The West Coast League South Division-leading Walla Walla Sweets, after continuing to build on the best start in franchise history by finishing 4-2 on their most recent homestand against Portland and Port Angeles, begin a six-game road trip Tuesday when they open a three-game series at division rival Bend.
The second stop on the trip will come against another South foe – second-place Ridgefield – over the weekend.
Walla Walla dropped a 10-5 decision on Sunday to Port Angeles its last time out. That said, the Sweets won the previous two matchups against the Lefties by counts of 4-3 on Friday and 9-8 on Saturday. Cesar Lopez and Connor Cirillo had two hits apiece in the Friday win. Cirillo, Jordan Stubbings, and Emanuel Dean collected one run batted in apiece. Pitchers Chazz Martinez, Landon Boeneke, Ty Hueckman, Nick Irwin, and Reid Sebby managed to overcome a combined nine walks by striking out an equal number and allowing just four hits. Boeneke (2.1 innings pitched), Hueckman (2), and Sebby (1) did not allow a run. Justin Folz had three hits, Ben Fariss and Lopez added two each, and David Le Bioda contributed a two-run single in Saturday’s triumph. Martinez decided the issue with a 342-foot home run over the left field wall on the first pitch in the home half of the ninth inning.
The Sweets clinched their series with Portland on Thursday with a 9-6 final tally. Patrick Caulfield had three hits and scored twice. Fariss and Cirillo had two hits apiece. Cirillo hit a game-tying, three-run home run in the second inning and Brock Ephan blasted a 421-foot bomb to left with one out in the sixth. Prior to dropping the middle game of the series to the Pickles, 8-7, on Wednesday, Walla Walla proved to be more sweet, dill, and kosher in the opening game of the set on Tuesday – a 3-2 victory. Caulfield accounted for all of the Sweets runs in the contest by way of a three-run homer in the fifth inning.
Folz enters the week second in the WCL in batting average with a .455 number (20 hits in 44 at-bats). He ranks second in on-base percentage (.556) and first in slugging percentage (.727). Caulfield is fourth in batting (.397) and tops in both runs scored (20) and stolen bases (12). Two other Sweets are at .300 or better – Lopez (.310) and Carson Green (.300).
Travis Craven leads Sweets pitchers with a 1.50 ERA. The Whitman College product has allowed just five hits, two earned runs, four walks and has fanned 17 in 12 innings.
Bend enters the week fourth in the WCL South with a 6-9 record – six games behind the Sweets – and is coming off a 12-4 home loss to North Division-leading Bellingham on Sunday. Zach Needham is the team’s leading hitter with a .293 average. Chase Fernlund is close behind at .289. Justin Parsons is next at .273 and is third in the league in RBI (14).
The Sweets and Elks met at Borleske Stadium two weekends ago and Walla Walla produced a three-game sweep with 3-0, 9-6, and 16-11 victories. Caufield connected for six hits in the series on his way to being named this season’s first WCL Player of the Week. Bryson Spagnuolo, Irwin, Charles Harrison, and Sebby teamed up to yield just four hits in the opener. Lopez, Folz, and Parker Price had three hits apiece in a wild series finale on June 9.
Ridgefield’s Raptors, 10-5, made their presence felt early in this 2019 campaign by fashioning a six-game winning streak and, like the Sweets, have two of the top seven hitters in the league entering play this week. Michael Hicks (.386) is fifth and Jack Bauer (.378) is seventh. Grayson Sterling (.333) also finds himself above the .300 mark. Pitcher Carter Benbrook leads the WCL with a 0.75 ERA. Benbrook has allowed just eight hits, one earned run, two walks, and has K’d seven in 12 innings of work.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday games in Bend are scheduled for 6:35. Probable Sweets starters are Martinez, Craven, and Andrew Mosiello. The first two games in Ridgefield – on Friday and Saturday – are set for 6:35 and Sunday’s tilt is scheduled to begin at 3:05.Read Less
The visiting Port Angeles Lefties scored three runs in the fifth inning and five more times in the eighth inning Sunday night during a 10-5 victory over the Walla Walla Sweets in the final game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series at historic Borleske Stadium.
Sunday’s setback was a disappointing end to an otherwise successful six-game homestand. Walla Walla finished 4-2 after taking two out of three games from both Portland and Port Angeles. The Sweets are now 12-3 on the year and lead the WCL’s South Division by two games over Ridgefield.
The Lefties’ Gavin Rork led off Sunday’s game with a lead-off walk. He went to second on a Justin Fugitt single and went to third on the first of four Walla Walla errors. He scored on a C.J. Schauwecker ground out to third.
Sweets starter Ben Johnson pitched a scoreless second inning and reliever Nate Dahle faced the minimum number of hitters in the third. Dahle did give up a one-out hit to Matthew Christian, but later eliminated him with a pick-off move to first.
Walla Walla plated a pair of runs in the home third. Parker Price led off with a walk, stole second, and trotted to third on a balk. Justin Folz, the No. 2 hitter in the WCL entering the game, scored Price with a double to right-center field one out later. Folz scooted to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Ben Fariss single to left.
Dahle put up a zero in the fourth inning before the Lefties put up a trey in the fifth inning. Christian delivered a two-out, RBI single to tie the game and later scored on a Sweets snafu. Nick Diponzio brought in the final run with a one-base knock.
