SPOKANE — Back together again.
For the second year in a row, the Yakima Pepsi Beetles and Yakima Valley Pepsi Pak will clash at the Senior Legion state baseball tournament with the winner living on for another day and the loser heading home.
The Beetles experienced a complete turnaround from their opening-day blowout of Lakeside Recovery, falling 9-0 to Centralia in Sunday’s first winner’s bracket game, and the Pak survived its loser-out round by eliminating Bellingham 4-3 with a run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
That sets up today’s 10 a.m. loser-out pairing between the two local rivals, who split a four-game league series two weeks ago. The Pak eliminated the Beetles last year on the second day of the state tournament.
A day after shelling Lakeside Recovery’s pitching staff for 18 runs, Yakima was shut down by Centralia’s Brandon Conradi, who went the full nine innings for an eight-hit shutout with six strikeouts and two walks.
Yakima starter Jens Jensen allowed only three hits to go with his seven strikeouts and three walks. He left after five innings trailing 2-0. Jensen and Justin Juarez both had two hits.
Centralia extended the margin to 4-0 in the sixth and added five more in the eighth, starting with a three-run triple by Dugan Shirer and capped by Keylen Steen’s two-run homer.
Earlier in the day, the Pak struggled through six scoreless innings against Bellingham before a three-run rally in the seventh produced a 3-2 lead. John Piper and Kameron Hood had back-to-back RBI doubles to push Yakima Valley ahead.
Bellingham, which won the Spokane regional, pulled even in the eighth to set up the Pak’s walk-off ninth. Ryan Engquist led off with a walk, reached second on a groundout and scored on an infield error.
Yakima Valley starter Ryan Ross was solid in his complete-game, 110-pitch effort, scattering six hits, allowing two earned runs and striking out four. He was also 2 for 4 with a double and run scored.
Piper was 2 for 3 with two doubles and Kurt Lindemann had two hits and a stolen base.
Bellingham and the Kennewick Bandits – both teams considered strong title contenders – were the first teams eliminated. Lakeside Recovery ousted the Bandits, who won the Central Washington League title, in Sunday’s first loser-out game, 4-2.
Game 5: Lakeside Recovery 4, Kennewick 2, loser out.
Game 6: Yakima Valley 4, Bellingham 3, loser out.
Game 7: Centralia 9, Yakima 0.
Game 8: Twin City 6, Hanford 4.
Game 9: Yakima (37-21) vs. Yakima Valley (41-19), loser out, 10 a.m.
Game 10: Lakeside Recovery vs. Hanford, loser out, 1 p.m.
Game 11: Centralia vs. Twin City, 5 p.m.
Yakima Valley 4, Bellingham 3
Bellingham 100 001 010 — 3 6 1
Yakima Valley 000 000 301 — 4 10 2
Richard, Jansen (8) and Shearer; Ross and Logan.
Highlights: Ryan Ross (YV) CG, 2 ER. 6 hits, 4 K, 1 BB, 2-4, 2b, run; Kurt Lindemann (YV) 2-4, SB; John Piper (YV) 2-3, 2 2b, run, RBI; Ryan Engquist (YV) run, RBI; Kameron Hood (YV) 1-3, 2b, RBI; Luke Christianson (B) 2-4, 2b, 2 RBI.
Centralia 9. Yakima 0
Yakima 000 000 000 — 0 8 3
Centralia 000 202 05x — 9 10 2
Jensen, Ford (6) and Sauve; Conradi and Steen.
Highlights: Justin Juarez (Y) 2-4, 2 2b; Jens Jensen (Y) 5 IP, 2 ER, 7 K, 3 BB, 2-3; Keylen Steen (C) 2-3, HR, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Dugan Shirer (C) 2-4, 3b, 3 RBI; Andrew Elam (C) HR; Brandon Conradi (C) CG, 0 runs, 6 K, 2 BB.