The second edition of the “where are they now?” series looks at the second season of Walla Walla Sweets baseball. From the newly formed traditions, to the first playoff appearance in team history, the Sweets put together plenty of memorable moments in the summer of 2011.
After an inaugural season that saw the Sweets finish last in the West Coast League, expectations were much higher in year two. Like the previous season, the Sweets didn’t get of to a hot start. They found themselves holding on to a spot in the playoff picture come mid-July. Down three games in the wild-card race and with their season hanging in the balance, the Sweets won 13 of their final 20 games to beat out the Bellingham Bells for the final spot in the WCL postseason.
After finishing the regular season 26-28, the Sweets were met with a tough draw in the division series against the heavily-favored Wenatchee Apple Sox. Led by league MVP Alex Stanford, the Sweets stunned the Apple Sox in a 2-0 sweep to win the club’s first ever postseason series. Despite bowing out to Corvallis in the league championship round, the Sweets made major progress from year one to two. They improved their win total by 10, had six players including Stanford earn all-star honors, and swept the third ranked collegiate summer baseball team in the country in the playoffs.
|#||Player||B/T||Ht||Wt||College||Class||Hometown||Draft Status||Player Eligibility|
|3||Trent Allianic||R/R||6-0||185||Hawaii||Koloa, Kauai|
|36||Kyle Anderson||R/L||6-2||200||Cal Poly||Senior||Aptos, CA|
|23||Simon Anderson||R/R||6-5||215||North Dakota State||Junior||Bemidju, Minn|
|34||Tyler Billen||L/L||6-4||240||Harding||Junior||Edmond, OK|
|8||Doug Christie||R/R||6-0||200||Lower Columbia CC||Sophomore||Black Diamond, Wash|
|28||Tim Culligan||R/R||6-2||212||Nevada||Senior||Hillsboro, OR|
|10||Aaron Hoverson||R/R||5-11||175||Winona St.||Junior||Maplewood, Minn|
|30||Daniel Jewett||L/L||5-10||175||Truman St.||Sophomore||Seattle, Wash|
|46||Jimmy Litchfield||L/L||6-0||175||UC Irvine||Sophomore||La Habra, Cali|
|18||Cory Mack||L/L||5-8||175||Seattle U||Sophomore||Spokane, Wash|
|15||Zach Nice||R/R||6-1||190||Portland||Sophomore||La Grande, OR|
|16||Derek Peterson||R/R||6-0||185||Gonzaga||Sophomore||Spokane, Wash|
|55||Ryan Richardson||R/R||5-10||160||Campbellsville||Senior||Spokane, Wash|
|21||Sean Santschi||R/R||6-2||222||Gonzaga||Senior||Vancouver, WA|
|39||Geoff Soja||R/R||6-3||210||Niagara||Sophomore||Fairport, NY|
|27||Brett Watson||L/L||6-1||215||Walla Walla CC||Junior||Lewiston, ID|
|32||Eric Yardley||R/R||6-0||165||Seattle U||Junior||Richland, WA|
|#||Player||B/T||Ht||Wt||College||Class||Hometown||Draft Status||Player Eligibility|
|25||Kevin Hawk||L/R||6-1||200||Lewis-Clark State||Junior||Boise, ID|
|2||Elliot Stewart||R/R||5-11||200||Cal Poly||Senior||San Jose, CA|
|#||Player||B/T||Ht||Wt||College||Class||Hometown||Draft Status||Player Eligibility|
|6||Kalani Brackenridge||R/R||5-10||180||Hawaii||Junior||Kapolei, Oahu Hawaii|
|20||James Campbell||R/R||6-1||203||Pomona-Pitzer||Senior||Lookout Mountain, TN|
|1||Denver Chavez||R/R||5-8||165||Cal Poly||Junior||Santa Barbara, CA|
|29||Austin Heaps||L/R||6-2||220||Utah Valley||Senior||Orem, UT|
|33||Goose Kallunki||R/R||6-5||235||Utah Valley||Senior||Orem, UT|
|26||Chance Kopacz||R/R||6-0||195||Walla Walla CC||Junior||Hermiston, OR|
|24||Alex Stanford||L/R||5-10||180||Gonzaga||Senior||Bothell, WA|
|11||Zach Wentz||R/R||6-3||215||North Dakokta St.||Senior||Bismarck, ND|
|13||Kevin Williams||L/R||6-0||185||UCLA||Sophomore||Van Nuys, CA|
|#||Player||B/T||Ht||Wt||College||Class||Hometown||Draft Status||Player Eligibility|
|14||Brenton Allen||L/L||6-1||205||UCLA||Sophomore||Cerritos, CA|
|31||Nick Gentili||L/L||6-2||185||Pomona-Pitzer||Junior||Glendale, CA|
|12||Scott Gottschling||R/R||6-0||180||UC-Irvine||Junior||Orange, CA|
|4||Brett Jacobs||R/R||6-0||182||Washington St.||Junior||Richland, WA|
|9||Andrew Mendenhall||R/R||6-3||200||Oregon||Junior||Kennewick, WA|
|Cesar Lopez||Assistant Coach|
|Mark Michaud||Pitching Coach|
|East Division||W||L||PCT||GB||STREAK||LAST 10|
|Walla Walla Sweets||26||28||0.481||13||2W||7-3|
|West Division||W||L||PCT||GB||STREAK||LAST 10|
|Cowlitz Black Bears||28||26||0.519||9||1L||5-5|
|Klamath Falls Gems||19||35||0.352||18||2L||3-7|
The Sweets placed 6 players on the WCL East All-Star team. All of these players earned All-WCL honors as well.
Stewart, who spent two seasons with the team, enjoyed every part of the 2011 season.
“Walla Walla was an awesome experience all around,” Stewart said. “We were a hard working and talented group on the field, my host family was excellent and I enjoyed the city of Walla Walla as well. It was great to be the first team to get to the playoffs and to win that first series.”
The Sweets led the league in attendance once again in 2011, drawing over 54,000 fans to rank in the top-20 nationally. Stanford set the single-season record in the WCL for most hits with 66, while Richardson led the league in ERA at 1.53 in 53 innings.
The Sweets off-field traditions brought just as much life to the ballpark as their play on it. In the eighth inning, the club would play “Love is Gone” by David Guetta over the sound system. Players would then emerge from the dugout and begin dancing, which brought the crowd to its feet every home game. This tradition seemed to give the team a boost as well, as they had the most come-from-behind victories after the seventh inning of any team in the league.
Broadcaster Tristan Hobbes also became a fan favorite in Walla Walla for some of his signature calls. For victories, Hobbes would close the game with the expression “The Sweets Win! How Sweet it is!“, while another common call was “Simon Says…Game Over!” call as closer Simon Anderson would wrap up a save.
2011 Season Notables:
The first edition of the “where are they now?” series will focus on the inaugural, 2010 Walla Walla Sweets team.
On Thursday, November 12, 2009, summer baseball had officially returned to Walla Walla.
In a packed gymnasium at Sharpstein Elementary School, the Walla Walla Sweets were announced as the newest addition to the West Coast League for the 2010 season. Introduced to the crowd that day was the ownership group that included current Sweets manager Jeff Cirillo, the first general manager Zachary Fraser, and first manager of the Sweets, J.C. Biagi. The Sweets would open at Historic Borleske Stadium on June 8, 2010 against the Wenatchee AppleSox.
In their first season in the West Coast League, the Sweets did not get off to a fast start under first year manager J.C. Biagi. The Sweets were 7-21 at the 28 game mark, but that did not stop the fans from showing support. They set the WCL record for attendance in their first season, drawing 40,461 fans during 28 home games in 2010, good for 23rd in the country in overall attendance. The Sweets ultimately finished the season 18-30. Despite missing out on the postseason, Walla Walla showed significant improvement in front of their record-selling crowd, posting an 11-9 record over their final 20 games.
Despite their record, the Sweets let the entire country know they were here to stay in their first season. On November 7, 2010, The Sweets were recognized by the Summer Baseball Conference 2010 for their inaugural season. The club was awarded the “Best Marketing Campaign” for the 2010 launch and season at the SBC ’10 Awards Gala presented by Baseball America.
|#||Player||B/T||Ht||Wt||College||Class||Hometown||Draft Status||Player Eligibility|
|31||Brian Biagi||R/R||6-2||215||Lewis Clark St.|
|16||A.J. Burke||R/R||6-3||220||Linn-Benton CC|
|15||Zach Clanton||R/R||6-0||180||Lewis Clark St.|
|34||Curtis Dupart||R/R||6-3||210||Washington St.|
|22||Jake Haight||R/R||6-1||200||Edmonds CC|
|55||Jacob Kemmerer||R/R||6-1||180||Edmonds CC|
|46||Chris Kerns||R/R||6-0||195||College of Southern Idaho|
|23||Jordan McLaughlin||R/R||6-1||185||Truman State University|
|19||Jacob Overbay||R/R||6-3||205||Edmonds CC|
|11||Michael Richard||R/L||6-0||205||Oklahoma City University|
|5||Ryan Richardson||R/R||5-10||160||Walla Walla CC|
|30||Joey Wagman||R/R||5-11||175||Cal Poly|
|26||Justin Windsor||R/R||6-2||195||Walla Walla CC||Junior|
|35||Kody Young||R/R||6-5||215||Columbia Basin College|
|#||Player||B/T||Ht||Wt||College||Class||Hometown||Draft Status||Player Eligibility|
|3||Josh Daniel||R/R||6-4||200||St. Johns (NY)|
|2||Elliot Stewart||R/R||5-10||190||Cal Poly|
|#||Player||B/T||Ht||Wt||College||Class||Hometown||Draft Status||Player Eligibility|
|39||Deven Braden||R/R||5-10||170||Chico St.|
|1||Denver Chavez||R/R||5-8||165||Cal Poly|
|33||Karsten Strieby||R/R||6-6||230||Arizona Western College|
|#||Player||B/T||Ht||Wt||College||Class||Hometown||Draft Status||Player Eligibility|
|9||Matt Comer||R/R||5-11||175||Seattle University||Bozeman, MT|
|12||Scott Gottschling||R/R||6-0||185||UC Irvine|
|29||Andy Matthews||R/R||6-4||220||Lewis Clark St.|
|18||Christian Ramirez||R/R||5-9||165||UC Irvine|
|East Division||W||L||PCT||GB||STREAK||LAST 10|
|Moses Lake Pirates||21||27||0.438||8||1W||4-6|
|Walla Walla Sweets||18||30||0.375||11||1L||2-8|
|West Division||W||L||PCT||GB||STREAK||LAST 10|
|Cowlitz Black Bears||18||30||0.375||13||1L||8-2|
The Sweets signature moment of the year came during late July when the team rattled off seven victories in eight games.
Pitcher Zach Clanton remembers many other great memories of his time in Walla Walla.
“The mock radio broadcasts Jacob Kemmerer and I would be doing in the bullpen,” Clanton said. “Going up with Andrew Algretta (original Sweets broadcaster) mid game, knowing I wasn’t going to pitch and hopping on the broadcast with him for the rest of the game. The Walla Walla Dog guy (brats stuffed with sweet onions) throwing all of the left overs when he shut down into the bullpen for us to eat and then having to come in against Cowlitz to close a game on a full stomach.”
Moments like these set the stage for the culture of the Sweets organization for years to come.
The culture was just starting to be built,” Clanton said. “That first year I don’t think it had fully set in yet, but afterwards watching what Zachary Fraser, JC and the rest of the crew were doing was really fun. They became one of the best ran teams in the WCL. Team wise, we were definitely a bunch of fun guys to be around and made Walla Walla a great place to spend the summer.”
Clanton is one of 10 players from the inaugural Sweets roster that continued his baseball career after college. Many players had their career stretch to the minor leagues while others, like Clanton, pursued a career in coaching.
2010 Season Notables:
The next edition of this series features the Sweets first playoff appearance and the marquee moments that took place at Borleske Stadium in 2011. This story will be posted Monday, January 25.
Lefty Duo Craven and Schwehr return for 2021
The Sweets will return two arms who both contributed to the team’s pitching staff in 2019. Schwehr pitched four games for the Sweets in the 2019 season and allowed just three earned runs in 9 1/3 innings pitched. Hailing from Boise, Idaho, Schwehr enters his third collegiate season as a member of Northwest Nazarene University after beginning his career at Walla Walla Community College. The southpaw locates his pitches well, has a solid fastball-curveball combination, and thrives at producing groundballs.
For Schwehr, returning to the Sweets means another opportunity to be involved with a tight-knit group of players and coaches.
“One of the biggest things I noticed in Walla Walla was the culture of the team,” Schwehr said. “It was a lot of fun to be around.”
Also back for his second season in a Sweets uniform is Craven, who is looking to build off a very successful 2019 West Coast League season. The left-hander from Goleta, California posted an impressive 1.99 ERA across 13 starts while holding opposing hitters to a batting average just north of .200.
Having played baseball since the age of five, Craven’s passion for the game is undeniable. While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused Craven and all players to make adjustments, the Whitman College pitcher has embraced staying disciplined and keeping his skills polished.
“COVID has given me a lot of time to prioritize my development as a baseball player and I am very excited to see how it transfers back to the mound,” Craven said. “I can’t stress enough how special it is to get the opportunity to compete on the field again and have fun playing the game we all love.”
Craven has enjoyed great success at Division III Whitman College. In 2019, he posted an 8-6 record – after a 1-4 beginning – with a 3.08 earned average in 16 appearances, 14 of which were starts. He logged 102.1 innings and allowed 98 hits, and 35 earned runs. He struck out 81 and walked 37. Opponents hit just .252 against him.
Outside of baseball, Craven is a biology major at Whitman and plans on attending medical school.
Like Schwehr, Craven was taken back by how embraced the Sweets were by the Walla Walla community and how much positive character the team had.
“Walla Walla has become my second home,” Craven said. “The Sweets are an incredibly run organization that really cares about the experience and development of its players. The guys they recruit are not just high-level baseball players but also excellent people.”
As the Sweets anxiously await the start of the 2021 season, the Walla Walla coaching staff is wasting no time bringing back many of the players that would’ve comprised the 2020 roster.
The first batch of new players return includes a well-rounded group of talent spanning the entire country. Justin Folz, Caleb Farmer, Mason Kokodynski, Nick Irwin, Chazz Martinez, Jake Dahle, Nate Dahle, Brayde Hirai and Jordan Stubbings are all set to return.
While these players present many unique skillsets and positions, they all share the anxiousness to return to the field after the cancellation of most spring and summer college baseball seasons. Despite adverse circumstances, players have found a way to push through and keep their games sharp.
Stubbings, a first baseman from Colorado-Mesa, used his love for the game as motivation to push through. Having a batting cage at home and an accessible weight room in his hometown of Parker, Colorado, helped as well.
“The last eight months have been a roller coaster but the biggest thing was keeping my game sharp,” Stubbings said. “You really just have to love the game to grind as hard as you had to for the last eight months.”
Some players, like Stubbing’s teammate Farmer, were able to find other leagues this past summer. The catcher and San Jacinto, California, native found another home in the Sunflower League in Kansas. With fall workouts now back in full swing as well, Farmer said he has been grateful to have the opportunities to keep his skills and in-game experience fresh.
“I was very fortunate that my school didn’t shut down during the fall semester so we were able to go through our regular fall schedule,” Farmer said.
Outside of baseball, Farmer said he’s enjoyed activities such as mountain biking, off-roading in his Jeep and fishing during the shutdowns.
Rounding out the position players are Folz and Martinez. Folz, a member of the St. John’s Red Storm, hit .294 in his 14-game shortened season. The Northwest Nazarene transfer also tied for the team lead in RBI’s (12) and paced the club with six multi-hit games.
Martinez, listed as both a position player and pitcher, is another versatile weapon for the Sweets. A sophomore at Orange Coast College, Martinez started his collegiate career at UCSB. Before that, he enjoyed a decorated career at Corona Del Mar High School where he was first-team Pacific Coast League twice.
Hirai, the Dahle brothers, Kokodynski and Irwin bring depth to a strong pitching rotation. Hirai spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons at Walla Walla Community College and will be playing in his third season with the Sweets. He posted a 1.94 ERA with the Sweets across 18 appearances in 2019.
Kokodynski returns for year number two at Borleske Stadium. The LMU freshman recorded five strikeouts in six appearances in his freshman year with the Lions. Outside of baseball, “Koko” says his favorite songs are Brandy by Looking Glass and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ American Girl.
Irwin, who was also a member of the 2019 squad, comes from Northwest Nazarene University. He is once again excited for the opportunity to return to the competitive WCL.
“It (the Sweets) gives me an environment filled with teammates that strive for success in a league that is filled with competition,” Irwin said.
Rounding out the new additions are the Dahle brothers, Jake and Nathan. Both players are Utah natives, with Jake pitching for the University of Utah and Nathan hurling for the College of Southern Idaho. Jake redshirted his sophomore campaign after pitching four games his freshman year. He posted a 4.00 ERA with the Sweets in 2019.
After traveling to Mexico City for a two-year mission trip, Nathan has smoothly transitioned back into baseball over the past few years. He posted a 2.87 ERA with 31 strikeouts across 14 appearances in 2019 and is excited to be back in 2021.
“I am highly anticipating my return to Walla Walla,” Dahle said. “I can’t wait to play in a competitive league such as the WCL.”Read Less
Sweets face Corvallis in home opener; feature 32 home games
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Walla Walla Sweets are ready for 2021.
After the 2020 season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sweets will return to play next summer at Borleske Stadium with 32 home games.
“It’s great to have the schedule for 2021 in hand,” Sweets general manager Cody Miller said. “It gives us a lot of optimism as we go through the offseason and into next summer.”
The Sweets will open their 11th season of West Coast League play June 4 with a six-game road trip to the Cowlitz Black Bears and the Wenatchee AppleSox. Walla Walla will play its home opener June 11 against the 2019 league champion Corvallis Knights.
The schedule release comes as the effects of COVID-19 continue to affect day-to-day life in the state and around the world.
“We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all of our fans, players, staff, host families and coaches,” Miller said. “We will follow all local, state, and federal guidelines as we continue to work through the pandemic and prepare for next season.”
After opening against Corvallis, the Sweets will host the Kamloops NorthPaws for a three-game series. The NorthPaws are one of three new teams to join the West Coast League for 2021, joining the Nanaimo NightOwls and the Edmonton Riverhawks and bringing the WCL to 15 teams in Washington, Oregon, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.
Season tickets and ticket voucher packages go on sale Monday.
June home dates: (11)
June 11-12-13: Corvallis Knights
June 15-16-17: Kamloops NorthPaws
June 18-19-20: Kelowna Falcons
June 29-30: Cowlitz Black Bears
July home dates: (15)
July 1: Cowlitz Black Bears
July 2-3: Northwest Star Nighthawks
July 5-6-7: Yakima Valley Pippins
July 9-10-11: Portland Pickles
July 20-21-22: Wenatchee AppleSox
July 23-24-25: Bend Elks
August home dates: (6)
August 6: Cascade Collegiate League
August 7-8: Highline Bears
August: 10-11-12: Ridgefield Raptors
Tommy Ott joins Miller in the Sweets front office; Three new teams added to the WCL for 2021
Despite the cancellation of the 2020 West Coast League season, the Sweets and the WCL made plenty of headlines in the off-season.
SWEETS ALUMNI TAKE PART IN SHORTENED MLB SEASON
Fortunately for baseball fans, the recently-concluded 2020 MLB season took place. This gave a few former Sweets players the opportunity to make their mark on the 2020 season, including Red Sox starting pitcher Matt Hall. Hall, who was acquired by the Red Sox this past off-season from the Detroit Tigers, made his first start at Fenway Park and allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings. He also struck out 2019 National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso in the first inning.
Hall, a Missouri State alum, played for Walla Walla in 2013. During that season, the southpaw posted an impressive 2.25 ERA while going 5-2 with 45 strikeouts. He played a big factor in leading the Sweets to the West Coast League North Division title.
Hall was selected as a fifth-round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft by the Tigers. He made his MLB Debut in 2018 with Detroit and spent two seasons in the Motor City before playing for Boston this past campaign.
