The Sweets suffered their worst loss of the season, falling to the Port Angeles Lefties 14-3 at Borleske Stadium on Saturday Night.
The Lefties outhit the Sweets 19-4 and have outscored Walla Walla 30-10 in the four games they’ve played against each other this year. Port Angeles has won all four.
The loss was the Sweets’ first at home this year and broke a four-game winning streak.
Walla Walla opened the scoring in the bottom of the first against Lefties’ starter RHP Nick Bonniksen (Dixie State).
With one out, 2B Vinny Capra (Richmond) walked. He then stole second base and the throw from the catcher Brody Kato (Arizona Western) was wide and sailed into center field.
The next batter, 3B Nick Nyquist (Gonzaga) repeated Capra’s performance verbatim. A walk, a steal, and an errant throw put runners at second and third with one out in the first.
The Sweets then utilized a sac fly from pinch-hitter Cameron Deere (Brown), who replaced 1B John Glenn (Cal Baptist) in the first after Glenn was injured making a play at first base in the top half of the inning.
Two batters later, DH Joe Zimmer (Whitman) singled home Nyquist with the team’s second run.
Port Angeles answered back in the top of the second against Sweets’ starter LHP Scott Parker (San Francisco). With one out, LF Alec Chaney (Bellevue) singled. After Chaney moved to second on a passed ball, a double from SS Kevin Kendall (UCLA) brought him home and cut the Sweets’ lead in half.
The Sweets finished scoring in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Deere pounced on a hanging curveball from Bonniksen and sent it screaming over the scoreboard wall in left field. The solo shot was Deere’s first of the summer and the team’s fourth.
However, the offense ended right there for Walla Walla. After Deere’s blast, the team managed just three baserunners – two singles and a walk – the rest of the way.
In the meantime, the Port Angeles bats went to work. 1B Michael Ciancio (Seattle) led off the fourth with a first-pitch home run off of Parker. The Lefties would then take the lead on the strength of a single from DH Seth Freed (Ball State) and a fielder’s choice ground ball from Kendall. An RBI groundout by RF Mitchell Hagan (Grand Canyon) and a run-scoring single from leadoff hitter 2B Austyn Tengan (Cal State Bakersfield) put Port Angeles on top for good.
From there, it was a veritable conga line around the basepaths. Port Angeles roughed up five different Sweets pitchers in plating two in the fifth, two in the sixth, four in the eighth, and two in the ninth.
Meanwhile, facing the trio of Bonniksen, RHP Aaron Charles (Cal State Bakersfield) and RHP Jake Suddreth (BYU), the Sweets went down quietly.
Tengan was 4-for-6 with a double, a triple, three runs and an RBI. CF Taylor Adams (Oregon) was 3-for-6 with a run and two RBI. 3B Jake Portaro (Utah) was 2-for-6 with a double, a triple, two runs and an RBI. Ciancio was 2-for-6 with a homer, a double, two runs, and three RBI. Freed was 3-for-6 with two runs scored. Chaney was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and an RBI. Kendall was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
Parker (1-2) was hit with the loss. Bonniksen (3-0) recorded the win.
With Saturday’s loss, combined with Bellingham’s 14-1 thrashing of the Bend Elks and Kelowna’s 4-3 walkoff win over Yakima Valley, the Sweets find themselves in a second-place tie, at 7-6, with Kelowna. They are now chasing first-place Bellingham, who, at 8-5, is one game ahead in the standings.
With the win, Port Angeles improves to 7-9 – still in last place in the tightly contested WCL North.
The Sweets won’t play another league game until Tuesday night. Their next game will be Sunday when they host a non-league matchup against the West Coast Guns. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. from Borleske Stadium.
LHP Jacob Weis (Richmond) will start for the Sweets.
by Ben Farber
Audio Highlights -- Deere's home run
Sweets Scoop -- Ryan Johnston and Cameron Deere