The Sweets went out with a bang.
LHP Scott Parker (San Francisco) stifled the Kelowna Falcons, limiting the opposition to just two hits through six scoreless innings.
Sweets bats smothered the Falcons’ wings. 15 runs on 23 hits – including five more for 1B John Glenn (Cal Baptist), who totaled 13 hits in the three-game series – was enough for the Sweets’ largest margin of victory in 2017.
Seven Sweets had multiple hits. And Walla Walla finished the season with back-to-back wins at Borleske.
Sunday’s final tally: Sweets 15, Kelowna 1.
Four straight hits with two outs in the first – RF J.J. Hancock (Washington State), LF Jake Suddleson (Harvard), Glenn, and 3B Nick Nyquist (Gonzaga) – gave the Sweets an early 2-0 lead against Falcons starter RHP Jake Simmons (Western Oregon).
But in the fifth, the Sweets truly exploded. Sending 11 batters to the plate, Walla Walla collected six hits and scored six times. CF Ryan Johnston (UC-Irvine) led off with a home run, his third of the season.
Johnston would drive in two more runs before the inning was through. Amidst the feeding frenzy, Hancock tripled and C Ryan Shaw (Richmond) drew the first of two bases-loaded walks on the ballgame.
In the sixth, the Sweets added three more. Nyquist, 2B Cameron Deere (Brown), and Shaw all garnered RBIs.
A solo home run from Hancock, his first of the year, in the seventh inning tacked on an insurance run.
And a three-run jack from SS Vinny Capra (Richmond) in the eighth (also his first of the year) blew the game open even further.
The Sweets tattooed Simmons for seven runs on 12 hits through 4.2 innings. They then scored eight times against three different Kelowna relievers.
Hancock had four hits. Nyquist and Johnston had three. Five Sweets drove in multiple runs.
Sunday was also the team’s first three-homer game of the summer.
Parker (3-4) was superb in the win. Simmons (0-2) lost. Johnston (3), Hancock (1), and Capra (1) all went yard for the home team.
The Sweets conclude the second half at 10-17. Paired with their 15-12 record from the first half, Walla Walla finishes fifth in the six-team WCL North with an overall record of 25-29.
Last year’s team won 30 games.
On Monday night, the Wenatchee AppleSox will host the Corvallis Knights in a makeup game from last week’s cancellation.
If the AppleSox win, Bellingham will make the playoffs. If Corvallis wins, it will be Victoria.
The advancing team will join Kelowna, Corvallis, and Yakima Valley in the 2017 WCL Postseason.
Playoff action begins on Tuesday night. Yakima Valley will host Corvallis at the Orchard and Kelowna will open on the road at either Joe Martin Field in Bellingham or at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
The Sweets last qualified for the playoffs in 2013.
by Ben Farber
Audio Highlights -- Capra HR
Sweets Scoop -- Frank Mutz