Padres Win Series in Dominant Fashion

WALLA WALLA, Wash. — In their final game as the Padres, Walla Walla crushes the Northwest Star NightHawks 10-2 to win their second series of the season. It was another dominant performance from the Padres pitching staff as they struck out 14 batters.

Walla Walla wasted no time getting runs on the board, jumping out tot a 6-0 lead after the first two innings. The first two runs were brought home on one of the weirdest plays of the season. With two runners in scoring position, Kolby Felix popped a ball up to right field for out number two. Stevie Hom, who led the inning off with a single, thought about tagging up, but after seeing the throw from the right fielder, retreated back to third base. Cor MacDonald, who started on second, was halfway to third when he saw Hom retreat and had to quickly get back. The NightHawks’ catcher, seeing MacDonald husting back to second, fired the ball to the top of the infield to try and double up the Padres and end the inning. However, his throw was offline and flew into centerfield. Hom then rushed home on the error to score the first run and MacDonald moved up to third. After retrieving the ball, the NightHawks’ centerfielder threw to third to try and tag out MacDonald, but his throw went haywire as well. MacDonald, after sliding into third, got back up and charged to home where he scored the second run of the ball game. When it was all said and done, the Padres brought home two runs off two errors from the NightHawks on one play.

In the second inning, the Padres brought home four more runs. Again, Walla Walla capitalized on a NightHawk throwing error for another run. After a sac bunt with runners on the corners made it 3-0 and moved David Mysza to second, he stole third and scored when the catcher overthrew the hot corner to try and catch him.

Two more runs were brought in with an RBI single from MacDonald and an RBI double from Andrew Graham.

On the mound, Heitaro Hayashi pitched the best start of his summer career. The lefty from Japan was dealing, tossing six innings and striking out 10 batters. That is the most punchouts this year from a Walla Walla pitcher. After the fifth inning, Hayashi was sitting at eight strikeouts and said he was pretty tired, but he wanted to go out in sixth and try to get 10. His ninth strikeout was the second out of the inning. Hayashi got up to two strikes on the next two batters, but they both got aboard with a double and a single. The inning paid off though as he struck out the next batter to end the frame and get to double digits.

Hunter Polley took over for him on the mound and tossed a solid final three innings, striking out four batters himself. Combined, the two hurlers struck out 14 batters, the second most this season and just one off the high mark set Saturday night.

Walla Walla added a run in the fifth but were quiet until their final frame. In the bottom of the eighth, Joel Esparza got the inning started with a hit by pitch. He was later brought home by an RBI ground out. With another runner on base and two outs, Luka Ruljancich emerged out of the dugout to pinch hit. After taking the first pitch, Ruljancich unloaded on a ball and sent over the wall in left-center field for a two-run blast. He is the first Walla Walla batter not named “Kolby Felix” to leave the yard this season.

With the win, the Walla Walla finishes their non-league schedule 4-1. The win also clinches the second series of 2024.

Walla Walla returns to the Sweets moniker Monday evening in their makeup game against the Portland Pickles. The game was originally scheduled for June 4, was postponed to July after heavy rain in the Portland area made the field unplayable. It is the ninth and final game against the Pickles for the Sweets. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 and Sweets’ coverage of the game can be found on

By: Cooper Huskey

Date: July 8, 2024