Hall was not the only former Sweet to make a debut in the big leagues in 2020. Eric Yardley, a reliever for the Milwaukee Brewers, made his postseason debut in the wildcard round against the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. The 30-year-old right-hander held his own against the best squad in baseball, facing seven batters and striking out two while pitching 2 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball.
Yardley, a Seattle native, has enjoyed a successful start in his first two seasons in the big leagues. After posting 2.31 ERA in his rookie season with San Diego in 2019, Yardley took on a more prominent role in the Milwaukee bullpen and rose to the occasion. In 24 games this past season, he posted a 1.54 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings.
MLB DRAFT CONDENSED
The 2020 MLB draft was also shortened due to the pandemic, dropping to 5 rounds from the usual 40 rounds this past summer. The Sweets were still very well represented, as one alumnus and two 2020 signees saw their name called on draft day. Outfielder Garrett Mitchell was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers 20th overall in the 1st round of the draft out of UCLA. Mitchell was a member of the 2017 Sweets team where during his first at bat of the summer he sent the first pitch he saw over the scoreboard in right field at Borleske Stadium for a monstrous home run.
Nick Yorke and Kyle Harrison, who both were set to join the Sweets in 2020, also saw their names called on draft day. Yorke, a middle infielder, went 17th overall in the first round to the Boston Red Sox. Harrison, a left handed pitcher, went 85th overall in the 3rd round to the San Francisco Giants.
FRONT OFFICE ADDITIONS
The Sweets made moves within the organization as well. The club announced Tommy Ott as the new Director of Sales and Operations for the team. An alma mater of Central Washington with a major in Sport Management, Ott began his career in sports last summer as an intern for Walla Walla’s sister team, the Yakima Valley Pippins. He then joined the Tampa Bay Rays as a stadium operations intern in November 2019 before finding a home in Walla Walla.
“I was very excited to join the team back in February of this year and was obviously very disappointed with having to cancel our 2020 season,” Ott said. “The lack of having a season gave Cody (Miller) and I time to work on things that we would normally not have time to work on, such as redesigning our online merchandise store and changing our POS system for our downtown store.”
Ott, like so many others in the Walla Walla community, is excited for baseball to return to Borleske Stadium.
“The main thing I am looking forward to for this upcoming season is being able to meet Sweets fans in person and interact with them on game days,” Ott said. “It was very strange to not have baseball this past Summer, but I’m looking forward to being a part of hosting events and games that bring our community together in 2021.”
NEW TEAMS JOIN WEST COAST LEAGUE
The Edmonton Riverhawks were introduced as the 15th team in the WCL on September 15. The newest WCL team will play at RE/MAX Field, former home of the Pacific Coast League’s Edmonton Trappers.
“We are very excited to bring one of the best summer collegiate leagues in all of North America to Edmonton,” says Randy Gregg, Baseball Edmonton’s Managing Director. “In the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft, 90 West Coast League players were picked, including the No. 1 and No. 3 selections. Local sports fans will see future major league stars while they are playing in Edmonton during their college careers,” per the Riverhawks website.
Joining Edmonton as a Canadian expansion team will be the Kamloops NorthPaws, who were announced as the 14th West Coast League team on September 9. The team was introduced at a socially-distanced fanfare at their home field, Norbrock Stadium. The team hired 37-year-old Cole Armstrong as their first manager October 8. Armstrong has worked in Minor League Baseball with the Chicago White Sox organization since 2014.
“Kamloops and its residents have given so much to the sports community over the years. It’s a privilege to be involved with an ownership group and front office that has its sights set on giving something back to The Tournament Capital of Canada. I am excited to bring future Major League stars to Norbrock Stadium and with it, the chance for young fans to interact with them in a setting that only the West Coast League is able to provide,” Armstrong said, via the NorthPaws website.
Rounding out the new trio of WCL teams is the Nanaimo NightOwls. Based out of Nanaimo, British Columbia, the team was announced in July and has a history dating back over a century.
According to their website, the NightOwls nickname is a tribute to the city of Nanaimo for the field-light project that was recently completed. This project will allow night games at Serauxmen Stadium.
“We are thrilled to come on as the Founding Partner for the NightOwls to bring high-quality, collegiate-level baseball to Nanaimo,” said Kendall Gross, President at Island Savings. “Island Savings has a rich history with our local West Coast League baseball club in Victoria and we’ve seen, first-hand, the economic impact this team has in the community – a tradition we look forward to continuing in Nanaimo.” (via NightOwls website)
The leagues now sits at 15 teams for 2021, up from 12 last season.Read Less
Hall debuts; Former WCL pitcher Peterson picks up the win
WALLA WALLA, WA – It was a day of firsts in Boston on Tuesday night.
Former Sweets left-handed pitcher Matt Hall made his first Major League start for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Hall, who was acquired by the Red Sox this past off-season from the Detroit Tigers, was pegged as Boston’s fifth starter this season after having an impressive showing during Boston’s summer camp prior to the start of the shortened season.
In 2 2/3 innings against the New York Mets, Hall struck out three and allowed three runs on three hits. After working a 1-2-3 first inning, including a strikeout of 2019 NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, Hall ran into trouble in the second.
Hall surrendered a leadoff single then struck out Michael Conforto. But he then hit Yoenis Cespedes before giving up a double to Robinson Cano to allow the first run of the game. After retiring Wilson Ramos on a weak grounder, Hall walked Brandon Nimmo after missing on two close pitches that would have ended the inning. The walk proved costly, as Amed Rosario followed with a 2-RBI single. Hall got Alonso to fly out to center to end the inning.
Hall returned to start the third inning and made quick work of the first two hitters he faced, getting a flyout and a strikeout. But after walking Conforto on four straight pitches, Hall’s night was done as he was replaced by Austin Brice. Brice struck out Cespedes to end the inning.
While not the outing neither Hall nor the Red Sox had hoped for, it did mark the first time that a Walla Walla Sweets pitcher started a Major League game. Until last night, Hall had worked out of the bullpen in the minor leagues and with the Tigers when he was called up in September 2018.
Hall, who played his college ball at Missouri State University, was a member of the Sweets 2013 team that won the West Coast League North Division title. He went 5-2 during the summer, striking out 45 batters with an impressive ERA of 2.25. He was drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft by the Detroit Tigers.
Hall’s first start also coincided with the debut of left-hander David Peterson, also an alum of the West Coast League. Peterson, who pitched for the former WCL team Medford Rouges in 2014, took the mound for the Mets and picked up the win. He went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, striking out three and walking two.
The Mets won the game 8-3 and improved to 3-2, while the Red Sox fell to 1-4.Read Less
Garrett Mitchell first WCL player picked in 2020
In a shortened Major League Baseball draft, the Sweets saw three players selected in the five rounds on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Outfielder Garrett Mitchell, who suited up for the Sweets in 2017, was selected 20th overall in the first round by the Milwaukee Brewers. Two other players who were set to play for the Sweets in 2020, Nick Yorke and Kyle Harrison, were selected by the Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants, respectively.
Mitchell, who played at UCLA, was a highly touted prospect coming out of high school, where he was ranked as one of the top 50 prospects in his class. The California outfielder was originally drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 14th round in 2017, but ultimately decided to stick with his commitment to UCLA.
For the Sweets, Mitchell made an immediate impact. Batting leadoff in his first game, Mitchell took the first pitch he saw and launched it over the scoreboard in right field, landing in the parking lot of Borleske Stadium. Mitchell would finish the night 3 for 4 in his five plate appearances, adding a double and a triple with four runs batted in. He finished the summer with a .462 batting average and a .563 OBP.
Yorke, who had committed to the University of Arizona, is a middle infielder from Archbishop Mitty in Campbell, California. He was signed to play for the Sweets this summer with his brother Joey, a freshman at Boise State University, before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the 2020 West Coast League season. The right-handed hitter was a top-100 player in the country in this year’s Perfect Game recruiting class rankings and one who Wildcat coach Jay Johnson last fall described as “Plain and simple, no matter who is out there…is always the best player on the field in my opinion.” The Red Sox selected Yorke with the 17th overall pick Wednesday. They must sign him before the August 1 deadline.
Another California player, left-handed pitcher Kyle Harrison, was selected by the San Francisco Giants with the 85th overall pick in the third round. A top-50 prospect in his class, the left-hander was a prized piece of UCLA’s 2020 recruiting class, which was ranked 4th nationally by Baseball America. Harrison was seen as potential impact player during his freshman year, with UCLA manager John Savage describing him as “one of the top left handed pitchers in the country,” who “will have an opportunity to be a weekend starter right away.”
Preparations for 2021 already underway; Fans can rollover tickets from 2020 to 2021, coaching staff expected to return
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Originally expecting to travel to British Columbia to open their 2020 West Coast League season today, instead the Walla Walla Sweets unfortunately announce the cancelation of the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects felt across the Northwest.
“We are disappointed that there will not be Sweets baseball this summer,” Sweets general manager Cody Miller said. “We did everything we could as an organization and with the West Coast League to hold a season this summer, but unfortunately there became too many restrictions where we couldn’t provide our fans the experience at the ballpark that they have come to love and enjoy.”
Simultaneously, league members Cowlitz, Port Angeles, Ridgefield and Yakima Valley also are canceling their seasons. Five other teams in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia cancelled their seasons earlier this spring.
The Sweets remain committed to Walla Walla and the community for 2021 and beyond and are already preparing for next summer. Miller also said he expects the return of former MLB All-Star Jeff Cirillo, the Sweets new manager, along with assistants Larry Price and Jarrod Molnaa.
“In this season of pandemic and social unrest, we all want baseball to remind us of the best things in life,” Miller said. “The Sweets are committed to being on the field in 2021 and continue to believe that sports are a powerful force for equity and a sense of shared community in our region.”
Despite the cancellation news, Miller is grateful to see the progress made in Walla Walla County by advancing to Phase 2 of Washington state’s reopening plan and looks forward to having community events resume in Walla Walla this summer and fall.
“One thing this does allow us to do is get a head start on preparing for next season, and I can’t wait to see everyone in Borleske a year from now,” Miller said.
He also offered some additional news on pivoting to the 2021 season:
• In addition to the coaching staff, Miller expects many of the players from the 2020 roster to return for 2021.
• The Sweets will have a 32-game home schedule in 2021, up from 30 scheduled home games in 2020.
“Season ticket members with 2020 tickets will be able to roll over their tickets automatically to next year — and they’ll receive tickets to two additional games at no additional charge,” Miller said. Season ticket packages for new buyers will go on sale later this month, he added.
• The Sweets front office has already begun contacting ticket buyers and sponsors about the canceled season, and are providing options for moving purchases and sponsorship packages to next season.
• The 12 current teams in the WCL will be joined next year by an expansion team in Nanaimo, British Columbia, which joined the league earlier this spring.
Team continues to prepare for 11th season with delayed opening
Today, the West Coast League announced a delayed start to the 2020 season, originally scheduled for June 5, to early July, as a result of the recent announcements from governing officials in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, the states and province in which the league’s 12 teams are located.
The Sweets remain committed to playing the 2020 season at Borleske Stadium this summer.
“Unfortunately, starting the season on June 5 started becoming less and less realistic,” Sweets general manager Cody Miller said. “But, delaying the start to early July will allow us to monitor the situation as it develops. It will also make sure we are taking all the necessary steps to ensure that we provide a safe experience for our fans, players, coaches, and staff at the stadium.”
Miller also added that the team will follow all local, state, and federal guidelines while continuing to prepare for the season.
“We want to get back out playing as soon as possible, just like everyone else in the sports world,” he said. “Everyone is itching to get back to sense of normalcy, and I think we can be a big part of that here in Walla Walla when we are able to return to the field and have baseball back again.”
Due to other local, state, and provincial restrictions, some WCL teams will not be fielding a team this summer, the league announcement stated. But all 12 teams are committed to playing in 2021, and a 13th team in Nanaimo, British Columbia, will join the WCL next year.
With the delay of the season and some teams opting not to play, Miller said this will give the team time to prepare for a different season experience this year.
“This was definitely not the type of season I was expecting for my first year in this role,” Miller said. “But we’ll adjust. We are using this time and change of scheduling to implement social distancing at the ballpark, a focus to online ticket sales, and other practices. We will follow local, state, and federal health and safety guidelines while developing these new practices.”
The West Coast League will release a revised schedule in the next several weeks. All previously purchased tickets will be valid in the revised summer schedule and single-game and group ticket buyers will be able to transfer those tickets to new games as needed.Read Less
A freshman at Boise State and native of Campbell, California, Joe made an immediate impact in his first year as a Bronco. In 12 games he hit .275 and was tied for fifth in the Mountain West Conference with a .463 on-base percentage.
While his season was unfortunately cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe said he learned a lot in the short time he was able to play, including how to step up and help his team in different facets of the game when someone is having an off night.
“My biggest takeaway from my 12 games this season at Boise State is how important it is to play as a team and pick each other up,” Yorke said. “This is what allowed us to be successful over the few games we were able to play.”
Outside of playing baseball, Joe enjoys playing golf, playing the guitar, which he has known how to do since he was six years old, and rooting for the Los Angeles Angels.
Nick, a soon-to-be graduate of Archbishop Mitty High School and one of the top prospects in the 2020 class, is committed to the University of Arizona to continue his playing career in the Pac-12. He said the coaching staff stood out the most to him during his selection process.
“The second I stepped on campus I had a gut feeling and knew I wanted to be there in the coming years,” Yorke said. “The coaching staff was great to me and we built a very comfortable relationship.”
Despite both their seasons coming to unexpected ends, the two brothers continue to polish their game and stay sharp for when baseball does return. Nick has a batting cage set up in his backyard and routinely plays catch with his younger brother.
Even though Joe and Nick compete with each other often, Nick said it motivates them both to be better. Nick also said his brother’s leadership stands out the most to him.
“We compete in almost anything we can, but he is one of my best friends and I learn a lot from him,” Yorke said.
The Sweets season is still scheduled to begin Friday June 5 against the Kelowna Falcons. First pitch is set for 6:35.
During the challenges currently facing the world, team and league remain committed to all constituents
Over the past weeks, our lives have quickly changed because of the COVID-19 virus that our city, our state, our nation, and the world is struggling to deal with. Our priority during this time is the health and safety of all members of Sweets Baseball, from our staffs to our players, coaches, our fans, host families, and business partners. Each of these groups has helped build and support the Sweets over the past 10 years in Walla Walla.
The Sweets remain committed to Walla Walla and its amazing community. We also remain committed to playing West Coast League Baseball this summer at Borleske Stadium — but only when safe to do so, and in accordance with local, state, and federal guidelines. We will continue to monitor the developing situation and respond accordingly.
We share the disappointment with all local high school and collegiate athletes who won’t be able to play the sports they love and have been committed to for most of their lives. We are looking forward to soon seeing them on the playing field again.
The Sweets urge residents to follow local, state, and federal guidelines to not only keep yourselves safe, but to keep your families and neighbors safe as well. Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. Practice social distancing. Be patient with each other. And look out for one another.
We are in this together. We will get through this together. In doing so, we will be able to return to our daily lives with friends and families at the places we love here in Walla Walla. We can’t wait to see everyone again.
– Cody Miller
General MangerRead Less
The Sweets are set to welcome a new manager and pitching coach for the 2020 season, along with the return of an assistant coach.
Jeff Cirillo, a two-time MLB All-Star who hit .296 across 14 seasons, will take over as manager. The former major leaguer played over 1,600 games in his career and was an All-Star for Milwaukee in 1997 and Colorado in 2000.
“Being manager of the Sweets has always been of interest to me,” Cirillo said. “I believe I have a responsibility to the players, coaches and Walla Walla to provide a winning culture for all.”
Since retiring from the show in 2007, Cirillo has been involved in numerous activities. He currently works as a scout for the Los Angeles Angels and has also been involved with TV broadcasts for the Milwaukee Brewers. Outside of baseball, he has three sons and is active in his community.
One of his sons, Connor, played for the Sweets last season and will return in 2020.
“I have coached Connor for several years and I give him his freedom,” Cirillo said. “He knows that results matter and guys who play well in all areas get rewarded with playing time.”
Also joining the staff as a first-year pitching coach is Jarrod Molnaa. A Montana State Billings graduate, Molnaa recorded 8 wins last season for the Yellowjackets, a single-season program record. Prior to MSUB, Molnaa spent one season at Bellevue University and two years at Walla Walla Community College, where he was a two-time NWAC second-team selection.
After playing for the Sweets in 2017, Molnaa says he is excited to return to the team as a coach.
“I loved my time as a Sweet in 2017,” Molnaa said. “I think that experience is going to help me be a guiding voice to all the guys that come in for the summer as we work our way through the schedule.”
Rounding out the coaching staff is assistant Larry Price. A Boise, Idaho, native, Price has served as an associate scout with the Atlanta Braves since 2010 and held the same position with the Red Sox from 1995 to 2003.
“I am counting the days down to get back to Walla Walla,” Price said. I’m also privileged to work alongside Jeff Cirillo. He will bring a vast array of knowledge and he relates well with our ball players.”
With many players returning from last season, Price said the team should hit the ground running.
“I’m very excited to get back with the 10 to 12 of our returners,” Price said. “I felt we had a phenomenal chemistry last summer, and to get a great nucleus back is going to be a great advantage for our success.”Read Less
Sweets now at nine returning players from the 2019 Squad
The Sweets announced the signing of two-right handed pitchers Thursday, as brothers Jake and Nathan Dahle will return to the team in 2020. With these additions, the Sweets roster now sits at nine players, six of whom are pitchers.
Jake, a Tremonton, Utah, native and University of Utah sophomore, pitched in four games for the Sweets last season and posted a 4.00 ERA with seven strikeouts. As he enters his second season, Jake has his goals set out.
“I want to keep getting stronger and gain a greater consistency in all aspects of pitching,” Dahle said. “I also want to improve my velocity, curveball command and just overall consistency.”
After pitching one season in both leagues, Jake said the Pac-12 and West Coast League draw a lot of similarities.
“A lot of guys I play against in the WCL are guys I face in the spring,” Dahle said. “The atmospheres, fans and places to play are great in both leagues as well.”
While they are brothers, Jake and Nathan have gone down different paths in college. Nathan, a freshman at College of Southern Idaho, left the game for two years before returning for the Sweets last summer. The 6-foot-6 right-hander went on a full-time, two-year mission trip to Mexico City starting in 2016 that stretched to December 2018.
Nathan’s transition back onto the diamond was not easy.
“I was grateful for the opportunity I had to serve, but the comeback was extremely hard,” Dahle said. “Dedication in the weight room, running and throwing helped me catch my rhythm that I needed to be ready for Walla Walla.”
Nathan turned in an impressive campaign last year for Walla Walla. He posted a 2.87 ERA with 31 strikeouts across 14 appearances.
With the 2020 season looming, Nathan looks to build off his success and hit the ground running this year.
“I am highly anticipating my return to Walla Walla,” Dahle said. “I can’t wait to play in a competitive league such as the WCL.”
All three return for their second season in Walla Walla
The Sweets announced the signing of three players Friday, as the team roster now sits at seven players.
Mason Kokodynski, Wyatt Boone and Nick Irwin, all of whom were members of the 2019 squad, will dawn the Sweets uniform once again this season. All three players are right-handed pitchers and make up the third group of players brought in by first-year manager Jeff Cirillo.
Kokodynski, a Phoenix, Arizona, native, currently attends Loyola Marymount University where he is a freshman. The 6-foot-4 right-hander posted a 3-0 record for the Sweets last season and struck out 30 batters across 26.1 innings. Prior to college, he was ranked the 58th best prospect in Arizona and was three-year letter winner at Brophy College Prep.
LMU begins its season tonight with a three-game weekend series against Washington.
Like Kokodynski, Boone is a right-handed pitcher and enters his second season in Walla Walla. The 5-foot-10 righty from San Juan Capistrano, California, is a hard thrower with a fastball that tops out in the low 90s. He also mixes in a 12-6 curveball and a changeup to keep hitters off balance.
Now at his third school in Walla Walla Community College, Boone is well traveled at this point in his career. After spending his freshman season at Seattle University, Boone posted solid numbers for Saddleback College in 2019. He finished with a 3.24 earned run average across 16.2 innings, allowed six earned runs, and fanned 22 batters.
Walla Walla CC gets its 2020 season started February 29 in a home matchup against Tacoma.
