offense.
Richland coach Grant Richardson said he knew this week would likely be a tough one when he first eyed the schedule, facing both Southridge and Kamiakin.
“You’re not always sure who is going to be good, but we had a pretty good idea Southridge and Kennewick would be good,” he said. “And then, ‘Oh man, that’s coming right after spring break.’ ”
Have not won
On the other side of the coin, Hanford entertains Chiawana with a pair at Waits Field, starting at 4 p.m. Both teams are searching for their first MCC wins.
The Falcons were hitting .300 as a team coming into the week, with Brian Sands leading the way at .367 and Parker Darnell at .350.
However, Hanford has not been able to pull out the close games, with all four of their league losses coming by a single run. They were swept at Walla Walla on Tuesday on a pair of walk-off losses.
Chiawana, meanwhile, has been outscored 55-8 in four MCC games. Of course, those four were against big-hitting Kennewick and Southridge.
It’s a far cry from the 5-0-1 start to the season.
Bad Sun rising
Last time Southridge lost, the Suns came back and walloped Chiawana 10-0 and 17-7.
So how mad will they be after getting swept by Richland? Pasco is about to find out with a 4 p.m. doubleheader at Southridge.
The Bulldogs won two of their first four nonleague games, but it has been tough sledding since, including losing by a combined 32-5 to Kamiakin on Tuesday coming off 13-0 and 3-0 shutouts to Richland last week.
Walla Walla and Kamiakin start their doubleheader at 2 p.m. at LaPierre Field.
The Braves are the third team to get off to a 4-0 start in league, while Wa-Hi is 2-2. The Blue Devils are accustomed to close games, with those walk-off wins over Hanford as well as a 5-3 loss to Kennewick on April 1.
Kamiakin has been steady on the mound and getting clutch hits, going 4-1 in games decided by three or fewer runs.
Kevin Anthony: 509-582-1403