It may have been an early-morning start, but Conner O’Neil was in prime-time form.
O’Neil threw nine dominant innings Saturday morning, and Steven Sordahl’s two-run double in the second inning jump started the Kennewick offense as the Bandits hung a 6-1 decision on the Hanford Flames in the opening game of the Senior American Legion state tournament at Carlon Park in Selah.
The victory in the 9 a.m. contest sent Kennewick on to a second-round matchup with Lakeside Recovery at 4 p.m. today. The Falcons face a 9 a.m. loser-out game with the Spokane Bandits, who lost 7-5 to Lakeside.
O’Neil gave up just four hits and two walks, striking out 11. He carried a shutout into the seventh inning, when a pair of singles from Trevor Jones and Austin Steele and a couple of wild pitches plated the Flames’ sole run.
By that time, the Bandits were firmly in control with a five-run lead.
Sordahl’s double plated Clayten Ayers and Dylan Maurer, who also doubled. Sordahl came around to score on Cole Henderson’s single for a quick 3-0 lead against Hanford starter Garrison Becker.
Kennewick struck for two more in the fifth, loading the bases in front of Matt Mendenhall’s two-run single. Mendenhall singled in another run in the seventh after Jarod Gonzales’ one-out double.
Twin City 4, Yakima Valley 2: Jesse Houser and Corey Morris combined on a four-hitter, and Mason Hilty doubled in Conner Moore in the fifth for what proved to be the winning run for the Titans.
Twin City will face Centralia at 7 p.m. today.
Houser went seven innings and gave up five hits and two earned runs. Morris came on in the eighth, allowing a pair of hits but no walks and striking out three for the save.
Hilty, Drew Oord and Andrew Castillo all hit doubles, and Moore had a triple on a 2-for-4 day.
Hanford 000 000 100 — 1 4 1
Kennewick 030 020 10x — 6 10 0
Garrison Becker, Cory Fennell (8) and Jake Browne; Conner O’Neil and Dylan Maurer. Highlights—Trevor Jones (H) 2x4, R; Austin Steele (H) 1x2, BB, HBP, SB; O’Neil (K) 9IP-4H-1ER-2BB-11K; Trek Stemp (K) 2B; Jarod Gonzales (K) 2B; Matt Mendenhall (K) 2x4, 3 RBI; Steven Sordahl (K) 2x4, 2B, RBI.
Yakima Valley 002 000 000 — 2 7 0
Twin City 011 010 01x — 4 11 0
Gonzalez, Ross (6) and Wells; Jesse Houser, Corey Morris (8) and Ty Earley. Highlights—Connor Moore (TC) 2x4, 3B, 2R; Mason Hilty (TC) 2B, RBI; Drew Oord (TC) 2B; Andrew Castillo (TC) 2x4, 2B; Houser (TC) 7IP-5H-2ER-2BB-4K; Morris (TC) 2IP-2H-0ER-0BB-3K.
Kennewick 6, Hanford 1
Centralia 4, Yakima 3
Lakeside 7, Spokane 5
Twin City 4, Yakima Valley 2
Hanford vs. Spokane, 9 a.m.
Yakima vs. Yakima Valley, noon
Kennewick vs. Lakeside, 4 p.m.
Centralia vs. Twin City, 7 p.m.