The Sweets have now dropped six of their last seven. They were defeated 6-4 by Port Angeles at Borleske Stadium on Thursday night.
The teams split a two-game miniseries. Thursday’s game was a back-and-forth affair that saw the Sweets fight to the end but fall just short.
Port Angeles struck first. They scored a third inning run off Sweets starter LHP Tim Josten (Cal State Fullerton). 2B Kevin Kendall (UCLA) walked, stole second, and scored on a base hit by SS Sean Roby (Arizona Western).
But the Sweets responded immediately with a third inning run off their own off of Lefties starter RHP Kieran Shaw (Harvard). SS Jacob Blas (Arizona) singled, moved to second on a base hit from CF Ryan Johnston (UC-Irvine), and scored on a productive groundout by RF J.J. Hancock (Washington State).
Undeterred, Port Angeles scored three more times in the top of the fourth, chasing Josten from the game. A two-run double from C Branden Williams (UC-Riverside) plated Kendall and CF Taylor Adams (Oregon). Then, Williams scored on a single from DH Jake Portaro (Utah).
The Lefties tacked on a bonus run in the fifth, stretching their lead to 5-1. A sacrifice fly from Adams plated RF Ian Nowak (UC-Riverside), who had led off with a single.
On Adams’ ball, Ryan Johnston made one of the Sweets’ signature catches this season. Racing straight back toward centerfield, Johnston dove and extended his arms straight out. He reached over-the-shoulder with his back to the infield and hauled the ball in on the warning track in dead center. Although one run did score on the play, RJ’s grab prevented the game from truly getting out of hand.
Buoyed by Johnston’s show of defense, the Sweets rallied for three runs in the fifth. Johnston doubled and came around on a base hit from Hancock. Then, a booming two-out triple from 1B John Glenn (Cal Baptist) brought in both Hancock and 3B Nick Nyquist (Gonzaga). Glenn’s first three-bagger of the year pulled the Sweets to within 5-4.
Unfortunately, the Sweets would not score again. Port Angeles tacked on an insurance run – a solo home run by Roby in the ninth inning – and two Port Angeles Relievers (RHP Brandon Reynolds of Tacoma CC and RHP Aaron Charles of Cal State Bakersfield) kept the Sweets off the scoreboard for the final four innings.
Charles, in particular, was dominant. The six-foot-four righty hurled three scoreless frames, allowing two hits while punching out six.
For the Sweets, RHP Jarrod Molnaa (Bellevue U) turned in his finest appearance of the season in long relief. Molnaa tossed four innings, scattering four hits while striking out six and walking none.
Still, it was not enough to get the Sweets a home win.
Walla Walla falls to 2-6 in the second half (17-18 overall). Meanwhile, Port Angeles improves to 4-6 (14-23 overall).
Shaw (1-3) wins. Josten (4-1) loses. Charles (1) records his first save. Roby’s longball was his fifth.
The Sweets will play the second leg of this five-game homestand over the weekend. The Bend Elks come to Borleske for games Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday late afternoon.
First pitch Friday will be 7:05 p.m. All-Star RHP Darius Vines (Oxnard CC) will start for the Sweets.
by Ben Farber
Audio Highlights -- Glenn's two-run triple
Sweets Scoop Pregame -- Chris Lincoln
Sweets Scoop Postgame -- Jarrod Molnaa