The Hermiston Bulldogs lost their position in the Mid-Columbia Conference’s seeding for the 3A playoffs Tuesday after dropping a pair of games to league-leading Richland at Columbia Playfield.
The Bombers rallied to win the first game 15-5, then took the nightcap 18-3 to remain undefeated on the season at 14-0. The Bombers have won 28 consecutive MCC games dating to last year.
“We needed both wins to get the No. 2 spot, now we have to wait and see what happens,” Hermiston coach Kate Greenough said.
The Bulldogs (10-6) are finished with conference play, while Kennewick (9-5) hosts Pasco on Friday. Southridge swept Walla Walla on Tuesday to improve to 10-4, and will host Richland on Friday. Kamiakin is out of the playoff discussion.
Hermiston overcame a 3-0 deficit in the first game, taking a 4-3 lead in the top of the third inning.
Sydney Stefani led off with a walk, and Sam Atilano reached on an error. A single by Bailee Noland sent Stefani across the plate, while Halle Pennington drew a bases-loaded walk to pull the Bulldogs within 3-2.
Brecella Nash’s fielder’s choice put another run on the board, and Grace Studer’s RBI single gave Hermiston a 4-3 lead.
The Bombers got the run back in the bottom of the inning for a 4-4 game.
Hermiston kept the bats moving in the fourth inning with consecutive singles by Atilano, Ashley Cameron and Noland to load the bases.
A sacrifice fly by Jamelle Almaguer drove in Atilano for a 5-4 lead, but a groundout by Pennington left two runners stranded.
The Bombers broke out the bats in the bottom of the fourth, scoring seven runs on eight hits to take an 11-5 lead.
Richland invoked the 10-run rule in the sixth with four more runs, including a two-run homer by Taylor Clark.
“We knew they were a good team, and we knew they could hit,” Richland coach Casey Emery said.
“I thought they would scored four, five or six runs — they are that good of a team. They forced us into some mistakes.”
Noland and Almaguer each had two hits in the game, while Stefani hit a double in the fifth inning.
“I think we had four earned runs, and took advantage of walks and bunts and put them on their heels,” Greenough said. “I don’t know if they had a lead change like that this year.”
Emery said they had not.
“All year, we have only had one close game until now,” he said. “The score does not reflect how competitive the game was. Both pitchers had a tough strike zone, but they battled through it.”
In the second game, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 2-0 lead but could not keep the Bombers at bay.
Richland scored five runs in the first, and five more in the second to pull away for good.
Clark limited the Bulldogs to four hits, two by Noland, and a triple by Stefani.
Addison Pettit hit two doubles and drove in six runs for the Bombers, while McKenna Ozuna and Rylee Gavaert each drove in three runs.