The Sweets lost to the Bellingham Bells 12-10 in 16 innings as Monday night became Tuesday morning at Borelske Stadium.
The Sweets scored early, allowed nine quick runs, and rallied from a 9-3 hole to tie the game in the eighth inning.
Bellingham scored again in the 11th. The Sweets answered again in the 11th. And on and on the battle raged.
The game lasted five hours and 33 minutes. The two teams combined to use 16 pitchers – eight per side.
Bellingham committed six fielding errors. The Sweets made five.
Walla Walla pounded out a season-high 24 hits, compared to Bellingham’s 15.
Bellingham left 22 runners on base. For Walla Walla, just 14.
But the Sweets had the winning run on second or third with less than two outs for five straight innings. And from innings nine through thirteen, the team missed many primo run-scoring opportunities.
The Sweets were eliminated from the WCL North’s first half playoff chase. And with Walla Walla’s loss, the Kelowna Falcons have qualified for the postseason.
The Sweets were on the board with three early runs. 3B Nick Nyquist (Gonzaga) had an RBI double and DH Jake Suddleson (Harvard) singled him home in the first inning. And a run-scoring single from SS Jacob Blas (Arizona) off of Bells starter RHP Rogelio Reyes (California) scored 2B Cameron Deere (Brown) in the third.
However, Bellingham ripped off nine early runs – three in the second, two in the third, and four in the fourth against Sweets starter LHP Dylan Riddle (UC-Irvine) and a bevy of relievers.
But the Sweets answered immediately. They scored two in the fifth, both on a two-run double from 1B John Glenn (Cal Baptist).
Three more came in the sixth as the Sweets utilized productive ground balls and took advantage of some shoddy Bellingham defense.
Heading into the late innings, the Sweets trailed 9-8. They seemed to be on the verge of another one of their patented come-from-behind wins.
Instead, they tied. LF Tommy Henderson (California) roped a leadoff double and the pinch-runner, Darius Vines (Oxnard CC) scored on a wild pitch.
The teams played scorelessly into and past the ninth.
In inning number 11, Bellingham got the go-ahead run when a single from 1B Austin Shenton (Florida International) plated SS Ernie Yake (Gonzaga).
But again, the Sweets answered. Nyquist doubled to lead off the bottom of the inning and after a pair of strikeouts, 2B Vinny Capra (Richmond) singled him home to extend the ballgame.
Capra had entered in the middle innings when Deere left the ballgame after colliding with the baserunner, C Chase Illig (West Virginia) when fielding a slow ground ball. He is day-to-day.
The two teams played deep into the night and the early morning. Both sides left numerous runners on base. Both made egregious lapses on defense. Both put themselves in – and miraculously escaped – perilous situations.
But in the top of the 16th, the Bells finally broke through. Two unearned runs off of RHP Jarrod Molnaa (Bellevue U), who to that point had been superb through two-plus innings of dominance, put Bellingham ahead for good. LF Colin Ridley (Maine) and 2B Kody Matthews (Marshall) recorded the big hits.
The Sweets left runners on second and third in the bottom of the 16th.
LHP Tristan Garnett (Oregon State) pitched three scoreless innings for the win (1-0). Molnaa takes the loss (0-1). LHP Arman Sabouri (California) saves (2).
The teams have roughly nine and a half hours of turnaround before Tuesday morning’s matinee.
The Sweets and Bells will play the middle game of this three-game series at 10:05 a.m. on July 4th.
LHP Haydn King (San Francisco) will throw the first pitch at Borleske Stadium. He will be opposed by Bellingham’s LHP Zack Noll (Oregon).
by Ben Farber
Audio Highlights -- End of game
Sweets Scoop Pregame -- Colby Watilo