PASCO -- Turns out the best way to stop a red-hot baseball team in its tracks is to trot out an even hotter pitcher.
Make that an entire staff, and throw in some sure-handed defense for good measure.
That was the formula Columbia Basin used on a chilly Wednesday afternoon to not only stomp all over Yakima Valley's 15-game winning streak but also sweep the East Region leaders 10-3 and 4-2 at CBC.
Kody Young was a dropped underhand toss away from going the distance in the opener, and the Hawks stepped on nearly every threat the Yaks put together in the finale with great relief from the pen and big-time play in the field.
"We had to come out and get two (wins) no matter what," CBC second baseman Britt Hammer said. "It's crunch time. We're coming, and we're not leaving anything behind."
Indeed, while YVC (21-6, 15-3) still leads the Hawks (24-10, 14-4) by a game, CBC took three of four in the season series, leaving no question the road to the East Region title still goes through Pasco and the two-time defending champs.
Young got the Hawks off to a good start in the opener, carrying a three-hitter into the eighth and giving up a run in the fourth on a balk.
"As long as I start the game off well, it usually follows through the rest of the game," said Young, who signed last week to play at Division I Liberty University in Virginia. "And the guys were making plays behind me."
He got more than enough offense from No. 9 hitter Austin Say, whose two-run single powered a three-run fourth inning. Say also singled in two more runs during CBC's seven-run outburst in the fifth.
Young was on his way to his third complete game of the season until running into some trouble in the ninth, which was extended by a pair of walks and an error on an easy flip to second for what should've been a sure game-ending out.
Instead, Young's pitch count grew, and Michael Garza came in to nail down the final out.
There was no chance at a save for Garza in the opener, but the bullpen got a big one in the second game. Garza and Matt Minnich combined for 3 1/3 innings of strong relief, Minnich throwing a scoreless eighth and ninth for the save.
Mac Acker started and was wildly effective, working his way around six walks by only giving up three hits and one run. His best pitch was anything that resulted in a grounder, particularly to shortstop John Reilly who put on a clinic on how to charge in and throw to first on the run.
"We feel that with our pitching staff and our defense, we're never out of a game," said CBC catcher Cole McPherson, who turned in the big offensive punches with a two-run homer in the second and a hit-and-run single for another run in the fourth.
"That was a big hit-and-run because it opened things up," Hawks coach Steve Farrington said. "We got the third run, and then the push bunt from Say scores another, and now we can absorb a run or two."
Say's bunt gave him a fifth RBI on the day and meant the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters drove in all the runs in the finale.
"Coach Farrington always says, putting your team in motion makes you a better hitter because it opens up holes," McPherson said.
The Hawks don't have much time to enjoy their sweep, playing at Walla Walla (22-10, 12-6) on Saturday.
The top four teams in the East are separated by just four games.
Yakima Valley 000 100 002 -- 3 6 3
Columbia Basin 000 370 00x -- 10 10 2
Jake Fife, Nick Fowler (5) and William Chavarria; Kody Young, Michael Garza (9) and Cole McPherson. Highlights--Young (CBC) 8 2/3IP-6H-5K, Britt Hammer (CBC) 2B; Mac Acker (CBC) 2B, 2 RBI; Austin Say (CBC) 4 RBI.
Yakima Valley 001 000 100 -- 2 7 1
Columbia Basin 020 200 00x -- 4 8 0
Derek Welton, Brett Druffel (6) and Dusty Kerns; Acker, Garza (6), Matt Minnich( 8) and McPherson. Highlights--Roeman Fields (YVC) 2x5; Tyler Berman (YVC) 2x2, RBI; Hammer (CBC) 2x3, 2 SB, 2 BB; Alex Bushman (CBC) 2x4; McPherson (CBC) 3x4 HR, 3 RBI.
* Kevin Anthony: 509-582-1403; firstname.lastname@example.org