SELAH — The Kennewick Bandits’ bid to represent the state of Washington at the Senior Legion regional tournament ended Wednesday.
A couple of miscues and some uneven offensive play cost the Bandits in an 8-5 loss to Lakeside Recovery at Carlon Park in the state title game.
“When it comes down to it, they made the plays when they had to, and we didn’t make the plays when we had to,” Bandits coach Bryan Winston said. “The hottest team won. They are a phenomenal ballclub with a lot of talent and will represent the state of Washington well.”
Lakeside moves on to the regional tournament Aug. 8-13 in Billings, Mont.
On Wednesday, it took advantage of a shaky Conner O’Neil on the mound and some poor Kennewick defense.
“It’s disappointing,” Trek Stemp said of the loss. “To have fought this hard and to come this far, and now this is the end and we’re going off to school.”
Many of the Bandits have played together for years, and the loss marked the end of that run, as they will head to college later this month.
“It’s a frustrating loss, but an extremely well-played summer and a great group of kids,” Winston said. “I’m not frustrated with the effort at all.”
Four of the game’s first five hitters singled for Lakeside, driving in two runs. An error by Brandon Pocasangre on a force attempt at second base allowed another run to score.
Lakeside added a run in the second thanks to a one-out walk, back-to-back singles to load the bases and Jimmy Sinatro beating out a potential double-play ball.
The Bandits found themselves down 4-0 after two innings, but they have trailed many times this season and showed their ability to rally.
Jared Newbry and Matt Mendenhall each had an RBI double in the third, but Jarod Gonzales was thrown out at the plate trying to score.
Lakeside seemed to put the game away in the fifth. Two runs scored on an error by Cole Henderson, who charged a grounder, only to have it get by him into the outfield for a 7-2 lead.
But the Bandits clawed back into it yet again, bringing the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning.
Gonzales doubled, Mendenhall walked, and Clayten Ayres doubled them home to make it 7-4.
After a strikeout and a flyout, pinch-hitter Garrett Wilz hit an RBI double to make it 7-5.
But reliever Clayton Huber then struck out Henderson to end the eighth.
In the ninth, Newbry doubled with one out, but Lakeside Recovery didn’t allow anything else.
Lakeside starter Brandon Mahovlich gave the Bandits problems throughout, allowing four runs on five hits with four strikeouts in seven-plus innings.
“He was effectively wild,” Winston said. “Up and down, in and out. We chased pitches that were out of the zone. We had chances to beat them, but they made the plays.”
Newbry led the offense, finishing 2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI. Gonzales was 1-for-3 with a double and two walks, Mendenhall was 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI and two walks, and Ayres was 1-for-4 with a two-run double.
O’Neil allowed seven runs -- four earned -- on 10 hits in five innings to take the loss.
Catcher Dylan Maurer was named the defensive MVP of the tournament after the game. Lakeside’s Sinatro was the offensive MVP.
Kennewick Bandits 002 000 030 -- 5 9 3
Lakeside Recovery 310 120 01x -- 8 12 0Conner O’Neil, Clayten Ayres (6) and Dylan Maurer, Garrett Wilz (8). Brandon Mahovlich, Drew Lunde (8), Clayton Huber (8) and Jimmy Sinatro. Highlights--Bandits: Trek Stemp 2x5; Jared Newbry 2x5, 2 2Bs, RBI; Jarod Gonzales 1x3, 2B, 2 BB; Matt Mendenhall 1x3, 2B, RBI, 2 BB; Clayten Ayres 1x4, 2B, 2 RBIs.