CENTRALIA, Wash. – Now it’s win or go home for the Willamette Valley Babe Ruth 12U baseball team. The all-stars tended to their business by wrapping up pool play in the Pacific Northwest Cal Ripken Regional Tournament with a 6-4 win on Wednesday at Lewis County Sports Complex Borst Park. They played the host team Black Hills (Wash.) in what was their closest game. The victory put them at 3-0 in pool play and earned them the top seed in their pool entering Thursday’s single-elimination round.
Willamette Valley moves to the semifinals to face the winner of the 11:30 a.m. quarterfinal game between Sandy (Ore.) and Anacortes (Wash.) Blackhawks. The semifinals game will be at 4:30 p.m. WVBR 12U beat Anacortes in pool play, 12-2.
On Wednesday against Black Hills, things started off rocky. The Washington team took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first after a 2-run home run, but Willamette Valley came back with a run in the bottom of the first on a Patrick Herbert solo home run. Each team scored a run in the second, making Black Hills’ lead 3-2. Willamette Valley scored its second run when Dylan Hansen singled to drive in Stephen Parmenter, who had singled to start the second inning.
Multiple errors and a couple of wild pitches by Black Hills opened the door for Willamette Valley in the fourth inning. A double by Sam Lerch started it, and WVBR also had singles from Parmenter and Beau Burnett to add fuel to the rally. That was all the team would need, though. Black Hills scored a final run in the fifth, but it would not be enough.
Lerch pitched a complete game to earn the win. Six Willamette Valley batters had hits. Parmenter and Lerch both finished 2-for-2. And three players each drove in a run: Herbert, Burnett, and Hansen.