LONGVIEW, Wash. — During the regular season, Yakima Valley College’s offense hogged the spotlight with its prodigious production.
So far in the postseason, however, its been the Yaks’ pitching stealing the show.
One day after three relievers locked down a victory with six shutout innings, freshman Alec Gomez took matters into his own hands, twirling a complete-game, four-hit shutout as top-ranked YVC outdueled third-ranked Edmonds 2-0 in the second round of the NWAC Championship on Friday at David Story Field at Lower Columbia College.
“Alec Gomez put us on his back. That was just a gutsy performance,” assistant coach Cash Ulrich said of the freshman right-hander making just his fourth start of the season. “We know how good he’s been for us out of the bullpen. It was his time to get a start and he definitely stepped up.”
YVC (44-9) will next face Lower Columbia at 5:35 p.m. Saturday.
That game was made possible in large part because of Gomez, who has a fastball in the upper 80s, along with a curveball and changeup. Friday, he was able to throw all three for strikes the entire game, with his breaking ball particularly sharp, Ulrich said.
Gomez walked three, struck out four and was rarely in trouble.
Edmonds (40-8) never got a runner past second and only got one that far three times. The Tritons had two runners on base in just two innings, including the ninth when a two-out rally put runners to first and second but Gomez got a groundout to end it.
“After the eighth inning, I looked him in the eye to see if he was OK because his pitch count was up there but he pounded his chest and said, ‘It’s mine,’” Ulrich said, adding that despite his lack of starts, there were no restrictions. “There was no leash and he wanted the ball. He was awesome tonight.”
Yakima Valley finally broke the deadlock with a two-out rally in the eighth.
Tylor Nixon was hit by a pitch, then stole second and moved to third on an error by the catcher on the throw. After Cole Mckenzie drew a walk, Nixon scored on a wild pitch by Edmonds starter Elliott Carney.
The Yaks added an insurance run in the ninth as Zach Inskeep hit a one-out single, pinch-runner Jashaun Simon stole second and then scored on Tyler Detloff’s double — YVC’s first extra-base hit in the tournament.
YVC 000 000 011 — 2 6 1
Edmonds 000 000 000 — 0 4 1
Gomez and Kirchoff; Carney, Wyatt (9) and Sagdahl.
YVC highlights: Alec Gomez CG, 3 bb, 4 Ks; Tyler Detloff 2-4, 2b, RBI; Tylor Nixon run, sb; Jashaun Simon run, sb; Bryce Beck 1-3; Tanner Parker 1-4; Zach Inskeep 1-4; Kyle Harvey 1-4.