PENDLETON — The Pepsi Diamondjaxx closed their season with a battle.
On Thursday, Pendleton’s 16U baseball team split with their Hanford visitors. While the Diamondjaxx took the opener 4-2, Hanford escaped with an 11-10 victory to end the day.
Game one was a low-scoring affair until Pendleton’s Karson Lani broke it open in the bottom of the fourth inning with a two-RBI triple into center field that allowed Payton Lambert and Blane Peal to cross home.
Troy Molnaa’s sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth finally put Hanford on the board, but the Diamondjaxx responded with Aiden Gunter’s RBI-single in the following inning. Peal sent a shallow ground ball to third base, giving Lambert the chance to score and keep Pendleton out front.
Hanford’s Drew Johnson posted an RBI single late in the final inning, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with the Diamondjaxx.
Peal was not only key at the plate, but also on the mound. He tallied eight strikeouts over 6⅔ innings, allowing just one hit and two runs. Johnson benched seven Pendleton batters over the full game.
The Diamondjaxx were well on their way to a doubleheader sweep, holding a 6-4 lead by the fourth inning of the nightcap.
That soon fell apart by the top of the fifth.
Hanford rallied with five runs off singles from Tyler Poletski, Corey Foster, Garret Chandler, and Korbin Harris. Kobe Fell, who was sent in to finish the inning in relief, walked the next batter to drive in yet another run, putting Hanford up 10-6.
It was a lead that would last for just an inning as Peal got Pendleton back on track with a triple on a 1-2 pitch that scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Lani’s single drove Peal in on the next at-bat, tying the game at 10-10.
Chandler returned in the top of the seventh with another RBI-single to clinch Hanford’s victory and split with the Diamondjaxx.
In Centralia, Washington, Pendleton’s 17U Hodgen Distributing summer baseball team dropped back-to-back games in day one of their college showcase.
Pendleton opened with a five-inning 13-2 loss to the 18U Hawaii Rockies. The Rockies brought the bats early, driving in nine runs in the second inning. Meanwhile, Pendleton struggled to put the ball in play until the bottom of the fourth, when a double from Ty Beers and a single from Greysen Clark both drove in runs.
The day didn’t get any easier as the Northwest Naturals shut them out 10-0 in five innings.