The Sweets returned from their two-day non-league hiatus with a nail-biting 5-4 win over the Wenatchee AppleSox on Friday night at Paul Thomas Field.
The AppleSox left the bases loaded in the ninth and RHP Cameron Deere (Brown) struck out 2B Jacob Prater (Seattle) looking to end the frame and preserve the win for the visitors.
Walla Walla scored first. Two runs in the second inning off of Sox starter RHP Steen Fredrickson (Montana State Billings) staked the Sweets to an early lead. They tallied four hits, all singles, and utilized RBI base knocks from LF Danny Sinatro (Washington State) and 2B Ripken Reyes (California) to score two.
But Wenatchee answered with a run in the bottom of the second. Facing Sweets starter RHP Darius Vines (Yavapai CC), an RBI groundout by 1B Adrian Damla (UC-Irvine) plated RF Jalen Garcia (Montana State Billings) and cut the Sweets lead in half.
Wenatchee then tied it with another run in the fourth. Vines, removed after three innings, had given way to LHP Dylan Riddle (UC-Irvine). But an unearned run evened the score in the middle innings.
The Sweets went ahead for good, however, with three runs in the top of the sixth. Chasing Fredrickson from the game, Walla Walla used a bases-loaded walk from Reyes, a single from CF Ryan Johnston (UC-Irvine), and a base hit from RF J.J. Hancock (Washington State) to take a 5-2 lead.
But Wenatchee wasn’t finished. The Sox crept back into the game with a run in the eighth off of Deere. They had bases loaded and none out and although Deere was able to induce the stress-reducing ground ball double play off the bat of LF Evan Johnson (Northern Colorado), Wenatchee scored the run from third and cut the Sweets margin to 5-3.
In the ninth, the Sox really put the screws to the Sweets. But Walla Walla persevered and wrapped up the win. Wenatchee scored one more unearned run to trim the Sweets lead to 5-4 before Deere’s emphatic punchout of Prater stranded the bases loaded.
Walla Walla improves to 8-11 (23-23 overall) while Wenatchee drops to 10-9 (25-21 overall). With Victoria’s win, the Sweets remain 3.5 games out of first place with eight to play. Wenatchee stays tied with Bellingham for second, 1.5 games out.
Riddle (4-1) wins. Fredrickson (1-3) loses. Deere (2) records Walla Walla’s 15th save of the season.
The Sweets will be back in action Saturday night; same time, same place. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from Paul Thomas Field on the campus of Wenatchee Valley CC.
LHP Scott Parker (San Francisco) will oppose RHP Alek Jacobs (Gonzaga).
by Ben Farber
Audio Highlights -- Johnston RBI Single