Currently in his sophomore campaign at Northwest Nazarene University, Irwin posted a 4.58 ERA with three wins, two saves and 20 strikeouts last year. He’s made one appearance for NNU so far this year, in which he struck out four hitters in 2.1 innings pitched.
Irwin resides in Kennewick, Washington, one hour away from Walla Walla. He is looking to forward to donning a Sweets uniform once again.
“It (the Sweets) gives me an environment filled with teammates that strive for success in a league that is filled with competition,” Irwin said.
Farmer and Stubbings each return for their second seasons in Walla Walla
Both juniors at Division II Colorado-Mesa, Stubbings and Farmer have enjoyed successful collegiate campaigns from both individual and team perspectives. Their efforts helped lead the Mavericks to a 53-12 record, a 26th Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title (sixth consecutive), and an appearance in the Division II National Championship last season. Their quest for a national title in 2020 begins today with a match-up against Nova Southeastern.
With Stubbings back in the fold, the Sweets have a dangerous power threat in the middle of the lineup. The 6-foot-1 junior from Parker, Colorado, hit .359 with 24 home runs and 108 runs batted in in his first two seasons as a Maverick. He was named First Team All-RMAC last season and was Second Team All-RMAC after leading the Mavericks in home runs, RBI’s, slugging percentage and fielding percentage his freshman season.
Sweets Assistant Coach Larry Price is excited to have the 2018 RMAC Freshman Position Player of the Year back on board.
“Jordan brings with him a great bat,” Price said. “He’s a middle of the order hitter who can hit the ball well to all fields. He never stops working and strives to be the best hitter he can be.”
Stubbings is happy to return to Walla Walla for many reasons, including getting to play in front of family members from the area.
“The added factor of some of my family members being in the area helps make up for the time that I don’t get to spend with them when I’m in Colorado,” Stubbings said. “I love seeing my little cousins at games and seeing their faces light up.”
Like Stubbings, Farmer also earned First Team All-RMAC honors in the 2019 season. That selection was the second for Farmer in two years, as he finished last season with a .328 average, seven home runs and 46 RBI’s. The San Jacinto, California, native is a versatile player defensively as well as he can catch and play around the infield.
Farmer’s experience at the national championship last year has him hungry for more this go-around .
“I still get chills thinking about it,” Farmer said. “It was something we were very proud to be apart of and it was neat to put our mark in the history book. Our goal is to get back there this year.”
While they are both great individual talents, what stands out the most to Price about the two players is their selflessness.
“They both put the Sweets club before themselves and are top notch teammates,” Price said. “They come from a college program that prepares them extremely well not just on the field, but off of it as well. I’m so excited to have both quality young men back in the program.”
Its the first announced signings for manager Jeff Cirillo, who will begin his first season with the Sweets this summer.
Folz, currently at St. John’s, hit .276 with 19 RBI’s for the Sweets last season. Before St. John’s, the Monroe, Washington, native spent one season each at Palomar College and Northwest Nazarene University. At Palomar, he posted a .333 average with two home runs and 19 RBI’s.
Last summer, Folz delivered one of the best moments of the season with a 9th inning, go-ahead grand slam in game two of the opening round of the WCL playoffs agianst the Corvallis Knights. He still remembers how special the moment was.
“The grand slam definitely ranks number one in my favorite baseball moments ever,” Folz said. “It’s what every kid dreams of in the backyard. I was just fortunate enough to get the opportunity to live it out.”
St. John’s kicks off its season on February 14th at Kennesaw State, where they begin a weekend trip through the state of Gerogia. They will also face Georgia State, and the 19th ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the road trip.
With Hirai, he returns for his third summer with the Sweets. The Pasco, Washington native and current Central Washington player posted a 1.94 ERA for the Sweets last season, held opponents to a .125 average and threw 11 consecutive scoreless innings to end the season. He previously played locally at Walla Walla Community College for the Warriors in 2018 and 2019 before transferring to CWU.
While he’s enjoyed individual success, Hirai’s experiences with teammates, coaches, and the community have stood out to him the most.
“The coaching staff and players are awesome, and the community always provides a lot of support,” Hirai said. “Getting to play with and against such great competition has helped me grow as a player, and the coaches have given me great tips to help me develop as well.”
Central Washington heads to California to start the 2020 season this Friday, January 31st where they will take on Stanislaus State for a weekend series.
The Sweets begin the 2020 season on Friday, June 5th in Canada at the Kelowna Falcons. The Sweets first home game is Friday, June 12th at Borleske Stadium. Season Tickets, mini plans, and now Single Game tickets are on sale at WallaWallaSweets.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the downtown store at 109 E. Main Street, or via phone at 509-522-BALL.
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Ohio native Brandon Monty will be the play-by-by broadcaster and director of media relations for the 2020 season.
Currently a senior at Ohio University, Monty spent last summer as the play-by-play broadcaster of the Mat-Su Miners of the Alaska Baseball League. Monty also broadcasts for BobcatTV at OU for the soccer, field hockey, women’s basketball and baseball teams.
“After getting my first dose of collegiate summer baseball last year, I am very excited to be joining the Sweets this season,” Monty said. “This is an incredible opportunity and I am very much looking forward to being a part of this organization and the community.”
Monty grew up in Painesville, Ohio, 30 minutes northeast of Cleveland and the hometown Indians. Despite his playing career ending in 10th grade, he knew he wanted to continue to be involved in baseball. He credits current Indians radio broadcaster Tom Hamilton as a major source of inspiration to pursue a career in broadcasting.
“I listened to him almost every day every summer. The way he calls games truly inspires me. The passion, energy, enthusiasm and way he painted the picture of every game is something I want to emulate when I’m in the booth,” Monty said.
Sweets general manger Cody Miller is looking forward to having Monty on board as the new voice of the Sweets.
“Brandon’s quality of work in the Alaska Baseball League really stood out last summer, and I’ve heard nothing but great things about him,” said Miller. “I look forward to working with him this year and I think Sweets fans will enjoy his commentary this summer for the team.”
On top of play-by-play, Monty has also worked as a reporter at OU. He’s been involved with WOUB Bobcat Showcase, which covers all OU sports, Hardwood Heroes, a high school basketball TV show, and Gridiron Glory, a high school football TV show. As both a reporter and broadcaster, he has seen the kind of positive impact sports can have on a community.
“The more you work in sports media, the more you realize that sports have a substantial impact off the field and in the community they are in,” Monty said. “One of my favorite things about being in this industry is getting to know people and sharing stories and experiences. Sports fans are passionate and want their teams covered in the best way, and because of that, I always want to do the best job I can.”
The first broadcast will be on the road as the Sweets open their 2020 season against the Kelowna Falcons on June 5th. The Sweets first home game is also against the Falcons on Friday, June 12th. Tickets will be on sale later this month.
Former standout third baseman replaces Mutz as Manager
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Two-time Major League All-Star Jeff Cirillo has been announced as the new manager for the Walla Walla Sweets.
Cirillo, currently a scout for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, had a 14-year playing career in the Major Leagues that included the Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners. He played in more than 1,600 games, compiling a career .296 batting average with 112 home runs and 727 RBIs. He was an All-Star for Milwaukee in 1997 and for Colorado in 2000.
“I’m excited to take the next step and coach at a higher level,” Cirillo said. “Being in Walla Walla last year to watch my son Connor play (on the Sweets) and be a part of the team, I look forward to being a part of the Walla Walla community and to bring a championship to the Sweets organization.”
Cirillo is an alumnus of the University of Southern California, where he originally was a pitcher for the Trojans before moving to third base. In 1991, the Brewers selected Cirillo in the 11th round of the MLB draft. Just three years later, he made his major league debut with Milwaukee on May 11, 1994. While a great hitter at the plate, Cirillo was also a stout defensive third baseman. He currently shares the major league record of 99 consecutive error-less games at third base.
Cirillo is the third manager for the Sweets. He succeeds manager Frank Mutz, who stepped down after the 2019 season. Mutz managed the Sweets from 2015 to 2019, collecting 153 wins and a .531 winning percentage and led the Sweets to a postseason appearance in 2019.
“It’s great to build off the success that Frank and (team president) Zachary (Fraser) established here, and to be able to carry that into 2020,” Cirillo said. “Coming off a playoff appearance last summer, it’s a testament to Frank to be able to come into a position like this and have that to build on.”
Cirillo’s Major League background and connections to colleges and programs across the country has Sweets general manger Cody Miller excited for the outlook of the team next season.
“It’s a fantastic asset to bring Jeff on as manager,” Miller said. “His experience and success he had in the Major Leagues is something that will be a great benefit for the Sweets in the WCL. I know our group of players next year are going to get some of the best coaching and instruction both on and off the field. I couldn’t be more excited about next season.”
Cirillo and assistant coach Larry Price have been working on building the Sweets’ 2020 roster for the past several weeks.
“The roster is very competitive,” Cirillo said. “It is going to have a great blend of top recruits from various schools and the leadership of returning players from the 2019 team. I think we are in for a good season.”
The Sweets will begin announcing the 2020 roster in late January.
Cirillo is also a partner in Pacific Baseball Ventures, which owns and operates the Sweets and the Yakima Valley Pippins. He currently resides in Bellevue, Wash., and loves spending time with his three sons, Cole, Carson, and Connor. Connor, who was a member of the Sweets in 2019, is currently a freshman at USC and will be on the Trojans’ baseball squad this coming spring.
The Sweets open their 2020 home season June 12 against the Kelowna Falcons at Borleske Stadium. Season tickets, mini plans, and ticket vouchers are now on sale at the Sweets Shoppe in downtown Walla Walla at 109 E. Main St., or by calling 509-522-BALL. Single-game tickets for the 2020 season go on sale in January.Read Less
Join the Sweets organization and escape the cold winter in the Walla Walla Valley for a burst of sunshine, cold drinks, and baseball in Arizona. We join our friends with the Seattle Mariners and enjoy the rite of passage that is Spring Training.
Bookings are available now, and space is limited.
Details of our 2020 trip are:
Depart Sunday, March 8, return Thursday, March 12
Trip to include 5 days/4 nights/3 games (2 in Peoria, 1 on the road)
Includes: round-trip airfare from Pasco-Phoenix | Ground Transportation (to and from the airport to hotels and hotels to ballparks) | Hotel accommodations | game tickets to three spring training games | special behind-the-scenes look at the 2020 M’s and the facilities
Cost: $1,495/pp (double-occupancy)
Past trips have included meeting Mariners greats, visits with the management team, and a chance to see live bullpens from All-Star pitchers inside the practice facility. In addition to the great behind-the-scenes, the company has been fantastic; it is a great way to end winter and prepare for the warmth of summer.
“I’ve always heard great things about the trip to Peoria” Sweets general manager Cody Miller said. “Getting to experience it this past spring, I can see why. We can’t wait to get back down there!”
To schedule or for additional emails, contact Sweets travel partner Paul Schneidmiller at Worldwide Travel Service via phone (509-525-8040) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read Less
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Pacific Baseball Ventures, owner of the Walla Walla Sweets, announced today new leadership for the team’s second decade, which begins with the 2020 season.
Cody Miller, a three-year member of the Walla Walla Sweets front office, has been named general manager of the organization, which competes in the West Coast League.
Miller, who has a degree in sports management from Washington State University, joined the team as an operations intern for the 2017 season. That fall, he was promoted to a full-time employee, focusing on ticket sales, sponsorship development and stadium operations. His role was expanded prior to the 2019 season to include overseeing food and beverage operations at Borleske Stadium, in addition to his duties as assistant general manager.
“Baseball has a great history in Walla Walla, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting people in the area who not only are great Sweets fans, but really care about the organization and our goals and expectations,” Miller said. “We want to build on that as we move into our 11th season, and grow our partnership base and our fan base.”
Miller’s promotion follows the departure of Zachary Fraser, who will end his active role as of Nov. 30, 2019. Pacific Baseball Ventures (PBV) selected Fraser to start the Sweets in 2010 as general manager and team president, and also the Yakima Valley Pippins in 2014. He informed the PBV partners that he would not be returning for the 2020 season, and has been working with both teams to prepare an effective transition plan.
“We appreciate Zachary’s many contributions over the years and welcome Cody, who in many ways represents the development opportunities this team and league represent. It is a tribute to Zachary that Cody is ready to assume these additional responsibilities,” according to Seattle Mariners’ Chairman and PBV partner John Stanton. PBV partner Peter van Oppen noted, “they are big shoes to fill but we are eager to watch Cody build on the Sweets’ already solid foundation.”
During Fraser’s tenure, the Sweets advanced to the playoffs three times in their 10-year history, including a trip to the WCL championship series in 2011. The Pippins, who will enter their seventh season in 2020, also advanced to the playoffs three times during their first four years, including becoming the winningest WCL expansion team over its first two years and advancing to the playoffs in its inaugural season.
Both teams have also produced several professional players, including at the major league level — 2013 Walla Walla alum Matt Hall joined the Detroit Tigers in September 2018 and 2011 Sweets alum Eric Yardley advanced to San Diego Padres this past August. Reed Garrett, the Pippins’ opening day pitcher in 2014, made the Tigers’ Opening Day roster this past spring.
Fraser will pursue other ventures after leading the first 10 years of Sweets baseball and the first six years of the Pippins. “I am excited for Cody to have this opportunity in Walla Walla and for Pippins GM Jeff Garretson to expand his role in Yakima,” said Fraser. “They are both talented leaders in a good position to continue the long-term success that we’ve built over the last 10 years.”
“My family and I love Walla Walla, have developed dear friends in Yakima, and are excited to leave the Sweets and the Pippins in good hands as we pursue our next story,” he said. ”A decade is a long time in the West Coast League!”
Miller is leading the search for a new Sweets manager for the 2020 after the departure of Frank Mutz, who managed the team from 2015-2019.
Season tickets, mini plans and flex plans are currently on sale for the 2020 season at the Sweets office in downtown Walla Walla and will be ready for purchase online no later than Jan. 15, 2020.Read Less
Walla Walla, WA – The Sweets will begin their second decade of baseball in Walla Walla with a visit from the Kelowna Falcons from north of the border. After six road games to start the 2020 season, the Sweets will host the Falcons for a three game weekend series beginning Friday, June 12th. Walla Walla will finish the homestand with three more games against the Portland Pickles.
2020 will see the 11th season of Sweets Baseball in Walla Walla. The Sweets are coming off their first playoff appearance since 2013. They would eventually lose a hard-fought divisional series to the Corvallis Knights, eventual four-time consecutive WCL champions. Walla Walla will be looking to make the playoffs in back to back years for the first time in franchise history.
After the opening home series with Kelowna and Portland, the Sweets will have one more WCL homestand in June when they host the Cowlitz Black Bears. Before the home opener, the Sweets will travel to Kelowna to begin their season, followed by a second three-game road series with the Bend Elks. Walla Walla will then finish out the first half of the season by hosting the Ridgefield Raptors to start July, before heading to arch rival Yakima Valley for a three-game road series over the July 4 weekend.
The second half of the schedule sees the Sweets at home for the majority of July, with 16 total home games. Visits from Wenatchee, Bend, and Bellingham will be played at historic Borleske Stadium before the All-Star break, with the Pippins making their way east to end the month.
The Sweets finish off the regular season home schedule against Corvallis, looking to extract a little revenge from last year’s playoff.
The schedule features 54 WCL games, and three non-league opponents. Dates and non-league opponents will be announced later in the off-season.
June home dates (11):
June 12-13-14: Kelowna
June 16-17-18: Portland
June 23-24-25: Cowlitz Black Bears
June 30: Ridgefield Raptors
July home dates (16):
July 1-2: Ridgefield Raptors
July 7-8-9: Wenatchee AppleSox
July 10-11-12: Bend Elks
July 17-18-19: Bellingham Bells
July 28-29-30: Yakima Valley Pippins
August home dates (3):
August 7-8-9: Corvallis KnightsRead Less
He leaves after 5 seasons with the most wins in team history, and following a return to the WCL Playoffs
Frank Mutz, who has skippered the Walla Walla Sweets since the 2015 season, shared with team president Zachary Fraser that he will not be returning to manage the club in 2020. Mutz and his family live in Las Vegas, NV, where his year-round employment in education and education development will not allow him to spend the summer months in the Pacific Northwest.
“I have loved being a small part of the Sweets Family over these past five seasons,” said Mutz. “I will miss the time with friends at the stadium, competing every night in a great stadium, and the relationships with the players and coaches that form each summer.
“I will cherish the time that I spent in Walla Walla and the friendships that will continue.”
Mutz arrived as a decorated former minor league player, MLB scout, and high school coach from Southern California. A challenging first season on the field was followed by 3 winning seasons out of the last 4, including a return to the WCL playoffs following the 2019 campaign. His total regular season wins (153) and winning percentage (.531) are team records.
Two accomplishments stand out: Mutz’ ability to work with major universities such as UW, USC, UCLA and other major programs with strong baseball pedigrees, and his efforts to help junior-college players connect and sign with the best D1 programs. His deep network of connections in the college game was a benefit to players who often don’t have assistance in the process of finding the best fit for the next step in their playing and academic careers.
“Frank has become a dear friend, and someone who never hesitated to roll up his sleeves and engage in our community,” said Fraser. “From cleaning the stadium when we were short-handed, to visiting community events, churches, and other service opportunities, Frank dove right in.
“We appreciate his efforts on our behalf, and his work to develop good players and young men. I look forward to staying close to Frank and his family.”
Mutz regular-season record by year (playoffs marked with an *):
The search for the next manager of the Sweets has already started and the selection will be announced later in the off-season.
Photo Credit: Hutson Photography/Walla Walla Sweets
The 2019 edition of the Walla Walla Sweets gave local fans plenty to cheer about during the franchise’s 10th season of West Coast League existence. Walla Walla commenced its season with an 8-0 start against WCL opponents, the best start in its history, achieved the franchise’s third 30-win regular season, and punched its first postseason ticket since 2013 after claiming the WCL South Division’s wild-card berth. The Sweets also garnered the franchise’s first playoff victory since 2011.
Now that we have you energized Sweets Nation, let us go forward with a rendezvous down memory lane.
Walla Walla – managed by Frank Mutz, assisted by Larry Price, Ryan Johnston, and Cameron Richman – opened 2019 by sweeping a three-game series with eventual league-champion Corvallis at Borleske Stadium by scores of 8-2, 6-3, and 5-3. Game one was tight until a five-run Sweets uprising in the bottom of the eighth inning left little doubt about the final outcome. Brock
Ephan had a pair of doubles while Patrick Caulfield, Parker Price, and Brandon Wagstaff joined him in the two-hit parade. Caulfield followed up his multiple-hit effort with four safeties in game two of the series as the Sweets survived their opponent and a pair of weather delays. David Le Bioda and Justin Folz, along with Caulfield, had two hit apiece as Walla Walla completed the season-opening sweep.
What did the Sweets do for an encore? They broomed Bend, 3-0, 9-6, and 16-11. Bryson Spagnuolo, Nick Irwin, Charles Harrison, and Reid Sebby combined on a four-hit shutout in the opener. Caulfield had two hits including a lead-off home run in the first inning and Cesar Lopez contributed two knocks and a seventh-inning RBI. Walla Walla built a 6-0 lead in the second game of the series, but had to scored three times in the bottom of the eighth to eke out a 9-6 triumph. Lopez and Folz homered, and Mason Kokodynski threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the eighth, to bring another sweep to fruition the following night.
Following a pair of non-league wins at home over the Highline Bears to complete a spotless homestand, the Sweets ventured to Wenatchee for a three-game series with the soon-to-be, playoff-bound AppleSox over Father’s Day weekend. The series opener was highlighted by a two-out, two-run home run by Carson Green in the ninth inning that was the difference in a 3-1 Walla Walla win. The Sweets won game two of the set to improve to 8-0 in the WCL, but dropped the finale, 11-10, despite a 7-0 lead after two-and-a-half innings of play.
Walla Walla returned home for six-games at Borleske Stadium and registered series wins over Portland and Port Angeles. Big blows during this Borleske stay were a three-run homer by Caulfield in the series opener with Portland and a ninth-inning, walk-off bomb by Chazz Martinez in the middle game of the Port Angeles series, won by the home team by a 9-8 tally.
