SPOKANE — Pendleton’s 16U Pepsi Diamondjaxx were unstoppable in day one of Spokane’s summer baseball tournament.
The team opened play with a five-inning 19-0 blowout over Coeur d’Alene’s Northern Lake and followed it up with a 16-8 win against Spokane’s own North Central to complete the sweep.
“Our base running was the best it’s been all summer,” coach Brett Swanson said. “We had some good situational hitting.”
The Diamondjaxx were hot right out the gate, putting up five runs in the top of the first. It would be their first of three five-run innings.
Aiden Gunter got things started with an RBI-double into left field, and from there, Blane Peal, Jacob Devereaux, and Andrew Demianew all followed with RBI-singles. Devereaux’s drove in two.
Kobe Fell, who led Pendleton with a 3-for-5 batting performance that scored three runs, notched a double of his own in the top of the fifth, driving in a run. Devereaux, Demianew, and Hayden Hodson each hit RBI-singles to secure their 19-run advantage, enacting the ten-run rule and ended the game early.
“We played some strong defense today,” Swanson said. “We would hit the ball right at them, and once they struggled we just capitalized on that.”
Payton Lamber and Jack Monkman also chipped in three runs apiece.
But Pendleton was strong on both sides of the ball, with Fell and Hodson combining to shut out their Northern Lake opponents from the hill. Each gave up just one hit, but no runs. Hodson benched four batters, including a strikeout that ended the game.
“Both games were good all-around wins for us,” Swanson said.
Pendleton’s 17U Hodgen Distributing battled their way through the Spokane-hosted weekend tourney, suffering a close loss to Northwest Advantage 6-4, but rallying for a 4-1 victory over Mt. Spokane to finish the day.
“It’s been a good tournament so far,” coach Wes Armstrong said. “We played against two nice, competitive teams today.”
Nic Sheley and Jordan DeGeer scored on a pair of wild pitches in the top of the second for an early 2-0 Pendleton lead, but Northwest Advantage was quick to retaliate with four runs in the bottom of the third.
The comeback was bolstered by Louden Marsalis, who singled on a hard ground ball to right field that drove in a run. Two more runs were scored on the throw.
Cooper Roberts doubled on a line drive to left field for two RBIs, allowing Pendleton to briefly pull even. But Northwest Advantage wasn’t done, and would shoot ahead for the second and final time just one inning later.
The team, comprised of players from various Washington high schools, posted two more RBI-singles to escape with the win in the bottom of the fifth.
Kyle Field struck out four Northwest batters, but also let slip six runs over four innings, which was too much for Pendleton to recover from.
Hodgen Distributing fought through another tie in their day’s closer against Mt. Spokane, but this time, they came out on top.
The two teams stayed tied at 1-1 from the third inning onward until Pendleton came to life in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs.
Ty Beers doubled to right field, driving in Michael Flores. Curtis Simons crossed home on a wild pitch one at-bat later, and Logan Weinke’s following fly fall to center field allowed Beers to score.
“We had a little more enthusiasm in the second game,” Armstrong said. “When Coop’s on the mound, he brings it out of the rest of the team. He’s always throwing strikes, pitching to contact, and putting the ball in play. It’s always a good ball game when the pitcher’s throwing strikes.”
Roberts, an incoming Pendleton High School senior, threw a complete game and finished the day with six strikeouts, with just two hits and one run given up along the way.
“Coop has shown us, throughout the high school season and even now, that he’s capable of finishing a game,” Armstrong said. “Any time you put a ball in his hands, he’ll deliver.”