The Kennewick Lions opened the Mid-Columbia Conference season with a sweep of Kamiakin, but it was anything but pretty.
The Lions used a four-run first inning to beat the Braves 5-2 in the opener, then had to rally for run in the bottom of the sixth to win the nightcap 7-6 at Roy Johnson Field.
“(David Marshall) had control problems early and that allowed us to put up a crooked number in the first,” Kennewick coach A.J. Marquardt said of the first game. David is quality starter and when we got an opportunity early, we were fortunate to capitalize, then get another run in the fifth.”
Marshall, Kamiakin’s No. 1 on the mound, allowed three of Kennewick’s five hits in the first inning, including a two-run double by Colton Plew that drove in the game’s first two runs.
Larry DeWitt followed with an RBI-single, and Quentin Lafontaine made it 4-0 with an RBI groundout that put DeWitt across the plate.
“We had a bad first inning,” said Braves coach Ryan Carter. “I thought we pitched well enough to win, but they capitalized on our mistakes. Past that first inning, I thought we played pretty solid.”
Matt Driver kept the Braves quiet at the plate over the first three innings, striking out three, but Kamiakin was able to get the bat on the ball in the fourth.
Hayden Burris had a lead-off single, and Matthew Rowell drove him in with a two-out single to pull within 4-1.
Kennewick tacked on a run in the fifth as DeWitt drove in JJ Hancock to give the Lions a 5-1 lead.
The Braves added another run in the sixth as Marshall helped his cause with a double that put Burris across the plate, and almost added another, but Dylan Keech was thrown out at the plate on a 9-4-2 play after Rowell flew out to right field.
“We got away from our approach at the plate,” Carter said of his team’s four hits. “We have to continue to improve offensively. When we get runners in scoring position — and it doesn’t happen too often — we have to take advantage.”
Mark Driver pitched five solid innings for Kennewick, but with his pitch count at 93, he relinquished the mound to his younger brother Matt, who gave up one run on two hits over the final two innings.
“Matt was a little rusty, but I like how he competed,” Marquardt said.
In the second game, the Lions were up 5-0 after two innings, but the Braves wouldn’t go away quietly.
Kamiakin put up two runs in the third, fourth and sixth to tie the score at 6-6.
Kennewick came back in the bottom of the sixth to get the game-winning run.
Hancock led off with a single, stole second and went to third on a groundball to the right side. He later scored on a wild pitch by Easton Henke.
Brock Sittman shut down the Braves in the seventh to preserve the win.
“It was good to get a win,” Marquardt said. “We didn’t play very good baseball in the middle innings. We fought back and manufactured a run when we needed it, and a good shutdown inning by Sittman when we needed it.”
Kamiakin 000 101 0 — 2 4 1
Kennewick 400 010 x — 5 5 3
David Marshall and Austin Hardy; Mark Driver, Matt Driver (6) and Dylan Wilbery. Highlights—Marshall (Ka) 2B; Colton Plew (Ke) 2B, 2 RBIs; Larry DeWitt (Ke) 2x3, 2 RBIs.
Kamiakin 002 202 0 — 6 7 1
Kennewick 321 001 x — 7 10 5
Kaden Enriquez, Easton Henke (5) and Austin Hardy. Colton Plew, Levi Scantlin (4), Brock Sittman (6) and JJ Hancock. Highlights—Kam: Seth Dreis 2-4, 2B. Ken: Steven Sordahl 2-3, 3B; Hancock 2 RBIs; Dylan Wilburt 2-4, 2B, HR; Plew 2-3, 2B.