The Sweets went 3-3 on their first six-game road trip that closed out the month of June. Walla Walla dropped the first two games in Bend, 4-2 and 2-1, but rebounded for an 8-3 triumph in the series finale. Martinez started a five-run rally in the sixth inning of the latter battle with a home run. Walla Walla carried that momentum to Ridgefield and won the first two games of that set, 5-2 and 13-9, before dropping the last game of the series 6-3. Pitchers Landon Boeneke, Ty Hueckman, and Irwin teamed up to blank the Raptors on four hits over the first seven innings in the opener while Caulfield set the tone for a four-hit performance and a wild game two with a homer to lead off the matchup.
July started with a three-game home series against the Cowlitz Black Bears. The Sweets clobbered Cowlitz, 13-4, in the opener, dropped a heartbreaking 7-6 decision in the middle game of the series, then celebrated the Fourth of July with a 6-4 conquest. Ben Fariss capped a five-RBI night and Walla Walla’s scoring in game one with a grand-slam home run and Caleb Farmer keyed a four-run, sixth-inning rally on Independence Day with a two-run triple.
Walla Walla traveled north the first weekend of the month and dropped two out of three games to Kelowna to end the first half of league play with an 18-9 record. The Sweets did win the north-of-the-border finale, 6-3, thanks in part to a couple of RBI each from Michael Petrie and Connor Cirillo. It split two games in Bellingham, losing the opener 4-1 and taking the next outing, 11-7. The Sweets, who got three RBI from Martinez – including a two-run bomb in the second inning – and two runs batted in from Lopez, scored all of their runs in the victory over the Bells with two out.
Disappointment was the order of the week after non-league games with the Military All-Stars and Cascade Collegiate League. Walla Walla lost two of three games against Victoria, including a 19-inning marathon, and suffered a road sweep in Corvallis before heading into the All-Star Break.
Walla Walla resumed league play with a series win over Wenatchee at Borleske Stadium. The shining light was provided by Johnston, who no-hit the AppleSox for six-and-a-third innings in game two of the series, won by the good guys 3-2. He ended up with six-and-two-thirds innings worked, allowed just one run and one hit, and struck out eight. Lopez, Martinez, and Le Bioda backed up Johnston with an RBI apiece in the first inning. Ephan contributed a two-RBI double as the final piece of a four-run seventh inning in the series’ initial act.
The Sweets won three and lost three on their final six-game adventure away from Borleske Stadium that took them to Cowlitz and Portland, closed out the month of July, and spilled into August. Walla Walla got the big bats out against the Black Bears and scored 12 runs in each of the final two games of the series at Story Field on the Lower Columbia College campus in Longview, games that ended with desired results by 12-2 and 12-6 counts. Ephan had two hits in both of those games. Brayde Hirai and Boeneke allowed just one run apiece in the middle game. Ephan collected two more hits and a sacrifice fly in a July 31 win at Portland.
Walla Walla ended the home segment of its 2019 schedule with a 4-and-2 showing. Big moments spotlighted were a come-from-behind victory over Ridgefield and a post-season clinching conquest of Kelowna. Bryce Vitt hit a three-run double and Emanuel Dean singled him in as the Sweets rallied from a three-run, ninth-inning deficit to top the Raptors, 8-7. Hirai, Hueckman, Jake Dahle, and Sebby combined on a three-hitter in a 4-0 victory over the Falcons that helped Walla Walla secure its postseason ticket.
The Sweets claimed win No. 30 of the season Aug. 10 with an 11-5 trouncing of Yakima Valley. Caulfield and Craven set all-time league records during the game. Craven tossed the first inning-and-a-third in his 13th start of 2019 and Caulfield stole his 41st base of the season in the sixth inning. Green clobbered a three-run home run in the third inning that put the Sweets up, 5-0. Craven, Boeneke, and Nate Dahle skunked the Pippins through the first seven frames.
Caulfield ended the regular season as the league’s seventh-leading hitter (.328) and Lopez was the third most prolific producer of runs batted in (39). Craven was 1-2 with a 1.99 earned run average. He threw 40.2 innings, allowed 30 hits, 11 runs, nine earned, walked 15 and struck out 41. Teammates Hueckman and Boeneke were part of a second-place log jam in the WCL with five wins.
The Sweets dropped the WCL South Division Series opener to the Knights, 6-3, at Borleske Stadium before keeping their season afloat with a dramatic game-two victory at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. Caulfield tied the game in the ninth with a single and, one out and an intentional walk later, Folz towered a grand-slam home run to right field to shatter a 4-4 tie. Hirai capped the six-run blitz with an RBI single, then retired the Knights in order in the last of the ninth.
Walla Walla’s aspirations of reaching the WCL championships series ended the following evening after a 6-2 setback in the rubber game of the series.
Despite the hard-to-swallow ending, no one can doubt that this patch of Walla Walla Sweets produced memories that local baseball fans will remember for a long time and get them fired up for 2020. It will be here before you know it – perhaps another summer to remember.Read Less
Yardley, a member of the division-winning 2011 club, was called up by the San Diego Padres
In most cases, it is seen as a slight. In this case, it is used as a positive adverb to highlight the tenacity, will and talent it takes to not be selected by an MLB team – go the independent route out of college – and be able to pitch in a regular-season Major League Baseball game.
Today, Eric Yardley became the second former Walla Walla Sweet to get called up to the Major Leagues, when the San Diego Padres selected his contract from El Paso of the PCL. He joins Matt Hall, who is currently with the Detroit Tigers.
Yardley is a local product – from Richland High in the Tri-Cities – and pitched for Seattle U when he came over to Walla Walla to pitch for the 2nd-year Sweets. That season, the club stunned powerhouse Wenatchee AppleSox in the playoffs, winning the division and reaching the WCLCS. He struggled that year – on a team that had nine pitchers with sub-2.50 ERA, it was difficult for him to find success. In fact, the team opted not to re-sign him for the 2012 campaign.
“Than he goes to Klamath Falls, he had developed his submarine style that he had started experimenting with in Walla Walla, and he just dominated us,” said team president Zachary Fraser, who was the GM at the time. “Looking back, he was definitely one that we missed out on in year 2.
“But his story is fantastic. Not drafted, signed to the Pecos League, and now 6-7 years later in the minors finally earning his way to the big leagues? How do you NOT root for a guy like that?!”Read Less
A successful 2019 season that was highlighted by 31 wins – including an exciting playoff victory over the three-time defending West Coast League champion Corvallis Knights – came to a disappointing end for the Walla Walla Sweets on Thursday night.
Corvallis brought the Sweets season to a close with a 6-2 victory in game three of the WCL’s South Division Playoff Series at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field.
The Knights will face the Victoria HarbourCats in the West Coast League Championship Series.
Walla Walla’s regular-season record was 30-23. It ended the summer, with non-league and postseason games factored in, at 36-25.
Corvallis scored an unearned run in the second inning to break a scoreless tie. Michael Curialle led off with a walk and Nick Yovetich lifted a fly ball into the right-center field alley that was destined to drop for an extra-base hit, and would have had it not been for a diving, highlight-reel catch by centerfielder Patrick Caulfield. Walla Walla starting pitcher Landon Boeneke struck out Trace Tammaro for the second out of the inning, but Jake Harvey reached on a two-base error to keep the inning going. Jake Holcroft singled in Curialle to give the Knights a 1-0 edge.
Boeneke retired Corvallis 1-2-3 in the third inning before allowing another unearned run in the fourth. A lead-off error allowed Curialle to take first. One out later, Tammaro doubled Curialle home to double the Knights’ lead to 2-0.
The Sweets managed just one hit through the first five innings against Corvallis starter Connor Redmond. But that changed in the sixth when Carson Green belted Redmond’s first offering to left for a home run that cut the Knights’ advantage to 2-1.
A sixth-inning fielder’s choice got Corvallis back up by two, 3-1.
Briley Knight started the home seventh with a bunt single against Sweets reliever Brennan Patterson. Two outs later, Patterson walked Curialle on a borderline 3-2 pitch, then went 3-2 on Yovetich before allowing a three-run home run to right.
Walla Walla sent up the minimum number of hitters in both the eighth and ninth innings, and was unable to kick up its rally heels in either frame.
There’s Always Next SeasonRead Less
Justin Folz towered a two-out, grand-slam home run to highlight a six-run, ninth-inning rally Wednesday night to lift the Walla Walla Sweets to a 9-4 victory over the Corvallis Knights in game two of the West Coast League South Division Playoff Series at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field.
The stunning comeback evened the best-of-three set at one game apiece and sets up a third and series-deciding contest Thursday night in Corvallis.
Brayde Hirai led off the game-deciding frame with a walk against Corvallis closer Connor Knutson – who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth Tuesday night in the Knights’ series-opening 6-3 triumph. One out later, Hirai advanced to second on a wild pitch and Parker Price walked. Patrick Caulfield bounced a single into left field that brought Hirai in with the tying run. With two out, Chazz Martinez was intentionally walked to set the stage for Folz’s magic moment. Folz worked Knutson for a full count. After fouling off the next three pitches, including a delivery that was lined down the right-field line that was ruled outside of fair territory, Folz took Knutson’s next offering over the right-field wall that sent the Sweets dugout into a state of exuberance and stunned an announced crowd of 1,065.
Corvallis scored three times in the third inning. Jake Harvey got the Knights on the board with a two-run triple and Andy Atwood followed with an RBI single.
The home team added another run in the fourth. Michael Curialle doubled with one out and Jake Harvey two-bagged him in with two out.
Hirai threw five scoreless innings in relief of starter Ryan Johnston to keep Walla Walla within reach. He gave up two hits, two walks, and struck out five and retired nine of the last 12 hitters to face him.
Wednesday’s victory was Walla Walla’s first this season when trailing after seven and eight innings. Prior to the win, the Sweets were 0-14 when behind after seven innings and 0-17 when down after eight.
The home loss was just the fifth this season for Corvallis in 28 games at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field.
A pair of two-out swings were the difference Tuesday night as the Walla Walla Sweets opened their best-of-three West Coast League South Division Playoff Series with a 6-3 loss to the three-time defending champion Corvallis Knights at Borleske Stadium.
A single by Jake Holcroft and a home run off the bat of Jake Harvey helped doom Walla Walla’s chances.
Holcroft, who had three hits in the game, led off the first inning with a double in the left-center field gap off of Sweets starter Travis Craven. Andy Atwood drove Holcroft in with a single to center.
Craven settled down after the early misfortune. He struck out Briley Knight, Brooks Lee flied to center, and Zack Moeller skied to right.
The Sweets were retired 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first by Knights’ starter Tevita Gerber, but not without controversy. Parker Price bunted down the first base line with one out and reached base safely when Gerber’s feed to first baseman Trace Tammaro struck Price. But Price was ruled out for runner interference – a judgement that was not well received by Price, his teammates, or Sweets fans in attendance.
Matthew Gretler survived a border-line, 2-2 pitch from Craven and drew a lead-off walk in the second inning. Michael Curialle reached base on an error and, following a strikeout of Tammaro and a fly to center by Harvey, Holcroft dunked a two-run single to center to give the Knights a 3-0 lead.
Craven retired seven of the next eight hitters he faced and the Sweets responded with a run in the fourth inning. Price doubled to lead off and scored on a two-out, two-bagger by Caleb Farmer that cut the deficit to two, 3-1.
The Knights got their final run off Craven in the fifth on a Knight sacrifice fly.
Ty Hueckman relieved Craven in the sixth. Gretler flew to center and Curialle grounded to shortstop. But Tammaro singled and Jake Harvey homered to left to make it 6-1. Hueckman fanned Holcroft to end the sixth, and tossed a perfect seventh.
Jake Dahle issued back-to-back walks with one out in the ninth, but flies to left by Lee and center by Moeller ended the threat.
Game two of the series is Wednesday night at 6:40 at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field.
Eyes On The Prize
In For A Battle
Swinging for It
Boys of SummerRead Less
After finishing the 2019 regular season with the franchise’s third 30-win campaign, and first since a 2013 playoff run, the Walla Walla Sweets (30-23) open a best-of-three West Coast League South Division Playoff Series against three-time defending champion Corvallis (42-12) Tuesday night at 6:35 inside historic Borleske Stadium.
Game two of the series is Wednesday night at 6:40 at Oregon State University’s Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. If a third game is necessary, it would be played in Corvallis on Thursday night at 6:40.
The Sweets, making the franchise’s third postseason appearance (2012 and 2013), achieved win No. 30 on the road Saturday night with an 11-5 trouncing of Yakima Valley. Centerfielder Patrick Caulfield and pitcher Travis Craven set all-time league records during the game. Craven tossed the first inning-and-a-third in his 13th start of 2019 and Caulfield stole his 41st base of the season in the sixth inning.
Walla Walla began its season with the best start in franchise history. The Sweets opened 2019 by sweeping a three-game series with the Knights at Borleske Stadium by scores of 8-2, 6-3, and 5-3. They followed that up by brooming Bend, 3-0, 9-6, and 16-11. Caulfield was named the West Coast League’s first Player of the Week after going 14-for-25 (.560 avg.) with seven stolen bases in the half-dozen contests.
Following a pair of non-league wins at home over the Highline Bears to complete a spotless season-opening homestand, the Sweets traveled to Wenatchee for a three-game series with the playoff-bound AppleSox over Father’s Day weekend. The series opener was highlighted by a two-out, two-run home run by Carson Green in the ninth inning that was the difference in a 3-1 Walla Walla win. The Sweets won game two of the set to improve to 8-0 in the WCL, but dropped the finale.
Walla Walla returned home for a six-game homestand and registered series wins over Portland and Port Angeles. Big blows during this Borleske stay were a three-run homer by Caulfield in the series opener with Portland and a ninth-inning, walk-off bomb by Chazz Martinez in the middle game of the Port Angeles series, won by the home team by a 9-8 count.
The Sweets went 3-3 on their first six-game road trip that closed out the month of June. Walla Walla dropped the first two games in Bend, 4-2 and 2-1, but rebounded for an 8-3 triumph in the series finale. It carried that momentum to Ridgefield and won the first two games of that set, 5-2 and 13-9, before dropping the last game of the series 6-3.
July started with a three-game home series with the Cowlitz Black Bears. The Sweets clobbered Cowlitz, 13-4, in the opener, dropped a heartbreaking 7-6 decision in the middle game of the series, then celebrated the Fourth of July with a 6-4 conquest.
Walla Walla traveled north the first weekend of the month and dropped two out of three games to Kelowna to end the first half of league play with an 18-9 record. The Sweets did win the north-of-the-border finale, 6-3, then split two games in Bellingham, losing the opener 4-1 and taking the next outing, 11-7. The Sweets scored all of their runs in the victory over the Bells with two out.
Disappointment was the order of the week after non-league games with the Military All-Stars and Cascade Collegiate League. Walla Walla lost two of three games against Victoria, including a 19-inning marathon, and suffered a road sweep in Corvallis before heading into the All-Star Break.
Walla Walla resumed league play with a series win over Wenatchee at Borleske Stadium. The big highlight was provided by utility specialist Ryan Johnston, who no-hit the AppleSox for six-and-a-third innings in game two of the series. He ended up with six-and-two-thirds innings worked, allowed just one run and one hit, and struck out eight.
The Sweets won three and lost three on their final six-game adventure away from Borleske Stadium that took them to Cowlitz and Portland, closed out the month of July, and spilled into August. Walla Walla got the big bats out against the Black Bears and scored 12 runs in each of the final two games of the series at Story Field on the Lower Columbia College campus in Longview.
Walla Walla ended the home portion of its 2019 schedule with a 4-2 homestand. Highlights included a come-from-behind victory over Ridgefield and a post-season clinching win over Kelowna. Bryce Vitt hit a three-run double and Emanuel Dean singled him in as the Sweets rallied from a three-run, ninth-inning deficit to top the Raptors, 8-7. Brayde Hirai, Ty Hueckman, Jake Dahle, and Sebby combined on a three-hitter in a 4-0 victory over the Falcons that helped Walla Walla punch its postseason ticket.
Caulfield ended the regular season as the league’s seventh-leading hitter (.328) and Cesar Lopez was the third most prolific producer of runs batted in (39). Craven was 1-2 with a 1.99 earned run average. He threw 40.2 innings, allowed 30 hits, 11 runs, nine earned, walked 15 and struck out 41. Teammates Hueckman and Landon Boeneke were part of a log jam for second in the WCL with five wins.
Corvallis, which finished both the first and second half of the WCL season atop the South Division, did so with identical 21-6 records. The Knights enter the postseason with the league’s top three hitters – Jake Holcroft (.368), Briley Knight (.357), and Brooks Lee (.342). Knight tied for second in the WCL with eight home runs and was second in the regular season with 42 RBI. Holcroft ranked fifth with 33 runs batted in.
Southpaw Tevita Gerber has enjoyed a stellar summer for the Knights. He leads the WCL in wins with seven and has a 7-1 record with a 2.20 earned run average. Right-handed pitchers David Watson and Jackson Arnsdorf, like Hueckman and Boeneke, were among a handful of hurlers that won five games this season. Watston was 5-1 with a 4.02 ERA and Arnsdorf finished with an identical record and a 1.70 ERA.Read Less
Eddy Pelc hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the 15th inning Sunday night to lift the Yakima Valley Pippins to a 6-3 victory over the Walla Walla Sweets in the West Coast League regular-season finale for both teams.
The Sweets ended the second half of WCL play 12-14 and finished 30-23 overall.
Walla Walla will host three-time defending champion Corvallis for game one of a best-of-three WCL South Division playoff series Tuesday night at Borleske Stadium. First pitch is at 6:35.
Yakima Valley scored the first run of Sunday’s game in the initial frame against Sweets starter Turner Edwards, who was making his Walla Walla debut. Edwards walked five of the first six hitters he faced, but gave up just the one run.
The Sweets evened the score in the top of the second. Carson Green led off with a single. He stole second, then moved to third on a throwing error by Pippins’ catcher James Bell. Zac Berryman laid down a bunt down first-base way to score Green and knot the score at 1-1.
Edwards pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the second and got out of a first-and-second, no-out jam in the third inning. But a two-run double in the fourth by Aidan Welch brought an end to his evening. Mason Kokodynski replaced Edwards and got Tanner Parker to fly out to center field for the first out of the inning. Welch tried to move from second to third on the play, but Chazz Martinez unleashed a no-hop throw to Green to cut down the Yakima Valley runner.
Emanuel Dean led off the fifth inning with a double and went to third on a Justin Folz single. Folz got himself into a pickle between first and second, but first baseman Tyler Dean made an errant throw to second that struck Folz and allowed Dean to score.
Walla Walla tied the game in the ninth. Patrick Caulfield led off with a double and went to third on a 3-4 sacrifice by Kokodynski. Folz lifted the first pitch he saw from Pippins’ reliever Nick Brown to center for a sacrifice fly to plate Caulfield.
Cesar Lopez surrendered a walk and a hit by pitch prior to Pelc’s poke over the right-field wall.
The all-time, regular-season series between the two teams is tied at 18 wins apiece.Read Less
Patrick Caulfield and Travis Craven break WCL records while breaking the Pippins
The Walla Walla Sweets scored twice in the first inning, three times in the third inning, and five more times in the sixth inning Saturday night on their way to an 11-5 victory over the Yakima Valley Pippins in West Coast League baseball action at Yakima County Stadium.
Saturday’s game will be remembered by Sweets Nation for more than runs, hits, and errors. It was a night in which the 2019 Walla Walla nine achieved the franchise’s third 30-win season and both Travis Craven and Patrick Caulfield made their way into the WCL record book.
Ryan Johnston led off the first inning with a double and scored two outs later on a two-bagger by Cesar Lopez – who crossed home after consecutive walks to Caleb Farmer, Bryce Vitt, and Turner Edwards.
Historic moment No. 1 occurred when Craven took the mound for his 13th start of the season, a WCL record, and commemorated the occasion with an inning-and-a-third of scoreless baseball.
The Sweets provided more two-out magic in the third inning. Vitt and Chazz Martinez both singled and tallied when Carson Green homered to left field. The round tripper was Green’s second of the season. He hit a game-winning, two-run dinger in the ninth inning at Wenatchee on June 14.
Reliever Landon Boeneke followed Craven with two-and-two-thirds innings of two-hit ball and got some defensive help in the fourth inning. The Pippins’ Kyle Dean led off with a hit to left-center. Johnston cut it off before throwing a strike to second baseman Justin Folz to deny Dean’s bid for a double.
