ONTARIO, Ore. – Mitch Yada came through for the Wenatchee Valley College baseball team Friday in more ways than one.
The Knights lost their first Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges East Region playoff game 8-7 to host Treasure Valley in 16 innings, which meant that Yada had to accomplish two things in the Knights’ loser-out game against Walla Walla – pitch effectively enough to give WVC a chance to win, and pitch deep enough in the game to give the Knights’ depleted bullpen a well-deserved rest.
Yada came through on both counts.
The sophomore southpaw pitched a complete-game six-hitter, striking out five, and the Knights extended their season with a 2-1 win over the Warriors.
WVC scored both of its runs in the sixth inning when Jo Itokazu doubled, scoring Randy Fuller and Josh Brewer.
The Knights recorded just four hits in the contest, but with the way Yada was throwing, they didn’t need a lot of offense to emerge victorious.
The opening game against the East Region champion Chukars could very well go down as an instant classic. Zach Reay launched a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 16th inning to propel the hosts to a dramatic victory.
WVC took a 5-1 lead after three innings, but its ace pitcher, Beau Kerns, had an uncharacteristically shaky outing - Treasure Valley tallied one run in the fourth and three more in the sixth to pull to tie pull within 7-5 and knock Kerns out of the game, and scored two more runs in the eighth to tie the game.
The contest remained even until Reay’s blast, which came off Allen Willey, who pitched 8 1/3 innings in relief.
Nate Steffler led the Knights’ offense with four hits. Evan Reister had three hits, including two doubles, for the Knights, and Tygar Garces also posted three hits.
WVC will play continue play Saturday; its season will end with one more loss. Walla Walla was eliminated with its two Friday losses, leaving the Knights and Yakima Valley to battle for the region’s lone remaining berth to next week’s NWAACC tournament. Treasure Valley earned an automatic tournament spot based on its East Region regular-season championship.