KENNEWICK -- Just a couple of games into the season and their No. 1 arms nowhere near taking the mound, and still the Hanford Falcons and Kennewick Lions couldn't avoid the late-inning drama Friday evening.
Colin Serkowski and Trevor Jones each delivered bases-loaded singles in the ninth, and Erin Braich closed the door with three scoreless innings of relief in the Falcons' 9-6 win over the Lions at Roy Johnson Field.
Kennewick came back to take a 5-4 win in the nightcap. Garrett Wilz and Steven Sordahl each got two-run hits to power a five-run third inning in the nonleague doubleheader, a repeat of last year's twinbill when the CBBN 3A foes both had open dates for nonleaguers.
"You're not going to do any better (for) nonleague (competition)," said Hanford coach Tom DeWitz, whose team swept a pair from Richland on Tuesday and is off to a 5-1 start.
"It is big -- I don't know the last time we swept them," Falcons second baseman Ryan Neal said of taking two off the Bombers, who have reach the state semifinals five years running and six out of the last seven seasons.
Serkowski plated the game-winner in the opener with a single to center after Hanford loaded the bases with no out in the ninth. Neal singled to start the frame. The Lions (2-1) then helped out with their only error of the game and failed to get an out on a sacrifice bunt, setting the stage for Serkowski and then Jones, whose single to left brought in two runs for plenty of insurance.
"I've always considered us comeback kids," Neal said. "Nothing's going to keep us down."
Braich induced a trio of easy grounders for a 1-2-3 finish of the Lions. He set down the last five he faced, getting two big strikeouts with a runner at second and one out in the eighth.
That was a common theme for Kennewick, which stranded 10 runners -- nine of them in scoring position.
"It's easy to say it's early -- just our second game out of the gate," Lions coach A.J. Marquardt said. "We did a nice job getting the table set, we just didn't clear the table."
Still, Marquardt added, getting those key hits is not a concern, not with a loaded lineup that includes five guys who hit .400 or better last season, including shortstop Trek Stemp, a two-time league player of the year.
Likewise, DeWitz wasn't overly concerned with Hanford's six errors in the first game.
"We had a couple of errors that were sloppy -- not having your head in the game," he said. "But we have a solid defense. That's not typical."
And it was balanced by a pair of double plays, one started with A.J. Hoskins' diving stab at short.
Both teams got some outstanding relief pitching. Braich came through for the Falcons following a solid start from Jacob Browne -- no earned runs over four innings.
Ditto for Kennewick sophomore Colton Plew, who came in after Hanford scored five runs in the second and allowed just one more over five innings in his first varsity outing.
Cody Kowalski finished 5-for-9 on the day for the Falcons; Stemp went 4-for-8 for the Lions.
Hanford 051 000 003 -- 9 12 6
Kennewick 201 003 000 -- 6 8 1
Jacob Browne, Trevor Jones (5), Erin Braich (7) and Tyler Steckler; Jordan Higley, Colton Plew (3), Kaden Julian (8), Jarod Gonzales (9) and Garrett Wilz. Highlights--Ryan Neal (H) 3x5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, R; Colin Serkowski (H) 2x4, 2B, RBI, 2R, BB; Jones (H) 1x3, SF, BB, 3 RBI; Steckler (H) 2x5; Cody Kowalski (H) 3x3, RBI, R; Jalen DeVine (H) 2B; Trek Stemp (K) 2x4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, SB, R; Oscar Ramos (K) 2x4, R, 2 SB; Clayten Ayres (K) 2x5, R.
Hanford 002 110 0 -- 4 8 1
Kennewick 005 000 x -- 5 5 0
Kyle LaFon, Jordan Burge (4), DeVine (6) and Browne; Ethyn Langlois, Marquez Johnson (3), Wilz (6) and Justin Hancock. Highlights--Finn McMichael (H) 2x4; A.J. Hoskins (H) 2B; Kowalski (H) 2x4; Stemp (K) 2x4; Wilz (K) 2 RBI; Steven Sordahl (K) 2-RBI 2B.