Sweets right-hander Nate Dahle walked three of the first four hitters he saw in the fifth inning, but retired the final two to escape unscathed.
Historic moment No. 2 came in a five-run sixth inning. Folz doubled, Johnston walked, and Parker Price legged out a bunt base hit. Caulfield scored two with a single and Lopez produced an RBI single. Lopez got in a pickle between first and second after Caulfield took a stride toward third. Caulfield advanced to third and Lopez managed to get back to first. Caulfield was credited with a stolen base, his WCL record-setting 41st of 2019. One out later, Vitt walked and Martinez scored Caulfield with a fielder’s choice. The last run was the result of a Yakima Valley error.
The Pippins scored five times in the eighth inning before Parker Price single handedly produced a run in the ninth. He singled, stole second, went to third on an error, and scored on a passed ball.
Lefty Brayde Hirai threw a 1-2-3 ninth to end the game.
The final game of the series, and regular season, starts Sunday night at 7:05.
Patrick Caulfield after breaking the all-time WCL Stolen Base RecordRead Less
The Walla Walla Sweets blew a two-run, eighth-inning lead Friday night and dropped the opening game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series to the Yakima Valley Pippins in 10 innings, 6-5, at Yakima County Stadium.
The Pippins, who were in the midst of an eight-game losing streak entering the game, scored twice in the eighth inning and once more in the 10th to eke out the win.
Walla Walla, which came up short in its bid for its 30th league win of the season despite four hits apiece from Cesar Lopez and Justin Folz, is now 11-13 in the second half of WCL play and 29-22 overall.
The Sweets scored twice in the top of the first inning. Ryan Johnston led off with a single and Parker Price walked. Patrick Caulfield hit a high chopper to shortstop to move the runners up and Lopez brought them in with a single off the right-field wall.
The Pippins scored three times on as many hits in the bottom of the first.
Sweets starting pitcher Nick Irwin shook off the first inning and ended his stint with three-and-two-thirds frames of scoreless ball and retired 10 of the last 13 hitters he faced.
The Sweets threatened, but did not score, in the fifth inning despite a pair of stolen bases by Caulfield, who raised his WCL-leading total to 40 – a number achieved only one other time in league history.
Reliever Dimick Wood shook off a lead-off walk in the fifth and set down the next six to bat against him and struck out three.
Prior to Wood’s three-up, three-down routine in the home sixth, the Sweets grabbed the lead back in the top of the sixth. Chazz Martinez doubled and went to third on a Kokodynski single. Folz followed with a double in the right-center alley that plated both Martinez and Kokodynski with Walla Walla’s final runs of the game.
Lopez’s offensive effort was his team-leading 20th multi-hit game of the season. It’s the seventh time he has collected three or more hits in a 2019 contest and the third time he has ended a productive night at the plate with four knocks.
The Sweets outhit Yakima Valley 13-12, but stranded 11 runners on the base paths. Walla Walla left the bases loaded in both the second and eighth innings.
Game two of the three-game series is Saturday night at 6:35.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets, fresh off clinching the third West Coast League playoff berth in franchise history, conclude the 2019 regular season this weekend with a three-game road series against the Yakima Valley Pippins (8-17 in the WCL’s second half, 19-32 overall).
Games will be played at 6:35 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, and 7:05 p.m. on Sunday at Yakima County Stadium.
Walla Walla (11-12, 29-21) finished off a 4-and-2 homestand, its last of the regular season, and a stretch of 15 games in as many days on Wednesday night by completing a three-game sweep of the Kelowna Falcons, 4-0, at Borleske Stadium – the team’s first shutout since a 3-0 home blanking of Bend on June 7. The Sweets downed their north-of-the-border rival 10-2 on Tuesday and opened the series Aug. 2 with a 6-2 triumph. A series setback -two losses to one against Ridgefield – was wedged between the Friday and Tuesday contests with Kelowna. Walla Walla’s lone win versus the Raptors occurred on Sunday night when the Sweets rose from oblivion to score four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning for an 8-7 conquest.
Walla Walla pitchers Brayde Hirai, Ty Hueckman, Jake Dahle, and Reid Sebby teamed up to foil the Falcons on three hits and strike out 15 Wednesday night. Kelowna had just one runner get as far as third in the game. The Sweets managed just three hits themselves, but two proved to be productive – a one-out home run by Ryan Johnston in the fifth inning and a sixth-inning RBI single by Caleb Farmer. Walla Walla also employed opportunism and little ball. Parker Price and Patrick Caulfield walked in the first inning, executed a double steal, and Price scored on an error. Caulfield walked to lead off the sixth, stole second, Cesar Lopez accepted a free pass and, after a double theft, Bryce Vitt grounded to shortstop to score Caulfield, who enters the final weekend of regular-season play with a league-leading 38 stolen bases.
The Sweets banged out 14 hits on Tuesday. Justin Folz set the pace with three while Lopez, Vitt, Chazz Martinez, and Emanuel Dean socked two hits apiece. Dean had three runs batted in, Vitt and Price contributed two each, and Lopez, Martinez, and Folz chipped in one RBI apiece.
Hueckman, Nate Dahle, and Spencer Schwehr fashioned nine innings of five-hit, 11-strikeout ball in the homestand opener. Martinez started the scoring in a five-run second inning with a two-RBI single and Dean tattooed a three-run homer. Price delivered an RBI knock in the fourth.
Caulfield comes into the weekend sixth in the WCL with a .331 batting average. Lopez is third in RBI with 35 – only trailing Ridgefield’s Michael Hicks (42) and Briley Knight of Corvallis (40). Hueckman is tied for second in wins (5) with Bellingham’s Nick Proctor and Jackson Arnsdorf of Corvallis, and is fourth in earned run average (2.90).
Yakima Valley enters its final homestand of 2019 smarting after three tough losses at Cowlitz – 2-0 on Tuesday, 5-4 Wednesday, and 3-1 on Thursday. Eddie Pelc, Brian Rice, and Brady Hormel had two hits apiece on Thursday. Pitchers Mark Woinarowicz and A.J. Wood tossed in relief on Thursday and kept the Pippins close by skunking the Black Bears over the final seven-and-two-third innings.
Pippins’ pitchers Joe Magrisi and Jack Gonzales have distinguished themselves as tough customers this summer. Magrisi leads the West Coast League with 66 strikeouts and Gonzales ranks sixth with a 3.62 ERA.Read Less
The Sweets are going back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013
It’s a feeling Walla Walla Sweets Nation has not experienced since 2013.
In 2019, the feeling of West Coast League playoff baseball is real.
This year’s edition of the Sweets – a group that time and time again has displayed its share of unity, closeness, and togetherness – brought the postseason possibility to fruition Wednesday with a 4-0, wild-card clinching victory over the Kelowna Falcons on Fan Appreciation Night at Borleske Stadium.
The Sweets will face three-time defending WCL champion Corvallis next week in a best-of-three series which begins Tuesday night at Borleske Stadium. Game time is 6:35. Tickets for the game will go on sale on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Sweet Shoppe on East Main in downtown Walla Walla. Season ticket holders received an e-mail Wednesday night with details on how to secure their seats. Tickets will be available at the Sweet Shoppe, by calling 509-522-BALL(2255), or online at wallawallasweets.com.
Sweets Parker Price and Patrick Caulfield started the bottom of the first inning of Wednesday’s game with walks. They executed a double steal moments later, and Price scored on a throwing error by Kelowna catcher Ben Smith.
Walla Walla starting pitcher Brayde Hirai struck out the side in the first inning and retired the first eight hitters he faced. He allowed just one hit and fanned four over his three-inning stint.
It looked like the Falcons would break into the scoring column against right-hander Ty Hueckman in the fourth when Brandon Hupe drove a ball into the left-center field gap with a runner at first and two out. But Caulfield got a good jump on Hupe’s smash and ran it down to end the inning.
Hueckman kept the shutout intact despite giving up a hit and a walk in the fifth inning. He fanned the side in the frame.
Ryan Johnston hit his second home run of the season, a one-out solo shot to left, in the last of the fifth.
Caulfield and Cesar Lopez started the sixth with walks. Caulfield stole second prior to Lopez’s free pass, and later nabbed his league-leading 38th steal while Lopez took second. Bryce Vitt scored Caulfield with a grounder to short and Caleb Farmer hit Lopez in.
Jake Dahle threw two innings of no-run ball in the sixth and seventh, and struck out three in the latter inning.
Reid Sebby tossed a perfect eighth with two K’s and struck out the first two hitters in the ninth. The Falcons got the next two batters aboard before Sebby fanned Andy Schmitz looking to end the game.
Walla Walla, which completed its first series sweep since early June and posted its first shutout since a 3-0 win over Bend on June 7, improved to 11-12 in the second half of West Coast League play and 29-21 overall.
The Sweets open a three-game series at Yakima Valley beginning Friday at 6:35 p.m.
In It To Win It
Swinging For The FencesRead Less
The Walla Walla Sweets scored twice in the bottom of the fourth inning and seven more times in the fifth inning Tuesday night on their way to a 10-2 victory over the Kelowna Falcons in West Coast League baseball action at Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla, which has scored five or more runs in eight of its last 10 games, improved to 10-12 in the second half of WCL play and 28-21 overall.
The Sweets tallied first in Tuesday’s tilt. Cesar Lopez singled with two out in the first inning and Bryce Vitt blasted a 3-2 pitch from Falcons’ starting pitcher Matt Voelzke into deep right-center field for an RBI triple.
Kelowna’s Lane Hailey tied the game up in the fourth with a run-scoring single.
Walla Walla regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Vitt reached base on an error and scored on a double down the left-field line by Chazz Martinez. Justin Folz moved Martinez to third with a grounder to second, and Emanuel Dean brought him in with a base knock.
Sweets starter Ryan Johnston allowed just one run over four innings. He struck out the side on nine pitches in the first inning and ended up with four K’s and one walk.
A bunt base hit by Patrick Caulfield started the fun in the bottom of the fifth after reliever Mason Kokodynski retired the side in order in the top of the fifth. Caulfield stole second and Lopez walked. The two then moved up 90 feet apiece by way of the steal, and Vitt lifted a shallow fly ball to left that scored Caulfield after outfielder Andy Schmitz lost it in the sky. Martinez walked to fill the bases and Folz drove in a run with an infield single. Dean slapped a two-run single into right-center, and Parker Price and Lopez scored the final three runs of the inning with a two-run single and fielder’s choice, respectively.
The final game of the three-game series and regular-season-ending, six-game homestand is Wednesday night at 7:05.Read Less
After the National Weather Service in Pendleton, OR announced a Heat Advisory, officials found it necessary to delay today's game
The Ridgefield Raptors scored in all but one inning Monday night and cruised to a 17-3 victory over the Walla Walla Sweets in West Coast League baseball action at Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla is now 9-12 in the WCL’s second half and 27-21 overall.
Ridgefield started the scoring with a tally in the first inning and added two more in the second.
Innings two and three summed up the night for the Sweets. Caleb Farmer singled with one out in inning two, Chazz Martinez walked, and Justin Folz singled to load the bases. Emanuel Dean hit a line drive, but right at Johnny Weaver, Ridgefield’s shortstop. Weaver then flipped the ball to middle-infield mate Wyatt Hoffman to double Martinez off of second base.
The Sweets had another chance in the bottom of the third after Ridgefield scored twice in the top half of the inning. Johnston was hit by a pitch and Patrick Caulfield hit a seed back to the mound that struck the foot of Raptors’ starting pitcher Hayden Minich and ricocheted to Weaver. A feed to Hoffman and throw to first later and a rare 1-6-4-3 double play was completed.
Five more runs in the fourth brought the Ridgefield lead to 10-0.
Farmer unloaded on a 1-2 pitch from Minich in the fourth inning and lifted it over the left-field wall to get the home team on the board.
The Raptors scored single runs in the sixth and seventh innings before the Sweets scored twice in the bottom of inning seven. Zac Berryman reached on an error, Martinez singled and, one out later, Dean doubled in Berryman. Martinez crossed the plate on a grounder to short off the bat of Carson Green.
The Raptors ended the night with four runs in the eighth inning and one more in the ninth.
The Sweets resume a three-game series with Kelowna, which started last Friday, on Tuesday night at 6:35.Read Less
Sweets come back from a 3 run deficit to take game 2 against the Ridgefield Raptors
All appeared lost for the Walla Walla Sweets during West Coast League baseball action Sunday night at Borleske Stadium.
Visiting Ridgefield scored three tie-breaking runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 7-4 lead.
The Raptors were three outs away from securing their second win in as many nights against the home nine.
The win improved the Sweets second-half record to 9-11 and overall mark to 27-20.
Ridgefield’s Michael Hicks knocked in the first run of the game with a one-out, third-inning single.
Walla Walla responded with an ace in the home third. Ryan Johnston singled with one out and raced to third on a Patrick Caulfield double. Cesar Lopez followed with an infield hit that scored Johnston.
Zac Berryman was hit by a pitch to start the last half of inning four. Vitt walked, and Connor Cirillo moved the runners up with a bouncer to third. Johnston lined a single that brought both Berryman and Vitt home and gave the Sweets a 3-1 lead.
The Raptors’ Grayson Sterling tied things up with a two-out, two-RBI double in the fifth and Jack Bauer gave Ridgefield a 4-3 edge in the sixth with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Sweets reliever Jake Dahle and Ridgefield’s Drake Estes shut out their respective opponents in both the seventh and eighth innings.
But in the ninth, Jake Dahle allowed a two-out, two-run single to Michael Yourg and Willie Cano singled for a run against Nick Irwin to give the Raptors what appeared to be an insurmountable 7-4 lead. Irwin, a.k.a. Bones, struck out Dominic Enbody to end the inning.
Cameron Repetti, who set the Sweets down 1-2-3 in the ninth inning Saturday night to earn the save in a 9-8 Ridgefield triumph, walked Brock Ephan to start Sunday’s last of the ninth. Pinch-runner Connor Lemma went to third following back-to-back singles by Caleb Farmer and Chazz Martinez. One out later, Vitt towered a Repetti pitch into the right-center alley that tied the game at 7-7. Vitt hustled to third on the play on an errant throw home by Raptors’ second baseman Wyatt Hoffman.
“I just saw a slider out of his hand and drove it the other way,” Vitt said. “I haven’t hit a ball like that all summer.”
Dean decided the outcome on a 1-0 pitch that he bounced through the box and into center.
The rubber game of the three-game series is Monday night at 6:35.
Game Winning Hit
Realizing That You Just Did That
A ninth-inning, RBI single by Michael Yourg was the difference Saturday night as the Ridgefield Raptors nipped the Walla Walla Sweets, 9-8, in the opening game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series at Borleske Stadium.
The tough loss dropped the Sweets to 8-11 in the second half of WCL action and 26-20 overall.
Ridgefield’s Jonny Weaver opened the game with a lead-off walk against Sweets starting pitcher Brayde Hirai. Jack Bauer followed with a fly ball down the right-field line that was ruled a home run. Video and photographic evidence later revealed that Bauer’s fly in fact did not clear the wall and landed in foul territory. The West Coast League does not allow the umpires to utilize in-game media to review umpire rulings.
The Sweets overcame the early deficit with four runs in the third inning. Patrick Caulfield was hit by a pitch with two out, Cesar Lopez singled him to third, and Brock Ephan crunched a three-run home run to left-center, his fifth of the season, to give Walla Walla its first lead of the night, 3-2. The final run of the frame scored after consecutive walks to Caleb Farmer, Chazz Martinez, Zac Berryman, and Emanuel Dean.
Ridgefield responded with six runs after two were out in the top of the fourth.
Walla Walla tied the game in the fifth. Berryman was hit by a pitch, Dean singled, Carson Green sacrificed the runners to second and third and, after a walk to Price, Caulfield skied a sacrifice fly to left. The tying run scored when Lopez reached base on an error that sent Dean home.
The Sweets got runners to third base in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, but were unable to deliver the go-ahead run.
Cameron Repetti took the hill after his mates took the lead in the ninth and nailed down the win with a 1-2-3 effort.
Game two of the three-game series is Sunday night at 6:05.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets opened their final regular-season homestand at historic Borleske Stadium Friday night with a 6-2 victory over the Kelowna Falcons.
Brock Ephan, Caleb Farmer, and Chazz Martinez had two hits apiece, and Emanuel Dean hit his first home run of the season as Walla Walla improved its records to 8-10 in the second half of West Coast League play and 26-19 overall.
Right-hander Ty Hueckman threw five innings of one-run, three-hit ball and struck out a handful of hitters on his way to improving his record to 4-3.
Hueckman allowed a two-out, RBI triple to Richie Sede in the second inning before the Sweets backed him with significant run support in the home half of inning two. Ephan and Farmer singled, Justin Folz walked, and Martinez rolled a base hit to right field to score two. Dean then deposited a 3-and-1 pitch from Falcons’ starter Wyatt Hummel over the left-field wall to give Walla a 5-1 lead.
“I knew it was gone off the bat,” Dean said. “It was a great feeling. The whole crowd was into it. It was an amazing feeling.”
Hueckman retired six of the eight hitters he faced during innings three and four and his teammates rewarded him with a tally in the fourth. Martinez led off with a single and, two outs later, Ryan Johnston walked. Parker Price singled in Martinez to make it 6-1.
Hueckman’s final inning had just one blemish – a one-out double by Brandon Hupe.
Reliever Nate Dahle allowed two walks in both the sixth and seventh innings. He gave up just an unearned run in the sixth.
Kelowna may have done further damage, but a base-running blunder in the seventh cost it dearly. With Hupe at second and Brayden Merritt at first, James Shimashita doubled to left-center, but Merritt passed Hupe between second and third for out No. 2. Dahle struck out Austen Butler for the third out.
“They put the ball in play and and hit it right at people,” Schwehr said of his first inning of work. “The second inning was better. I was more down in the zone. My change up was better.”
The Sweets open a three-game series with the Ridgefield Raptors Saturday night at 7:05.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets scored early and late against the Portland Pickles in the final game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series Thursday night at Walker Stadium.
Walla Walla was on the brink of claiming a series win when it broke a 6-6 tie with two runs in the top of the ninth inning.
But Portland responded with three in the bottom of the ninth and eked out a 9-8 victory.
The heartbreaking loss dropped the Sweets to 7-10 in the WCL’s second half and 25-19 overall. Portland improved to 10- 8 in the second half and 19-25 on the season.
Walla Walla started off in a positive light. Patrick Caulfield walked with one out in the first, stole second and third base, and scored when Brock Ephan socked his fourth home run of the season. Caulfield now has a WCL-leading 31 thefts.
Starting pitcher Ryan Johnston, despite some early struggles, shut out the Pickles over the first three innings. Portland stranded two runners in the first, and was set down by Johnston 1-2-3 in both innings two and three.
But in the fourth, Johnston allowed a one-out home run to Thomas Rudinsky. With two out, the Pickles used two Walla Walla errors to plate three unearned runs. Jake Dahle replaced Johnston and got the final out in the fourth.
Walla Walla retook the lead in the seventh. Emanuel Dean led off with a double and Bryce Vitt singled him to third. Price brought Dean in with a base knock and Caulfield sacrificed Vitt to third and Price to second. Lopez bounced a single through a drawn-in infield to put the Sweets in front 6-4.
The Pickles tied the score in the home seventh on a two-out, two-run single by Chase Luttrell.
It stayed tied until the ninth. Ephan led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Justin Folz. Ephan went to third on a passed ball and scored the tie-breaking run on a Caleb Farmer hit. Chazz Martinez singled and Dean singled in Farmer.
Ephan, who threw a three-up, three-down eighth inning, gave up a lead-off single to Alex Lambeau in the bottom of the ninth and John Jensen homered to right to knot the score at 8-8. Dimick Wood replaced Ephan. Gabe Skoro reached on an error, Kyle Manzardo singled, and Rudinsky later drew an intentional walk to load the bases. Luttrell then lifted a shallow fly to left that was dropped, allowing Skoro to score the winning run.
