Pitching and defense.
Have it, and the game of baseball seems to come pretty easy. Don’t, and a tough matchup becomes almost impossible.
The Twin City Titans played precision ball Wednesday evening at Pasco High School, taking away runs instead of giving away extra bases, and rolled to 10-1 and 11-1 wins over the Pasco Sun Devils to complete a four-game sweep of their home-and-home twinbills in Senior American Legion play.
The Titans improved to 5-2 in the Central Washington League, while the Sun Devils fell to 0-4.
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“We just played our game -- take care of the bats and swing away,” said Twin City’s Mason Hilty, who tossed a five-hit complete game in the opener and had two hits, including a double, in the finale.
Twin City’s Corey Morris threw an abbreviated complete game in the nightcap, shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule.
Both pitchers benefited from sharp defense. Center fielder Jesse Houser twice gunned down Pasco’s Anthony Hinkson trying to stretch a double into a triple in the opener. In Game 2, Andrew Castillo, playing in center, doubled up a runner at first base in the fifth inning.
“It lets you just put the ball in play,” Morris said.
Hilty walked none and struck out six in his outing, while Morris struck out three and walked two. The Titans committed one error all day.
On the other side, Pasco walked 14 batters, hit four more and made five errors.
“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” said Sun Devils coach Jordan Merry, noting that Pasco out-hit Twin City in a 9-7 loss the previous day.
“We’re a good team, and we smash the ball. Yesterday we beat ’em 11 hits to five hits. You should beat a team when you dominate in hits, but we shot ourselves in the foot.”
Free bases and extra outs aided the Titans in their big innings Wednesday. They set the table for Drew Oord’s two-run triple in the sixth inning of the opener that put the game out of reach.
They also added fodder for an eight-run second inning that snatched all the drama from the second game. Houser’s two-run double and Colton Shelby’s two-run triple were the big blows in that frame.
Perhaps the Titans’ precise play was made more impressive by coming in a nondescript early-season summer pair less than three weeks after the two schools that feed the program (Kamiakin and Richland) celebrated the Braves’ Class 3A state title and the Bombers’ Class 4A third-place trophy.
“It’s different, but it’s still baseball,” Houser said. “We just come out and play our best.”
Twin City 300 203 2 — 10 9 1
Pasco 001 000 0 — 1 5 2
Mason Hilty and Tori Weitz; Casey Slack, Oscar Ramos (6) and Garrett Weiss. Highlights—Corey Morris (TC) 3 BB, 1 HBP, 3R; Nate Ruane (TC) 2x4, 2R; Jesse Houser (TC) 2x4, 2 RBIs; Drew Oord (TC) 2-R 3B; Johnny Jansen (TC) 2x4, SB; Hilty (TC) 7IP-5H-1ER-0BB-6K; Anthony Hinkson (P) 2 2Bs.
Twin City 380 00 — 11 11 0
Pasco 001 00 — 1 5 3
Morris and Ty Earley; TJ Avery, Vince Gonzalez (2) and Jimmy Landefeld. Highlights—Ruane (TC) 2x4, RBI, 2R; Hilty (TC) 2x3, 2B, R; Houser (TC) 2B, 2 RBIs, 2R; Andrew Castillo (TC) 3x4, 2 RBIs, 2R; Jansen (TC) 2B, RBI; Colton Shelby (TC) 3B; Morris (TC) 5IP-5H-1ER-2BB-3K; Jesse Briones (P) 2x3, SB, R; Ramos (P) RBI 3B.