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Baseball is about taking advantage of situations.

Everett took advantage of two Lower Columbia errors early, but the Red Devils were repaid later in the game en route to a 5-2 victory during the second day of the NWAC Baseball Championships on Friday at David Story Field.

In Friday's other games, Tacoma eliminated Linn-Benton 19-8, and Lane banished Mount Hood 3-2 in 10 innings. In the other winner's bracket matchup, Walla Walla got past Columbia Basin 7-1.

On Saturday, Lane faces Columbia Basin at 11:05 a.m., Tacoma plays at 2:05 p.m., and Walla Walla meets Lower Columbia at 5:35.

The Devils took advantage of a Warriors' infield error to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. One inning later, Everett parlayed a dropped infield fly and a throwing miscue into a run ti tie the game at 1-1.

"Some people are probably wondering what the heck happened with the leadoff double and two Little League errors in a row," LCC coach Eddie Smith said. "I think that situation won us the game in the way we responded. It would've been easy to fold the tent and give up a big crooked number, but pitcher Jared Akin and the defense did a good job."

The Devils' second run in the third inning came when Corey Conklin lifted a fly ball to center field. Trojans' centerfielder Bryce Steckler lost the ball in the lights, which allowed Conklin to slide into third base. Moments later, Conklin scored when Everett starter Dalton Chapman was charged with a balk.

The run support was more than enough for Akin, who scattered five hits over seven innings for the victory.

"They're a good team," Akin said of the Trojans. "I had a good defense behind me, and it'sd easy for me to get comfortable when those guys are behind me."

Akin threw 59 of his 87 pitches for strikes.

"I struggled with my curve as it wasn't as sharp as I wanted," he said. "That's baseball, and you can't have everything every day."

The Devils plated the game-winning run in the sixth when Kyle Sandstrom coaxed a leadoff walk, and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Chase Hodkinson.

Everett plated a run in the bottom of the sixth and threatened to score more if it wasn't for the defensive heroics of left fielder Steve Robinson. With baserunners at first and third, Everett's Daniel Head lofted a fly ball which appeared to be headed to the bullpen. Robinson drifted back to the short fence in front of the bullpen, reached up and caught the ball before going head-first over the fence. Oddly, Robinson's catch came five years to the day after LCC's Derrick Salberg made "The Catch" which garnered national attention. Salberg's grab was also against Everett in the NWAC Championships.

Akin yielded to Tyler Parsons in the eighth inning, and the lefthander from Kelso didn't disappoint. Parsons, a regular starter during the season, struck out four of the six batters he faced.

"We thought it was the best strategy to have Tyler come out of the bullpen," Smith said. "He attacks the zone so much, and he has so much poise. It could've been the seventh game of the World Series at Yankee Stadium in front of 50,000 people, and he would've showed the same poise and stuck to his gameplan.

JT Strickler had three of LCC's nine hits, with Ricky Muzzy and Chase Hodkinson added two hits apiece.

Peyton Cordova-Smith had three of Everett's hits including a double. Dalton Chapman scattered six hits and struck out four through six innings, and Connor Sage tossed three innings of three-hit relief.

The all-NWAC teams were announced Friday, and the Red Devils placed three players on the squad. Second baseman Muzzy and catcher Strickler were named to the first-team, and pitcher Taylor Davis placed on the second-team.

Walla Walla 7, Columbia Basin 1: The Warriors scored in bunches, plating three runs in the fifth inning and four in the eighth to remain one of the tournament's two undefeated teams.

Walla Walla collected 12 hits. Colton Peha was 4-5 including a double, and Larry DeWitt was 2-4 with a triple, three RBIs and scored twice. Sean Coffey slapped a double, and Quentin Lafontaine scored two runs. Clark Streby allowed eight hits and struck out three in the complete-game victory.

Griffen Hale was 2-4 with a double for the Hawks, who finished with eight hits. Anthony Alvarado absorbed the loss, allowing seven hits and striking out three through 4 2/3 innings.

Tacoma 19, Linn-Benton 8: The Titans scored six runs in the sixth inning, and matched it in the seventh to survive in an elimination game.

Tacoma exploded for four runs in the third inning, and took a 7-1 lead into the sixth inning.

The Titans collected 18 hits. Jordan Stoner was 4-6, Kenton Robillard was 3-5 with a double and four RBIs, and Peter Perkins was 3-4. Quinn Rawson had two hits with a triple and four RBIs, and Elijah Johnson and Dominick Zombik had two hits and three RBIs apiece. Ryan Connor allowed six hits and struck out two through 5 2/3 innings for the win.

Jack Bauer slapped a pair of doubles as the Roadrunners finished with eight hits. Colton Conser added two hits, Damon Peters had a home run and two RBIs, and Spencer DesBiens added a triple and two RBIs. Logan Hatley allowed five hits, four walks and struck out three through 3 2/3 innings for the loss.

Lane 3, Mount Hood 2 (10 inn.): Tony Ortiz was the Titans' hero, scoring the game-tying and game-winning runs to avoid elimination.

Ortiz led off the 10th inning with a double, and later scored on an infield error by the Saints. The Titans, who trailed 2-1 after seven innings, tied the game in the eighth when Ortiz slapped a leadoff single, and later scored on a base hit from Bryce Mulcahy.

The Titans collected eight hits, with Mulcahy getting two, and Jayden Hanna added a triple. Jesse Davis started and allowed six hits and struck out six through six innings, and Mulcahy tossed 1 2/3 innings of one-hit relief with two strikeouts for the win.

Mount Hood had nine hits, with Jace McKinney going 3-4. Hunter Bruno took the loss, allowing three hits and striking out two in 2 2/3 relief innings.


Sports Reporter

Rick is a 29-year veteran of The Daily News, and the lead Lower Columbia College athletics reporter. In addition, he tracks former area prep athletes and assists several other beats. He is a Mark Morris grad with a business management degree from LCC.

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