The Sweets open a six-game homestand Friday night at 7:05 against Kelowna.Read Less
Every game matters. But let’s be honest – over the course of a 54-game, 2-month season, some home games matter more than others. Opening Day usually leads the way…the pomp-and-circumstance, the energy of the start of summer and a new season, and re-connecting with friends after a long off-season.
The 3rd/4th of July tend to get similar attention. Really, anytime the team lights fireworks, paints the field or gives something cool away, fans respond. The community likes the party, and the Sweets throw some of the best parties in the Valley.
This next homestand is what defines the status of #SweetsCountry as among the best baseball fans in the WCL – it is all about the baseball. Yes, there are a few promotions (and those will be noted below), but with the club in the thick of an exciting pennant race, and some key players that have performed all season long still working hard for that playoff berth, this is the kind of homestand that screams real baseball fans.
Here are 6 reasons why these 6 games should be filled with Sweets fans:
For a preview of the baseball, see Roy Elia’s story here.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets kick off their final regular-season homestand Friday night at historic Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla hosts the Kelowna Falcons Friday night at 7:05, then welcomes the Ridgefield Raptors to Borleske Stadium for a three-game set Saturday (7:05), Sunday (6:05), and Monday (6:35). Kelowna returns to Walla Walla for contests Tuesday (6:35) and Wednesday (7:05).
The Sweets enter a matchup tonight in Portland 3-and-2 on their current and last six-game road trip of 2019. Walla Walla is 7-9 in the West Coast League’s second half and 25-18 overall.
Walla Walla evened its three-game series against the Pickles Wednesday night with a 5-3 victory at Walker Stadium. Pitchers Ben Johnson, Mason Kokodynski, and Nick Irwin combined to shut out Portland on four hits over the first seven innings. Three of the four frames worked by Johnson – innings one, two, and four – ended with double plays executed by the Sweets defense. Second baseman Justin Folz commenced the first twin killing and shortstop Parker Price started the latter two.
Patrick Caulfield and Brock Ephan collected first-inning RBI on a single and sacrifice fly to center, respectively, while Price and Cesar Lopez bashed two-out, back-to-back doubles in the ninth. Walla Walla’s run output was also highlighted with two doses of opportunism. Folz scored in the second inning on a Pickles’ error and Ephan slid across home plate on a passed ball.
Lopez extended his hitting streak to nine games with a two-hit performance Wednesday. Ephan has now hit in five of his last six games after going 2-for-3 in that game, and Caulfield scorched the first-base-to-second-base path in two instances to raise his WCL-leading total of stolen bases to 29.
Five proved to be an unlucky number for the Sweets prior to Wednesday’s triumph. They opened their road trip at Cowlitz with a 5-1 loss and dropped the opening game of their series with Portland, 5-4, on Tuesday night. Sanchwiched between that duo of disappointments was a pair of 12-run efforts against the Black Bears. Walla Walla beat Cowlitz 12-2 on Sunday afternoon and 12-6 on Monday night at Story Field in Longview.
Caulfield is seventh in the league in hitting with a .340 batting average. Lopez is at .313. Caulfield and Lopez have combined for 34 multiple-hit games this season (18 and 16, respectively). The two have nine games between them in which they have achieved three hits or more – Caulfield five, Lopez four.
Pitcher Travis Craven, who logged his first win of the season with five one-hit innings against Cowlitz on Monday, is the lone Sweets hurler in the league’s top 10 in earned run average. He is third with a 2.06 mark. Craven has thrown 39.1 innings and has allowed 28 hits and 11 runs (nine earned). The Whitman College star has walked 15 and struck out 41.
The Sweets – who won two of three games at Ridgefield in late June and dropped two out of three in Kelowna in early July – will face tough hitters and two pitchers who, like Craven, are in the top 10 in the ERA category during this homestand. The Raptors’ Michael Hicks is hitting .316 with six home runs and 34 RBI and teammates Grayson Sterling and Jack Bauer are at .295 and .283, respectively. Bauer, like Hicks, has a half-dozen round trippers. Cole Commings leads Falcons’ swingers with a .289 average and both Tyler Grissom and James Shimashita sport .271 marks. Kelowna’s Blake Tritch (3.50 ERA) and Ridgefield’s Joey Martin (3.72), who the Sweets defeated on June 28, rank eighth and 10th, respectively, in earned run average.
Sweets scoring by inning (WCL games only) – 31 41 30 24 32 25 20 26 18 – 247. Opponents scoring by inning (WCL games only) – 28 24 12 36 17 26 19 33 13 – 209*. * – total includes a 19th-inning run.
Multiple-hit games-three hits or more (WCL games only): Patrick Caulfield 18-5, Cesar Lopez 16-4, Justin Folz 10-3, Chazz Martinez 7-0, Caleb Farmer 6-1, Brock Ephan 6-1, Parker Price 6-1, Jordan Stubbings 4-0, Michael Petrie 3-1, Carson Green 3-0, Ben Fariss 3-0, Emanuel Dean 2-1, Ryan Johnston 2-0, David Le Bioda 2-0, Brandon Wagstaff 2-0, Connor Coballes 2-0, Connor Cirillo 1-0, Tristan King 1-0.
Sweets day-by-day records – Monday: 2-1; Tuesday 5-3; Wednesday 4-4; Thursday 6-0; Friday 5-2; Saturday 5-4; Sunday 3-4. NOTE: Includes league and non-league games.
Sweets all-time, regular-season records vs. current WCL opponents: Corvallis 18-30; Wenatchee 38-32; Kelowna 29-33; Cowlitz 25-29; Bend 27-27; Bellingham 21-31; Victoria 17-15; Yakima Valley 17-16; Port Angeles 4-8; Portland 6-5; Ridgefield 2-1.
UPCOMING PROMOTIONS AT BORLESKE STADIUM
Aug. 4 – Kids Day presented by Sweet Basil. Kids 12 years of age and under, accompanied by an adult, will be admitted free.
Aug. 6 – Bud Light Batting Practice and $1 Del Taco Tacos.
The Sweets force their second rubber match of this 6 game road trip
The Walla Walla Sweets took a 4-0 lead after two-and-a-half innings of their West Coast League baseball game with Portland on Wednesday night at Walker Stadium.
But it took a ninth-inning insurance run, coupled with a four-strikeout relief effort from Chazz Martinez, for Sweets Nation to breathe easy after a 5-3 triumph.
Walla Walla improved its second-half WCL record to 7-9 and is 25-18 overall. The gallant Pickles, who edged the Sweets on Tuesday night 5-4, are 9-8 in half two and 18-25 on the season against league opponents.
Both Portland and Cowlitz, which lost at Victoria 5-4 in 10 innings on Wednesday, are three-and-a-half games behind Corvallis in the WCL South’s second-half standings. Should the Knights win the second half, the South Division wild-card playoff berth would go to the team with the second best overall record. Walla Walla leads Ridgefield (20-24) by five-and-a-half games in that scenario and the Black Bears (19-25) by six-and-a-half. Portland is seven off the potential wild-card pace.
Ryan Johnston and Parker Price led off Wednesday’s game with walks. One out later, Patrick Caulfield rolled a single through the right side of the Pickles’ infield to send Johnston home. Brock Ephan followed with a sacrifice fly to plate the second run of the inning.
Sweets starting pitcher Ben Johnson allowed a single and hit a batter to start the home first. But he got Kyle Manzardo, the Pickles’ leading hitter, to fly out to center field and Conner Wojahn to hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
Justin Folz and Bryce Vitt started the second inning with singles. Michael Petrie hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice. Folz later scored from third on a throwing error by Portland starting catcher Darius Perry.
Johnson got the pitcher’s best friend in the bottom of the second after a bunt single by Chase Luttrell. He struck out Kyle Velazquez, then Alex Lambeau grounded into a 6-4-3 twin killing.
Ephan stroked a two-out single in the third inning and rumbled to third on a Caleb Farmer double off the left-field wall. Ephan belly flopped across home plate on a passed ball moments later to make it 4-0.
Johnson retired the side in the latter part of inning three and faced the minimum number of hitters in the fourth. He fanned John Arndorfer to start the fourth, walked Manzardo, and Wojahn hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Relief pitcher Mason Kokodynski racked up key strikeouts to conclude the fifth and sixth innings and keep the shutout alive. He K’d Thomas Rudinsky with a runner at second in the fifth, and worked his way out of a second-and-third, one-out jam in the sixth with back-to-back strikeouts of Manzardo and Wojahn.
Nick Irwin tossed a scoreless seventh inning for the Sweets. But he allowed a run on two hits in the eighth and exited the game after striking out Wojahn. With runners at second and third, Martinez yielded a two-run double to left by Luttrell before fanning Velazquez for out No. 3.
Price and Lopez drilled consecutive two-out, two-base hits – Price off the left-field wall and Lopez in the right-center alley – to produce Walla Walla’s final run of the game. The RBI was the 30th of the season for Lopez, who extended his hitting streak to nine games with a seventh-inning single.
Martinez struck out Lambeau and Rudinsky to begin the ninth. He then walked Austin Lively, but sat John Jensen down on strikes for the final out of the contest.
Caulfield stole second base in both innings one and seven to bring his league-leading total to 29. Farmer now possesses a five-game hitting streak and Ephan has hit safely in five of his last six games.
The rubber game of the three-game series is Thursday night at 7:05.Read Less
“Playoffs? Don’t talk about – playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game!” – Jim Mora, Indianapolis Colts
It’s hard to talk about playoff scenarios without that soundtrack running through the mind. Particularly with baseball, where you play every day, the worry really is just about the game in front of you that day, not some of-in-the-distance pennant race and playoff tournament. Managers around the league roll their eyes when GMs ask to talk about the playoff scenarios.
But, teams have to prepare, fans are interested, and it is what makes sports fun – the chance to lay claim to being “the best” that playoffs and a championship tournament provide. So, we dive in to make heads/tails of the WCL playoff format.
First Half/Second Half
Starting with the 2016 season, the WCL moved to the split-season playoff format. This format is favored by affiliated short-season minor league circuits (Pioneer, Northwest, and NY-Penn Leagues) and other leagues where the make-up of rosters can vary wildly from the first half of the season to the last half of the season. Winners of the first half of the season – the first 27 games – in each division are able to lay claim to the first two spots. In the case of the Sweets, despite finishing 18-9 in the first half (a mark that would have won the division each of the past three first halves), the Corvallis Knights caught fire and won the first half with a 21-6 mark.
The second half provides opportunity for teams who struggle at the beginning of the season to have new life in the second half. If a different team than that team who won the first half has the best record through games 28-54, that team claims the second playoff spot in the division.
“The value of the first half/second half model is that you really have two seasons within one,” said Sweets president Zachary Fraser, who also represents Pacific Baseball Ventures on the WCL Board of Directors, where decisions such as the split-season format are made. “You can recover from a bad start and breath life into your stadium for the second half.
“And if you win the first half, you have the benefit of 6 additional weeks to fill your stadium for a playoff series.”
Wild, Wild Wild Card
What if a team wins both halves? Per the WCL rules, the team with the next best overall record for the entire season would lay claim to the wild card, and the second playoff spot for the division (each division has two entries into the playoff rounds, with 4 total participants). A wild card entry is how the Sweets earned their first playoff berth – in 2011, with the Wenatchee AppleSox laying claim to the division title.
“There is a part of each competitor that wants to win the division out-right, but with playoffs, you are appreciative for the chance to go to the tournament,” said Fraser. “The wild card is a chance to get a 3rd season in one – both halves serving as the first two!”
It Changes Every Day
Because baseball is played every day, the scenarios change every day. For instance, at publication, the Corvallis Knights own a 2.5-game lead in the WCL South over the Cowlitz Black Bears and Portland Pickles in the second half. If the season were to end today, the Knights would win both halves of the season. The Sweets own the next-best overall record (for the entire season) in the WCL South Division, so the Sweets would lay claim to the wild card and face the Knights in the Division Series.
Series wins are very important. They help determine tie-breakers. For instance, if the above-mentioned Black Bears and the Sweets end up tied for the WCL South lead by the end of the second half, the fact that the Sweets won the season series 4-2 gives them the first tiebreaker. Baseball is tough enough to win every day, so teams look for the series wins (vs. sweeping three games) to help gain tie-breakers throughout division play.
Still Work to Do
As of 7/31/2019, the Sweets enjoy a 4.5-game lead in the Wild Card, by virtue of the fact that Corvallis is leading the second half by 2.5 games. However, the Sweets need to finish strong – the team can’t trust that Corvallis will win out.
“The series win against Cowlitz, this series against Portland, and to finish up division play with Ridgefield at home means that we can help create our own success – not just wait on others,” said Fraser. “It’s both the joy and the pressure of a pennant race – the daily check on the standings and doing the math each morning – we still have work to do.”
If the Sweets were to qualify for the playoffs, Game One of the WCL South Division Series would be hosted at Borleske Stadium on Tuesday, August 13.
Fraser is reflective on the potential of again hosting a playoff game or two at historic Borleske Stadium.
“Our fans have shown that they really enjoy the experience of playoff baseball at Borleske – and we know it has been some time…we believe that we have a club that would help fans enjoy the experience again, if we are lucky enough to see it through.”
For the full details on the WCL Playoff procedure, please visit here: https://westcoastleague.com/playoff-procedures/Read Less
Despite a late game rally, the Sweets drop the opener of a 3 game series to the Portland Pickles
The Walla Walla Sweets held a 2-0 lead after an inning-and-a-half of their West Coast League baseball game Tuesday night against the Portland Pickles at Walker Stadium.
But the home team scored a run in the second inning and four runs on five hits in the fourth, then withstood a late Sweets rally to post a 5-4 victory in the opening game of the three-game series.
Portland pulled into a second-place tie with Cowlitz at 9-7 in the WCL South Division’s second-half standings-two-and-a-half games behind Corvallis. The Black Bears are 19-24 overall and the Pickles are 18-24 on the season.
Walla Walla is now 6-9 in the second half and 24-18 overall.
The Sweets got a lead-off walk from Ryan Johnston in the first inning. Johnston went to second when Parker Price drew a base on balls. Cesar Lopez extended his hitting streak to eight games by dropping a single into left-center field that brought Johnston in with the first run of the game.
Sweets starting pitcher Reid Sebby jarred the Pickles in order in the first inning, but walked Thomas Rudinsky to begin the second. Rudinsky, who was hitting just .188 going into the night, scored on a two-out double that Jonathan Kelly bounced down the left-field line.
The Sweets were unable to put a two-out single by Farmer to good use in the fourth inning, and the scene was set for Portland’s fourth-inning follies. Chase Luttrell gave the Pickles a 3-2 edge with a two-run single, Gabe Skoro singled in the third run of the inning, and the last run scored on a wild pitch.
Caulfield fought for a free pass leading off the Walla Walla eighth. Brock Ephan singled Caulfield to second, then was replaced by Emanuel Dean. Folz walked to load the bases. But reliever Tim Post entered and got Chazz Martinez to hit into a 4-6-3 double play that plated Caulfield, and retired Farmer on a grounder to short.
Game two of the series is Wednesday night at 7:05.Read Less
Sweets repeat their successful outing at Cowlitz and take the series
Designated hitter Brock Ephan drove in five runs and left-hander Travis Craven recorded his first win of the season Monday night as the Walla Walla Sweets rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to post a 12-6 victory over the Cowlitz Black Bears in the rubber game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series at Lower Columbia College’s Story Field in Longview.
Walla Walla, which scored 12 runs in a 12-2 triumph on Sunday, used nine hits and 10 walks from Black Bears’ pitchers to post its second one-sided victory in succession.
Monday’s conquest clinched the Sweets ninth series win of 2019 and the season set with Cowlitz four victories to two. Walla Walla took two of three games from the Black Bears when the teams met July 2-4 at Borleske Stadium.
Monday’s game did not start out in promising fashion for the visitors. Cowlitz center fielder Austin Bell led off the first inning with a five-pitch walk against Craven. The Black Bears’ Andres Sosa took Craven’s next delivery over the right-field wall to put Cowlitz up 2-0.
Black Bears’ starter Alex Salazar no-hit Walla Walla through the first three innings and faced the minimum number of hitters.
Craven regained the composure that earned him a spot on the WCL South Division All-Star team and retired 12 of the 15 hitters he faced in the second through fifth innings.
The Sweets got the offense in gear in the top of the fourth inning. Ryan Johnston and Justin Folz walked. Cesar Lopez knifed an RBI double through the left-center field alley that scored Johnston and sent Folz to third. Chazz Martinez was handed a free pass, and Brock Ephan torched a two-bagger to right field that brought in Folz and Lopez, and advanced Martinez to third. Martinez scored on a wild pitch and Ephan took third. Ephan scored on a Caleb Farmer single to center.
Connor Cirillo walked to lead off a four-run fifth inning. One out later, Folz earned a base on balls. Martinez walked to load the bases, and Ephan lasered a three-RBI double to right center. Farmer, as he did in the fourth inning, sent Ephan to the plate with a single that grew Walla Walla’s lead to seven tallies, 9-2.
The Sweets scored two more times in the sixth. Bryce Vitt led off with a base knock and went to second on a one-out walk issued to Johnston. Folz doubled to right to score Vitt and advance Johnston to third. Johnston hit home plate on a Lopez bouncer to second.
Newcomer Jake Dahle threw scoreless sixth and seventh frames before his teammates scored their last run of the game. Folz lined a one-out single to right and Lopez sent him around with a two-base hit.
Cowlitz scored twice in both the eighth and ninth innings to establish the final margin.
Walla Walla starts a three-game series in Portland Tuesday night at 7:05.Read Less
Cesar Lopez and Brock Ephan combined for seven hits while pitchers Brayde Hirai and Landon Boeneke combined on a three-hitter Sunday as the Walla Walla Sweets powered their way to a 12-2 victory over the Cowlitz Black Bears in West Coast League baseball action at Lower Columbia College’s Story Field in Longview.
Ryan Johnston started off the Walla Walla first with a walk. One out later, Lopez lined a single off the right shin of Cowlitz starter Dylan Pottgieser, thus leading to an early exit by the Black Bears’ hurler. Chazz Martinez followed with a walk against Dale Takalo, and Johnston scored on a wild pitch.
Cowlitz evened the score on a balk in the home first before the Sweets broke through for two runs in the second. Justin Folz walked with one out, Patrick Caulfield drew a base on balls with two out, and Lopez drove them both in with a looping double to left field.
Hirai retired six of seven hitters he faced over his next two frames and chalked up a couple of strikeouts in the process.
Hirai walked the first two hitter he faced in the bottom of the fourth, but proved to be more than up to the task of keeping the 4-1 Sweets lead. Brian Cromwell bunted in the air to Hirai, Seth Beckstead bounced back to the mound, and Zach Smith was denied on a grounder to third.
Walla Walla upped its advantage to five, 6-1, in the fifth. Parker Price reached base on a fielder’s choice, stole both second and third, and scored on an error. Johnston later contributed a run-scoring single.
While the Sweets enjoyed a productive offensive night, Boeneke retired 11 of 14 hitters faced in innings five through eight before yielding a run in the ninth. His five-inning effort, which included two K’s, earned him the win.
The rubber game of the series is Monday night at 6:35.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets managed just six hits and committed four errors Saturday night in a 5-1 loss to the Cowlitz Black Bears in the opening game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series at Lower Columbia College’s Story Field in Longview.
The Sweets, who have lost seven of their last nine games, are now 4-8 in the second half and 22-17 in all WCL games this season. Cowlitz improved its second-half record to 9-4 and is 19-21 overall.
Walla Walla’s evening of offensive ineptitude was established in the first two innings. Cesar Lopez belted a two-out double and went to third on a passed ball, but did not score.
The Black Bears clutched up in the bottom of the first. Austin Bell, who led all batters with three hits in the game, led off with a single and scored on a two-out hit by Josh Marchese.
The Sweets got a lead-off two-bagger from Caleb Farmer in the second inning. He went to third on a fly ball to deep center lifted by Justin Folz. Emanuel Dean walked one out later, but Walla Walla failed to tally.
Sweets starting pitcher Ty Hueckman did his part to keep Walla Walla close with four innings of one-run, four-hit ball, but allowed a lead-off home run to Heath Pickhardt in the fifth. Hueckman’s night ended after five frames in which he logged five strikeouts and did not walk a batter.
