A back-and-forth game featured four lead changes on Saturday night.
But the Sweets came up just short, losing 7-6 to the Wenatchee AppleSox at Paul Thomas Field.
The Sweets snagged three runs in the first off of Sox starter RHP Alek Jaob (Gonzaga), who was making his WCL debut. Consecutive RBI singled from 3B Nick Nyquist (Gonzaga) and LF Jake Suddleson (Harvard) preceded a double steal, bringing home Nyquist and giving the Sweets a 3-0 lead.
Wenatchee responded immediately, plating four in the first off Sweets starter LHP Scott Parker (San Francisco), and taking a 4-3 lead. Wenatchee compiled five hits in the inning.
Still, a two-run rally in the third put the Sweets ahead once again. They scored two unearned runs, both on a fielding error by 2B Josh Zamora (Nevada). Into the middle innings, Walla Walla led 5-4.
However, in the fourth, Wenatchee snatched the lead right back. They scored two off of Parker and the reliever RHP Matt Amrhein (Cal Baptist). A bases-loaded walk by CF Dugan Shirer (Washington State) combined with an RBI groundout from DH Evan Johnson (Northern Colorado) put the ‘Sox ahead for good.
For Johnson, the RBI was his league-high 48th. He needs one more RBI to set the AppleSox single season record, and three more to tie the WCL all-time mark.
In the sixth, a solo home run from Shirer deep to right gave the AppleSox an insurance run.
But in the seventh, Walla Walla trimmed the lead in half. 1B John Glenn (Cal Baptist) doubled with one out and was subsequently plated on an opposite-field single by DH Daniel Fredrickson (Gonzaga).
With the Sweets trailing 7-6, Wenatchee summoned RHP Connor Leedholm (Northern Colorado) for the save. The senior right-hander worked two scoreless innings, preserving the win for the home team.
The Sweets stranded second and third in the ninth.
Jacob (1-0) recorded the win. Parker (2-4) took the loss. Leedholm (5) worked the save. Shirer’s home run was his first.
The Sweets slip to 8-12 (23-24 overall), 4.5 games behind first-place Victoria, who won today.
Wenatchee improves to 11-9 (26-21), 1.5 games out of first.
Walla Walla has already clinched the season series over Wenatchee. The Sweets and the AppleSox will play the rubber match Sunday night at 6:05 p.m.
LHP Isaac Esqueda (Southern California) will oppose RHP Mike Townsend (UCLA) from Paul Thomas Field.
by Ben Farber
Audio Highlights -- Fredrickson RBI Single
Sweets Scoop -- Dylan Riddle