Walla Walla managed just two hits in the first five innings against Cowlitz starter Nate Packard, but rallied against reliever Kyle Rich in the sixth. Patrick Caulfield led off with a triple down the right-field line and scored on a grounder to second struck by Parker Price. Lopez and Chazz Martinez followed with back-to-back single that set up a runners-at-the corners, one-out scenario, but the Sweets were unable to produce the tying run.
Cowlitz put the game out of reach with two runs in the seventh inning and another in the eighth.
In spite of its defensive shortcomings, Walla Walla executed some stellar plays while out in the field. Farmer dove to his right and threw out Zack Smith on a bang-bang play at first base in the second inning. Catcher Bryce Vitt threw out Bell trying to steal second in the fifth inning and gunned down Braden DeBenedictis at third one frame later. Folz ended the bottom of the eighth by ranging to his left to smother a ground ball hit by Bell and threw him out at first base.
The middle game of the three-game series is Sunday afternoon at 3:05.Read Less
Visiting Wenatchee scored four unearned runs in the top of the eighth inning Friday night and salvaged the final game of a three-game series with the Walla Walla Sweets, 5-3, at Borleske Stadium.
Both starting pitchers – Walla Walla right hander Ben Johnson and southpaw Jake Saum of the AppleSox – retired opposing batters in order in the first inning. Johnson struck out Connor Kiffer to begin the game, gave up a single to Ryan Altenberger, and got Johnny Sage to hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Johnson gave up back-to-back, one-out singles to Blake Klassen and Hunter Montgomery in the second inning, then walked Kody Darcy to load the bases. Brett Gillis lined out to second for out No. 2, but Alex Jemel drew a walk to force in a run. Johnson avoided further damage by getting Kiffer to ground out to third.
Johnson worked a 1-2-3 third before giving way to Andrew Mosiello, who allowed just one hit in the fourth inning, struck out the side in the fifth, and yielded a one-base knock and fanned two in the sixth.
Walla Walla edged ahead in the sixth inning. Ryan Johnston led off with a single, went to second on a balk, and ran to third on a Cesar Lopez single. Johnston scored when Brock Ephan hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Petrie and Cirillo walked in the seventh. Parker Price reached on a two-out error that allowed Petrie to score.
Right hander Mason Kokodynski authored a perfect seventh inning including a strikeout. Wenatchee’s Justin Lutz reached on an error with one out in the eighth and Sage singled. Kokodynski struck out Dalton Harum, but walked Klassen on a borderline 3-2 pitch that put AppleSox at every base. Following a pitching change, Montgomery and Darcy poked back-to-back, two-run singles.
The Sweets tried to come back in the ninth. Cirillo and Price walked, then moved up on a wild pitch. Johnson then made admirable contact on a pay-off pitch, but flew out to Sage in left for the final out of the game.
Walla Walla opens a three-game series and six-game road trip Saturday night at 6:35 against the Cowlitz Black Bears.Read Less
Ryan Johnston tosses six hitless frames highlighted by eight strikeouts and 3 runs from the home team
The Walla Walla Sweets scored three times in the bottom of the first inning and starting pitcher Ryan Johnston tossed six hitless frames highlighted by eight strikeouts Thursday night in a 3-2 West Coast League victory over the Wenatchee AppleSox at Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla, which clinched its eighth series triumph, is now 4-6 in the WCL’s second half and 22-15 in all league games this season.
Wenatchee is 8-6 in the second half and 20-21 in 2019.
Johnston allowed a lead-off walk to Kodie Kolden to start Thursday’s game, but retired Ryan Altenberger on a foul fly to catcher Bryce Vitt, and both Johnny Sage and Dalton Harum by swinging strikeout.
The Sweets Patrick Caulfield struck out to begin the bottom of the first, but reached base when AppleSox catcher Justin Lutz was unable to locate the third-strike delivery from starter Seth Kuykendall. Parker Price moved Caulfield around to third with a double into the right field corner. Cesar Lopez grounded to short to bring in Caulfield and send Price to third. Chazz Martinez lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Price. Newcomer Bryce Vitt kept the inning going with a single and David Le Bioda dropped a hit into left field that bounced behind a diving Sage for an RBI double.
Johnston posted three-up, three-down innings in the second, third, and fourth. The latter inning included a foul fly off the bat of Sage that Vitt, sliding on his knees, caught in front of the Sweets third-base dugout.
“I slid, turned my back into the fence, and came up with it in the palm of my glove,” Vitt said.
Blake Klassen was hit by a pitch to begin the fifth. Not to worry, though. Hunter Montgomery grounded to second, Connor Kiffer flew out to right, and Lutz rolled to first to conclude the frame and keep the no-hitter intact.
Strikeouts of Jason Harayda, Kolden, and Altenberger brought the top of the sixth to a quick end.
Harum lifted a deep fly ball to right-center field with one out in the seventh that Caulfield dove for, but was unable to grab. By the time right fielder Emanuel Dean threw the ball back into the infield, Harum was at third with a triple. He scored on an infield grounder by Klassen. Landon Boeneke replaced Johnston and got Montgomery on a fly to left.
“We came out ready to play,” Johnston said. “I was able to throw strikes and the defense helped me out by making some great plays. I threw my off-speed for strikes and was keeping their hitters off balance.”
Kiffer and Lutz walked to begin the Wenatchee eighth. Harayda sacrificed the runners to second and third, and was safe at first on an error. Lefty Brayde Hirai entered and got Kolden to ground into a 5-2 fielder’s choice, then fanned Altenberger. After a walk to Sage that forced in a run, Lopez tracked down a fly to left by Harum a stride from the wall to keep the Sweets up.
Hirai walked Klassen to open the ninth. He struck out Montgomery on a pitch in the dirt for the first out of the inning and, on the play, Klassen attempted to go to second. Vitt’s throw through was high, but Price leaped high in the air, gloved the ball, and slapped the tag on Klassen for the second out. Kiffer grounded to second for the game’s final out.
The final game of the series is Friday night at 7:05. As part of the Sweets 10-year celebration, Top 32 Sweets Memories posters will go to the first 1,000 fans through the Borleske Stadium gates.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets scored four times in the seventh inning and once in the eighth Wednesday night, then stifled a ninth-inning rally by Wenatchee, and posted a 7-4 victory in the opening game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series at Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla, which snapped a five-game losing streak, improved its WCL second-half record to 3-6 and its overall league mark to 21-15.
The AppleSox are now 8-5 in the second half of the season, and 20-20 overall in WCL play.
The Sweets, who were averaging just two runs a game during their five-game slide, scored a pair of two-out runs in the second inning. Parker Price reached base on the first of five Wenatchee errors in the game, and scored the game’s initial run when Carson Green divided the right-center field gap with a triple Green crossed the plate on a single up the middle by Connor Cirillo.
Wenatchee scored four times in the fourth inning and AppleSox starting pitching Ryan Long helped keep the visitors in the driver’s seat with a solid six-inning effort. Long retired 11 of the final 15 hitters he faced after yielding the Cirillo base knock in the second.
The AppleSox had a chance to break the game open in the seventh inning when they loaded the bases with two out. But Walla Walla reliever Nick Irwin snuffed out the threat by striking out Kody Darcy looking on a 2-2 pitch.
Walla Walla rallied against the Wenatchee bullpen in the home half of the seventh. Cameron Sommer hit Michael Petrie to begin the frame, Green got aboard on an error and Cirillo bounced out to the mound to advance the runners to second and third. Patrick Caulfield scored Petrie and moved Green up 90 feet with his third single of the contest. After pitcher Landon Schirer entered and Caulfield was thrown out trying to steal second base, Justin Folz walked, and Cesar Lopez singled in Green. Brock Ephan then worked the count full against Schirer before smashing a tie-breaking, two-RBI double to right that put the Sweets up 6-4.
“He tried to come after me with a fastball,” Ephan said. “I got a 3-2 fastball inside and was able to drive it.”
Irwin started the top of the eighth by fanning Brett Gillis and, after giving up a single to Connor Kiffer, struck out Kodie Kolden and retired Ryan Altenberger on a fly to center.
Price led off the Sweets eighth with a walk and scored on Wenatchee’s final snafu of the night.
The AppleSox Johnny Sage led off the ninth against Irwin with a soft single over the second-base bag and just out of the reach of Cirillo. Dalton Harum hit a deep fly to left that Green caught for the first out of the inning, and Blake Klassen produced a broken-bat hit through the left side of the infield. But Irwin displayed glacial calm the rest of the way and used that cool persona to strike out Hunter Montgomery swinging and Darcy looking to complete two-and-a third innings of tally-free relief.
“It was about locating the fastball and throwing the slider when they didn’t expect it,” said the 6-foot-1, 150-pound Irwin – lovingly known to his teammates as “Bones.” “I was able to hold down their offense so ours could take flight.”
The middle game of the three-game series, to be highlighted by Bud Light Batting Practice and $1 Del Taco Tacos, is Thursday night at 6:35.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets (2-6 in the West Coast League’s second half and 20-15 in all WCL games) resume league action Wednesday night when they open a three-game series against the Wenatchee AppleSox (8-4, 20-19) at historic Borleske Stadium. Game times are 6:35 Wednesday and Thursday, and 7:05 on Friday.
Walla Walla will then leave town for its last six-game road trip of the season – a rendezvous that will take it to Cowlitz (8-4, 18-21) July 27-29 and Portland (7-2, 16-19) July 30-Aug. 1.
The Sweets are coming off being swept on the road by three-time defending league champion Corvallis. The Knights scored single runs in both the eighth and ninth innings on Sunday for a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory. Corvallis posted impressive wins in the first two games of the set, 9-2 on Friday and 10-3 Saturday.
Walla Walla’s Chazz Martinez smacked a 424-foot home run leading off the second inning on Sunday to shatter a scoreless tie and provide the Sweets with their first lead of the series. Starting pitcher Brayde Hirai threw four shutout innings, struck out three and picked off a runner as part of his afternoon in the bright, Corvallis sun. Caleb Farmer went deep with two outs in the seventh to put Walla Walla in front, 2-1.
Cesar Lopez drove in Walla Walla’s first run on Friday with a 4-6 fielder’s choice in the third inning, and a seventh-inning throwing error led to the Sweets last run of the contest.
Walla Walla centerfielder Patrick Caulfield continues to rank among the WCL’s top-10 hitters. The UCLA Bruin-to-be and former Santa Barbara City College star is sixth with a .341 batting average. He is second in runs scored (34) and has stolen a league-leading 26 bases. His pre-All-Star break portfolio also includes eight doubles, four home runs and 19 RBI.
Sweets pitchers Travis Craven and Ty Hueckman are in the top 10 in earned run average with marks of 1.91 (second) and 3.18 (ninth), respectively. Craven has allowed just 26 hits and seven earned runs, and has struck out 34 in 33 innings. Hueckman has given up 10 earned run and 12 walks, and fanned 25 in 28.1 frames.
Walla Walla took two out of three games from all three of its upcoming opponents during the WCL’s first half. Carson Green hit a two-out, two-run home run in the ninth inning of the opening game of a Father’s Day weekend series in Wenatchee. It was the difference in a 3-1 Sweets victory. Justin Folz connected for a two-RBI single in the seventh inning of game two that lifted Walla Walla to a 7-6 triumph that improved its franchise-best record start to 8-0. The Sweets led 7-0 after two-and-a-half innings of the series finale, but the AppleSox Quinn Ayers completed a massive comeback by the home team with a two-run dinger in the seventh inning of an 11-10 win.
Caulfield ripped a three-run home run in the series opener versus visiting Portland June 18 and Walla Walla withstood a bases-loaded, one-out scenario in the ninth inning for a 3-2 conquest. The Pickles scored six times in the first inning the following evening and held on for an 8-7 victory. Connor Cirillo highlighted a five-run second inning in the final game of the series with a three-run long fly and the Sweets won, 9-6.
Walla Walla took the first game of the Cowlitz series two weeks later by a resounding count of 13-4 at Borleske Stadium. The Sweets obliterated an early 2-2 tie with deuces in the third, fifth and sixth innings, and added five runs in the eighth. Walla Walla led the middle game of the set, 6-3, after two innings, but managed just three hits the rest of the way in a 7-6 loss. The Sweets celebrated the Fourth of July with a 6-4 victory. Farmer snapped a 2-2, sixth-inning tie with a two-RBI triple that commenced a four-run uprising.
The AppleSox sport the WCL’s No. 4 batter. Outfielder Cole McKenzie is hitting .370. Teammate Kodie Kolden is tied for ninth with Cowlitz’s Andres Sosa at .316. Wenatchee’s Blake Klassen and Ryan Altenberger are batting .305 and .297, respectively. Portland’s Kyle Manzardo and John Jensen have also posted respectable numbers. Manzardo, who is tied for first in the league with 12 doubles, is hitting .295 and Jensen checks in at .289.
Wenatchee has two hurlers that have cracked the top 10 in ERA. Sam Wyatt is at 2.23 and Henrik Reinersten boasts a 3.27 showing.
UPCOMING PROMOTIONS: 7/24 – In-stadium merchandise 40 percent off; 7/25 – Bud Light Batting Practice/ $1 Del Taco Tacos; 7/26 – Top 32 Sweets Moments Poster Giveaway (first 1,000 fans).
Sweets scoring by inning – 24 35 29 18 24 20 15 22 13 – 200; Opponents scoring by inning – 24 22 12 28 16 26 16 22 10 – 177* * -includes one run in 19th inning vs Victoria 7-17.
Multi-hit games: Patrick Caulfield 16; Cesar Lopez 9; Justin Folz 7; Parker Price 6; Chazz Martinez 6; Jordan Stubbings 4; Brock Ephan 3; Michael Petrie 3; Ben Fariss 3; Caleb Farmer 3; Carson Green 2; Emanuel Dean 2; Brandon Wagstaff 2; Connor Coballes 2; Ryan Johnston 1; David Le Bioda 1; Connor Cirillo 1; Tristan King 1.
Day Records: Monday: 1-1, Tuesday 5-2**, Wednesday 2-4**, Thursday 5-0**, Friday 5-1**, Saturday 5-3**, Sunday 2-4. ** – includes one non-league victory each of those days.
All-time, regular-season records vs. current WCL members: Corvallis 18-30; Wenatchee 36-31; Kelowna 29-33; Cowlitz 23-28; Bend 27-27; Bellingham 21-31; Victoria 17-15; Yakima Valley 17-16; Port Angeles 4-8; Portland 5-4; Ridgefield 2-1.
Sweets in 2019…
when leading after seven innings: 22-2; when leading after eight innings: 24-2; when trailing after seven innings: 0-9; when trailing after eight innings: 0-11; when scoring first: 13-7; when opponents score first: 12-8; when scoring two runs or less: 0-8; when scoring three runs or more: 25-7. These records include non-league games.
Corvallis scored one run in both the eighth and ninth innings Sunday afternoon and completed a three-game sweep of the Walla Walla Sweets with a 3-2, West Coast League baseball victory at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field.
The Knights improved to 7-1 in the WCL’s second half while the Sweets slipped to 2-6 after suffering their fifth straight loss.
Walla Walla starting pitcher Brayde Hirai set Corvallis down in order in the first inning. He retired Jake Holcroft on a fly ball to centerfield, Andy Atwood on a grounder to shortstop, and Briley Knight 4-3.
Chazz Martinez gave the Sweets their first lead of the series in the top of the second inning when he smashed an 0-1 pitch from Knights’ starter Tevita Gerber 424 feet to the left of the center-field hitters’ eye.
Hirai pitched four innings of scoreless ball to keep the lead intact. He struck out three, walked one, and picked off a runner as part of his afternoon.
Corvallis tied the game in the fifth before Walla Walla retook the edge in the seventh. With two out, Caleb Farmer lifted a delivery from Knights’ reliever William Kempner to left field that bounced off the top of the wall, then cleared it for a solo home run.
The Sweets had a chance to expand their lead in the eighth, but left the bases loaded.
Corvallis tied the game in the eighth, and Nick Yovetich opened the Knights’ ninth with a single. He went to second on a wild pitch, and move to third on a Trace Tamarro sacrifice bunt. After an intentional walk to Zack Moeller, Michael Dixon delivered an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop to end the game.
Walla Walla absorbed its second straight loss of the season in a game which it led after seven innings. It is now 1-1 in games in which it is tied after eight frames.
The Sweets, following the two-day league All-Star break, return to WCL play Wednesday night when they open a three-game series with the Wenatchee AppleSox at Borleske Stadium at 6:35.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets suffered their fourth straight loss Saturday night – a 10-3 defeat to the red-hot Corvallis Knights in West Coast League baseball action at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field.
Saturday’s triumph was Corvallis’ 21st in its last 22 WCL games and improved the Knights’ second-half and overall records to South Division-bests of 6-1 and 27-7.
The Sweets are now 2-5 and 20-14.
Walla Walla had a chance to break into the scoring column first on Saturday when Caleb Farmer and Justin Folz singled to start the second inning. But the opportunity fizzled after Parker Price, Brock Ephan, and David Le Bioda were retired in succession by Corvallis starting pitcher Brodie Cooper-Vasselakis.
The Knights put their first three hitters aboard in the home second and, unlike Walla Walla, made the most of their good fortune. Michael Curialle saw to it with a two-run single.
Andy Atwood tripled in Corvallis’ first run during a two-run third and later scored when he and Brooks Lee executed a double steal.
The Knights scored three times in the fourth before the Sweets tallied their first two runs of the night in the fifth. Ephan led off with a walk and Le Bioda punished a 2-1 pitch from Cooper-Vasselakis to the tune of a 373-foot home run to right field.
Briley Knight raised the Corvallis lead back to seven, 9-2, after spanking a two-RBI triple in the sixth inning.
Each team tallied a run in the eighth. Ryan Johnston belted a 364-foot home run with one out in the top half of the inning and Zack Moeller drew a bases-loaded walk in the home portion of inning eight.
Walla Walla slipped to 0-9 in games in which it has trailed after seven innings, 0-11 in contests which it trailed after eight frames, and 20-7 in league games in which it scored three runs or more.
The finale of the three-game series is Sunday at 3 p.m. The Sweets open a three-game, post-All-Star Break series Wednesday against against the Wenatchee AppleSox at historic Borleske Stadium.Read Less
The Corvallis Knights remained red hot at the expense of the Walla Walla Sweets on Friday night at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field.
Corvallis, which emerged on top of the West Coast League’s South Division wars during the first half of the 2019 campaign, broke open a tight game with four runs in the sixth inning and cruised to a 9-2 victory in game one of a three-game weekend series.
The Knights, who have won 20 of their last 21 league games, are now 5-1 in the WCL’s second half and improved to 26-7 overall.
Walla Walla, which suffered its third straight loss, is 2-4 and 20-13.
Corvallis produced the game’s first run with two out in the bottom of the second inning. Michael Curialle doubled and scored on an Elliott Willy single.
The Sweets evened the score in the third. Patrick Caulfield earned a one-out walk, then stole second and third – giving him 26 stolen bases for the season. Ryan Johnston walked and Caulfield scored on a 4-6 fielder’s choice off the bat of Cesar Lopez.
Corvallis reclaimed the edge in the home third and never looked back.
Walla Walla managed just one baserunner in innings four through six. It was Caleb Farmer, who walked with two out in the sixth.
The Knights blew the game open with a quartet of two-out runs in the bottom of the sixth. Matthew Gretler singled in the first tally, Willy drove home two teammates with a double into the left-field corner, and then crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
Walla Walla scored its final run in the seventh. Michael Petrie stroked a one-out single and moved to third on a Brock Ephan hit. Each Sweet moved up 90 feet on an errant pick-off throw to third by Knights’ catcher Zack Moeller.
Corvallis picked up two more runs in the bottom of the seventh. Briley Knight led off with his sixth home run of the season – a towering blow to right and, after a walk to Brooks Lee, Moeller doubled for an RBI.
The Knights added an unearned run in the eighth against Ephan, who wound up striking out the side in his only inning of work.
Game two of the series is Saturday night at 6:30.Read Less
Walla Walla centerfielder Patrick Caulfield is one of 12 players scheduled to participate in a Home-Run Derby competition on Monday that will kick off the West Coast League’s two-day All-Star extravaganza at Vince Genna Stadium in Bend, Commissioner Rob Neyer announced Friday.
The UCLA Bruin-to-be is fifth in the WCL in batting average (.362, 46-for-127). He has a league-leading 24 stolen bases in 27 attempts this season. The pre-All-Star resume is further spiced by eight doubles, four home runs and 19 RBI.
“It’s an honor to participate,” said Caulfield, who helped lead Santa Barbara City College to a 24-win season and playoff berth this past spring. “Hopefully, I can get a couple out.”
Caulfield is one of four Sweets who will suit up for the South Division All-Stars – joining teammates Justin Folz, Travis Craven, and Reid Sebby.
Walla Walla opens a three-game series at Corvallis tonight at 6:30.Read Less
The longest game in the history of the Walla Walla Sweets franchise ended in disappointment early Thursday morning at historic Borleske Stadium.
Chase Meidroth lofted a sacrifice fly to right field in the top of the 19th inning and the Victoria HarbourCats held off a Walla Walla rally in the bottom of the frame to eke out a 4-3 West Coast League baseball victory.
Victoria handed the Sweets just their third series loss of the season and improved to 7-3 in the second half of WCL play.
The heartbroken Sweets slipped to 2-3 in the second half and are now 20-12 in all league games.
Patrick Caulfield, who registered his 16th multi-hit game of the season, led off the bottom of the first inning with a double into the left-center field alley and scored the first run of the game one out later on a single to center by Cesar Lopez.
The HarbourCats scored an unearned run in the third inning against Sweets starting pitcher Ben Johnson. Chase Wehsener walked with two out, went to second on a Kyle Harper single, and crossed the plate on an error.
Walla Walla’s final tally came in the fourth inning on a 398-foot home run to left off the bat of Ben Fariss.
Pitchers Brennan Patterson, Charles Harrison, and Brayde Hirai combined to keep the HarbourCats off the scoreboard in innings four through eight despite some anxious moments in the fifth and sixth when the first two Victoria batters reached base on walks.
Tanner Haney started the HarbourCats’ ninth with a walk and Nick Plaia hit a two-run home run to left the knot the score at 3-3.
Both teams frittered away scoring chances over the next nine innings. The Sweets best opportunity squandered came in the 13th when they left the bases loaded.
Walla Walla’s threat in the bottom of the 19th started when Caulfield was hit by a pitch. Emanuel Dean singled him to third one out later. Dean went to second on defensive indifference, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the game.
The Sweets open a three-game weekend series on Friday night in Corvallis. Games Friday and Saturday are scheduled for 6:30 and the pre-All-Star Break finale starts Sunday at 3 p.m.Read Less
HarbourCats take game 2 over the Sweets and force a rubber match for game 3.
The Victoria HarbourCats scored six times on seven hits in the top half of the fourth inning Tuesday night, and pitchers Calvin Turchin and Connor Barison combined to allow just seven hits in a 7-1 victory over the Walla Walla Sweets in game two of a three-game West Coast League baseball series at Borleske Stadium.
Victoria, which finished at the top of the WCL’s North Division standings during the first half of league play, improved its second-half record to 6-3 and remained percentage points behind first-place Wenatchee.
Walla Walla, which suffered just its fourth home loss of the season, is 2-2 in the second half, 20-11 in all WCL games, and 25-11 overall.
The HarbourCats tallied the contest’s first run with two out in the top of the first inning. Griffin Paxton and Tyson Hays drew back-to-back walks on four pitches, and Emilio Nogales singled in Paxton from second base.
Sweets starting pitcher Ty Hueckman enjoyed much more success in the top of the second inning despite a one-out walk to Nick Adams. He sent Matt Clayton back to the dugout on a grounder to second prior to issuing the free pass, then got Kyle Sherick to foul out to catcher Caleb Farmer and struck out Parker Bramlett.
The Sweets tied the game in the home half of the second. Justin Folz ripped a one-out double and moved to third on an infield hit by Parker Price. One out later, Emanuel Dean singled in Folz to knot the score at 1-1.
Both starting pitchers opposed the minimum number of hitters in the third inning prior to the nightmarish fourth. Harrison Spohn hit a one-out homer, Adams socked a two-run bomb, Paxton drove a sacrifice fly to center field, and Hays and Nogales followed with RBI singles.
Walla Walla managed just two hits and five base runners in innings four through nine.
Right-hander Landon Boeneke allowed the final two runs of the fourth inning, but blanked the HarbourCats over the next two innings. Nate Dahle got himself in to, then out of, a bases-loaded, one-out quagmire in the seventh and tossed a spotless eighth. Southpaw Brayde Hirai K’d the first two hitters in the ninth on his way to a clean frame.
The final game of the series is Wednesday at 6:35 p.m.
A quartet of Walla Walla Sweets were named to the West Coast League’s South Division All-Star team this morning, as announced by league commissioner Rob Neyer.
Those who will travel to Bend for next Tuesday’s WCL equivalent to the mid-summer classic are center fielder Patrick Caulfield, third baseman/designated hitter Justin Folz, and pitchers Travis Craven and Reid Sebby.
The group will depart for Bend after the Sweets wrap up a three-game weekend series in Corvallis on Sunday.
Caulfield, who plans to further his collegiate career at UCLA, is currently sixth in the league in batting (.362 avg.), and is first in stolen bases (23), second in runs scored (32), and tied for fourth in hits (42). He has four home runs and 18 runs batted in, and is the author of 15 multi-hit games this season.
Folz, who will be attending St. John’s University, is hitting .303 with a pair of taters and 14 RBI, and is tied for second in the WCL with 10 doubles.
Craven, a Whitman College star, ranks third in the West Coast League with a 1.55 earned run average. He has thrown 29 innings over his 10 starts this season and has yielded just 22 hits and seven runs (five earned). The southpaw has walked only nine batters and struck out 31. Craven gave up a run, fanned three, and walked two over four innings in the Sweets 6-3 victory over Victoria on Monday night at Borleske Stadium.
Sebby, a Cypress College product, sports a minuscule 0.55 ERA over 16.1 innings. He has allowed 15 hits, two runs (one earned), seven walks, and has K’d 20. The right-hander notched his sixth save after throwing a scoreless ninth inning Monday night.
“We are excited for Patrick, Justin, Travis, and Reid,” Walla Walla manager Frank Mutz said. “They have been leaders on and off the field – a big part of starting the season 25-10 – and deserve this recognition. We are proud they will represent our city and our team.”
Right-hander Ty Hueckman, a Nevada hurler, narrowly missed a spot on the South roster. Hueckman is among the top five (among qualifying pitchers) in the WCL South in six statistical categories including innings pitched (23), wins (3), win percentage (1.000), batting average against (.150), walks and hits per innings pitched (.910), and batting average on balls in play (.174). Hueckman ranks in the division’s top 10 in strikeouts (21, sixth), strikeout-to-walk ratio (1.792, ninth), and strikeouts per nine innings (8.217, seventh).
The Sweets host Victoria in the middle game of a three-game series tonight at 6:35.Read Less
Two big swings proved to be enough for the Walla Walla Sweets Monday night in the opening game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series with the Victoria HarbourCats at historic Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla is now 2-1 in the WCL’s second half, 20-10 in all league counters, and 25-10 overall. Victoria is 5-3 and 23-11.
Sweets starting pitcher Travis Craven admittedly did not have his best stuff, but it was good enough to get him through four representative innings. He retired the first two hitters in the opening inning, then allowed the next two batters to reach base before striking out Nick Plaia to end the inning.
Johnston worked HarbourCats’ starter Mitch Lines for a one-out walk in the home first. Cesar Lopez, who connected for three hits on the night, singled Johnston to second. Martinez followed with his fourth home run of the season – a 381-foot fly that cleared the left-field wall.
Kyle Harper got a run back for Victoria in the second inning when he sent Craven’s first delivery over the wall in left. Harrison Spohn doubled five pitches later, and went to third on an infield out. But Craven struck out Chase Meidroth and got Parker Bramlett to ground out to short to end the frame.
The HarbourCats got their first two hitters aboard in the third. But Jason Willow, who led off with a single and went to second on a Chase Wehsener walk, was thrown out by catcher Michael Petrie in what turned out to be a futile attempt to swipe third. Tyson Hays singled and, after Plaia advanced Wehsener to third with a fly to center, Craven exacted revenge on Harper by striking him out.
Craven faced the minimum number of hitters in the fourth. He allowed a two-out single to Meidroth, but Petrie closed out the inning by eliminating the Harbourcats’ No. 9 hitter 2-to-4.
Emanuel Dean, Petrie, and Patrick Caulfield singled with one out in the last of the fourth. Johnston worked the count to 2-and-2, then cleared the bases with a two-bagger that split the left-center alley and gave the Sweets a 6-1 lead.
Andrew Mosiello made the lead stand up. He retired nine of the 11 batters he threw to in innings five through seven and fanned four.
“I threw all my pitches for strikes and pounded the zone,” Mosiello said. “With the lead, you’re not to worried about giving up the lead, so you can be more aggressive and try different things out.”
Victoria got a two-run home run from Tyson Hays in the eighth and Plaia doubled after that. Nick Irwin entered the game out of the bullpen and recorded three outs. He allowed a line drive to Harper that shortstop Caleb Farmer leaped into the air to glove for the first out, then got Spohn and Clayton to fly out to right and left, respectively.
Reid Sebby allowed back-to-back singles to start the ninth inning before putting the hammer down. He K’d Willow, then yielded a ground ball up the middle to Wehsener that Farmer underhanded to Johnston for the force out at second. Johnston then unleashed an accurate throw to first baseman Jordan Stubbings to complete a game-ending, 6-4-3 double play.
Game two of the series is Tuesday night at 6:35. The evening will include Bud Light batting practice and $1 Del Taco tacos.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets, 1-1 in the second half of the West Coast League season, 19-10 in all WCL games, and 24-10 overall, resume league play Monday night when they open a three-game series with the Victoria HarbourCats (4-2, 22-11 prior to a Sunday game at Bend) at historic Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla is scheduled to have an off-day Thursday before traveling to Corvallis (3-1, 24-7 before a Sunday contest with Kelowna) this weekend for a pre-All-Star Game series Friday through Sunday at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field.
This week’s tasks figure to be daunting. Victoria went on an 8-and-2 tear to edge its way past Bellingham for first-half supremacy in the WCL’s North Division. The Knights, who the Sweets swept in a season-opening, three-game series June 4-6 in Walla Walla, have claimed 18 of their last 19 outings against league opposition, and prevailed in their final 15 first-half contests to earn a South Division playoff berth.
The Sweets defeated the Cascade Collegiate League, 5-2, on Saturday night in their final non-league game of 2019. Cesar Lopez had three hits in the game while Patrick Caulfield, Caleb Farmer, and Jordan Stubbings collected two apiece. Walla Walla pitchers Chazz Martinez, Dimick Wood, Charles Harrison, Brayde Hirai, Ryan Johnston, and Reid Sebby combined on a five-hitter and to strike out 19 in the game.
Prior to 9-3 and 18-3 triumphs over the Military All-Stars, the Sweets split two games in Bellingham before having the rubber match of the series postponed by rain. It has been rescheduled, if necessary, August 12. Walla Walla dropped the series opener Monday night by a 4-1 count before bouncing back for an 11-7 win on Tuesday. The Sweets scored all of their runs in the latter game with two out.
Walla Walla dropped just its second series of the year before its trip to Bellingham. The Sweets lost two of three games to Kelowna to begin a six-game road trip. A game planned for July 5 was postponed due to inclement weather and was made up as part of a doubleheader the following day. The Falcons took both seven-inning games by scores of 3-2. Walla Walla salvaged the final game of the set by a 6-3 count.
The Sweets opened the month of July with a series win over the Cowlitz Black Bears. Walla Walla won game one, 13-4, lost the second game 7-6, and emerged victorious on July 4 by a 6-4 tally.
Caulfield continues to rank in the league’s top five in hitting. He is currently fifth with a .369 average. He has four home runs and 18 runs batted in and leads the WCL with 23 stolen bases. Teammate Justin Folz is scratching the surface of the top 10. The Sweets third baseman/designated hitter is at .314 (11th), is tied for the league lead in doubles (10), and has hit two round trippers and driven in 14 runs. Left-handed pitcher Travis Craven is third among WCL pitchers with a 1.44 earned run average. He has thrown 25 innings in nine starts and boasts a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (28 K’s and 7 BB’s).
Victoria’s Frankie Niemann leads the WCL with a .418 batting average (38-for-91) and has a home run and 21 RBI on the season. Parker Bramlett is just one batting-average point behind Folz and has 12 runs driven across. Pitcher Cade Smith, like Craven, has an impressive K-to-BB ratio. He has fanned 27 and doled out seven bases on balls in 29 innings.
The Knights’ Jake Holcroft is second in the WCL with a .397 batting average. He has a half-dozen doubles, two triples, 25 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Briley Knight is at .357 with four long flies and 27 RBI, and is tied with Folz for the league’s top spot in two-base hits. Two other Corvallis hitters are in the top 10 in batting – Michael Curialle (.333) and Andy Atwood (.323).
All three games between the Sweets and HarbourCats begin at 6:35. The first two games of the Corvallis series will start at 6:30 and the finale is set to commence at 3 p.m.
UPCOMING PROMOTIONS: 7/15 – Bud Light Batting Practice and $1 Del Taco Tacos; 7/16 – Fans in attendance that purchase merchandise in the stadium team store will receive a 40 percent discount.
Six Walla Walla Sweets pitchers combined to strike out 19 batters Saturday night during a 5-2 victory over the Cascade Collegiate League at Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla concluded the non-West Coast League portion of its 2019 schedule 5-and-0. The franchise is now 39-4 all-time against non-league opponents.
Sweets starting pitcher Chazz Martinez stranded baserunners at first and second in the initial inning of Saturday’s game and struck out two. Third baseman Justin Folz ended CCL’s threat by snaring a line drive off the bat of Caleb Manuel for out No. 3.
Martinez, a left-hander, ruled in the second inning. He fanned Alex Hussey, Dawson Warner (looking), and Jamey Richardson in succession.
Dimick Wood took over for Martinez in the third inning and Alex Ballot greeted him rudely with a lead-off double. He then struck out Alex Schmitz on a called third, but Ballot moved up 90 feet on the play by way of a passed ball. Folz came to the rescue again when he gloved a liner struck by Chase Matheny and stepped on the third-base bag to double off Ballot.
CCL took its only lead of the game in the fourth. Zach Jones led off with a two-base hit and, after Wood struck out Henry Lenaburg, Manuel drove an 0-1 pitch over the left-field wall. Wood regained his cool and K’d Hussey and Warner to close out the inning.
Fellow right-hander Charles Harrison replaced Wood in the fifth inning and got off to a rocky start – hitting Richardson and walking Ballot. But Harrison, in the end, proved to be a portrait of poise. He struck out Schmitz, Matheny, and Jones consecutively to duck any possibility of damage.
Patrick Caulfield led off the Walla Walla fifth with a single. He went to second on a Ryan Johnston grounder to third, and scored on a hit to center by Cesar Lopez – one of three base knocks he had in the game.
Lefty Brayde Hirai made his contribution to the Sweets K club when he ended a 1-2-3 top of the sixth by ringing up Hussey swinging.
Johnston moved from second base to the mound in the seventh. He disposed of Warner and Richardson on strikes and, one batter later, retired Schmitz on a fly to center.
Johnston faced the minimum number of hitters in the eighth. He sat the first two hitters down with third strikes, and Lenaburg hit a comebacker to the hill for the inning’s last out.
Reid Sebby gave up a lead-off single to Manuel in the ninth, but struck out pinch-hitter Jack Carper and got Warner to sky to right. After issuing a walk to Richardson, Sebby notched a strikeout to end the game.
The Sweets host Victoria for a three-game series beginning Monday night at 6:35.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets will make up a July 10 rainout in Bellingham on August 12, if necessary, the team announced Saturday.
A decision was reached during a phone conversation between Walla Walla President Zachary Fraser and Bellingham General Manager Stephanie Morrell to evaluate potential days to make up the game per West Coast League rules.
“There are no open dates where both teams are available to play before the conclusion of the WCL season,” Fraser said. “‘If necessary’ would be inclusive of the fact that if the game is ‘if necessary’ for one team, it is ‘if necessary’ for both teams.”
The Sweets and Bells will work with the league office to determine the various outcomes that could affect either team or others in the league standings, Fraser said.
Walla Walla is scheduled to finish the regular season on Sunday, August 11 in Yakima, WA, while Bellingham is scheduled to finish the regular season in Kelowna on the same day. Both teams would travel to Bellingham and play the game as a matinee, with official start time to be determined closer to the August 12 date. The WCL Division Series are scheduled to begin Tuesday, August 13.
“I appreciate the spirit and effort of the Bells’ organization to quickly work on a solution,” Fraser said.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets improved to 4-0 in non-West Coast League games Friday night after an 18-3 victory over the Military All-Stars at Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla is now 23-10 overall after improving the franchise’s all-time record to 38-4 against non-WCL opponents.
The Sweets displayed a bit of the rocket’s red glare on a night when they honored the memory of a local hero – military member Matthew Fazzari – in a moving pre-game ceremony, fans applauded enthusiastically for the Military All-Stars and saluted them for their service, and $2,500+ dollars was raised for the local Veterans Center.
Chazz Martinez lifted a 361-foot fly over the left-field wall leading off the second inning for the game’s first tally. Emanuel Dean followed with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Connor Cirillo.
The Sweets scored four more times in the third. Martinez – with a runner on – Dean, and David Le Bioda hit back-to-back-to-back homers. Martinez (384 feet) and Dean (411) went to left and Le Bioda (392) homered to right.
Walla Walla scored eight runs in the fourth. Le Bioda and Cirillo started the scoring with consecutive RBI singles; Mason Kokodynski was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded; and Connor Coballes, and Michael Petrie further highlighted the frame with run-scoring singles of their own.
The All-Stars got three runs back in the fifth inning. Tim Duncan drove in two with a triple and Matthew Sorrow doubled him home.
Walla Walla starting pitcher Nate Dahle threw four hitless innings. He struck out four and walked an equal number of hitters.
The Sweets continue their six-game stay at Borleske Stadium Saturday night against a select team made up of Cascade Collegiate League athletes. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets opened a six-game homestand at historic Borleske Stadium in fine fashion Thursday night with a 9-3, non-West Coast League victory over the Military All-Stars in a game much closer than the final tally suggests.
Walla Walla improved the franchise’s all-time record against non-WCL opponents to 37-4. It won two games against the Highline Bears in early June to complete an unblemished, season-opening run of home games at 8-0.
Sweets starting pitcher Mason Kokodynski shut out the All-Stars over the first two innings. He retired them in order in the first and slithered out of a first-and-second, two-out scenario in the second.
The All-Stars scored twice in the third inning. Ranz Bodison and Jordan Falcon executed a double steal to produce the first run and the second scored on an error.
The Sweets picked up their first run in the home portion of inning three. Kokodynski led off with a double, moved to third on a 6-3 ground out by Connor Coballes, and scored on a sacrifice fly lifted to right field by Connor Cirillo.
Walla Walla claimed the lead for keeps in the fourth inning. Emanuel Dean started the frame with a single and went to second when Bryson Spagnuolo walked. Jordan Stubbings doubled both runners in and scored one out later on a David Le Bioda sac fly to right.
Tim Duncan brought the Military All-Stars within one, 4-3, in the top half of the seventh inning with an RBI single that scored Falcon – who reached base with a one-out double.
The Sweets responded with four runs in their half of the seventh. Kokodynski led off with a walk and Coballes singled him to third. Cirillo doubled in Kokodynski and sent Coballes skedaddling to third. Carson Green, Dean, and Ben Fariss followed with walks – the latter two of which forced in a run. Stubbings brought in the final run of the inning with a single.
Cirillo led off the Walla Walla eighth with a walk. He scooted into second on a wild pitch and scored on a Green single.
Sweets pitchers displayed a fair amount of courage throughout the game. Kokodynski lasted three innings, Spagnuolo pitched for an equal amount of innings despite issuing five walks, Coballes allowed one run in his two innings of mound duty, and Andrew Mosiello was able to overcome two walks to hurl a scoreless ninth.
The Military All-Stars stranded 14 runners in the game.
The final game of the two-game series, which will feature an appearance by the Mariner Moose, is Friday at 7:05 p.m.Read Less