Relievers Dimick Wood of the Sweets and Kyle Hamrick of Port Angeles tossed three-up, three-down ball in the seventh before the game got away from the home team in the eighth. The Lefties achieved their five-run frame on five hits including a two-run home run by Christian to cap the inning.
The Sweets scored twice in the last half of inning eight. Dean stroked a one-out single and scored on a two-out, lost-in-the-lights double to right center by Caleb Farmer. Cesar Lopez sent Farmer home with a pinch-hit single for what proved to be the final run of the contest.
Walla Walla received four walks in the ninth, but were unable to score thanks in part to a 1-6-3 double play executed by the visitors.
The Sweets open a six-game road trip Tuesday when they open a three-game series in Bend. Walla Walla’s probable starters for meetings with the Elks are Chazz Martinez, Travis Craven, and Andrew Mosiello. The second leg of the Sweets road adventure will take them to Ridgefield for games Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with the Raptors.
Chazz Martinez hits a walk-off homerun off of the first and only pitch of the bottom of the 9th.
Chazz Martinez belted a walk-off home run on the first and only pitch of the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday night to lift the Walla Walla Sweets to a 9-8 victory over the Port Angeles Lefties in the middle game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series at historic Borleske Stadium.
The Sweets are now a franchise- and West Coast League best 12-2 on the season, clinched their fifth series of the 2019 campaign, and moved to 4-1 on their current six-game homestand which ends Sunday night with another contest against the Lefties. Game time is 6:05.
Port Angeles pushed across a couple of runs in the second inning. Matthew Christian homered to left field off of Walla Walla starter Travis Craven to lead off the frame and Zander Marco contributed a two-out, RBI single.
The Sweets tallied four runs on one hit in the bottom half of inning two. Ben Fariss led off with a walk and Cesar Lopez reached base on a fielder’s choice. Caleb Farmer walked to load the bases and David Le Bioda followed with a game-tying single to right. Farmer went to third and LeBioda advanced to second on an intended throw home from Lefties’ right fielder Jeff Jamison. But when the throw rolled into the Sweets third-base dugout, Farmer was awarded home. Le Bioda later scored on a 6-4 fielder’s choice struck by Connor Cirillo.
Craven set down Port Angeles in order in the third inning. Walla Walla added three more runs in the home third. Justin Folz led off with a single and then was balked to both second and third. Fariss scored Folz with a single and Lopez smashed an RBI double to right. Farmer made it 7-2 with a hit to left-center.
Connor Denning got a run back for Port Angeles in the fourth inning with a single to center.
Lopez started the Sweets fifth with a double. Farmer was safe at first and Lopez moved to third on an infield error. Lopez scored when Le Bioda hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
Two walks and an equal number of hits allowed the Lefties to crawl back into the game and plate three runs in the seventh inning. Port Angeles added a run in the eighth and scored the tying run in the ninth on a wild pitch. Pitcher Brayde Hirai entered the game with runners at the corners and one out in the ninth. But he got Charlie Nasuti to foul out to first and Trevor Rosenberg on a bouncer back to the mound to avoid further damage.
“It was just another outing,” Hirai said. “I knew I had to go in there and throw strikes. I knew the (defense) had my back. I knew if I got out of that, I knew we were going to win it.”
Martinez, who entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement, unleashed a 342-foot bomb over the left field wall on the first pitch in the last of the ninth to send the Sweets bench and a partisan crowd of 1,427 into a state of triumphant euphoria.
“I was looking for a fastball away and I was sitting on it – dead red,” Martinez said. “I knew it was gone, but i was not sure if it was going to be fair or foul. I yelled, “Stay fair!”
Seven of Walla Walla’s last eight games have been decided by two runs or less. The streak began last weekend in Wenatchee when the Sweets took game one of the series, 3-1, the second game by a 7-6 count, and lost the finale, 11-10. Walla Walla started its current homestand with a 3-2 win over Portland on Tuesday before losing 8-7 Wednesday. The Sweets edged past the Lefties, 4-3, on Friday before their narrow escape Saturday.
The Walla Walla Sweets baseball club improved their West Coast League South Division-best record to 11-2 on Friday night with a 4-3 victory over the hard-luck Port Angeles Lefties in game one of a three-game weekend series at historic Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla, which is now 3-1 on its current six-game homestand, will have an opportunity to clinch its fifth straight series to begin the 2019 season when the two teams hook up Saturday night at 7:05.
Port Angeles slipped to 6-10 after suffering its sixth straight loss.
Sweets starting pitcher Chazz Martinez struck out the side in the first inning and fanned Matthew Christian to begin inning two. But the Lefties scrapped for two runs without the benefit of a hit in the frame and benefited from five walks. Reliever Landon Boeneke replaced Martinez and retired Ronnie Rust on a fly ball to right field to end the inning.
Boeneke retired Ethan Groff on a grounder to third to begin the top of inning three, got Matthew Christian to fly out to center field and, after surrendering a hit to Baxter Halligan, got Damiano Palmegiani to pop out to third for the final out.
The Sweets wrestled the lead away from the visitors in the last of the third. Connor Cirillo started the festivities with a one-out hit and Patrick Caulfield followed with a bunt single. Cesar Lopez loaded the bases with a single of his own. The runners moved up on a passed ball and Jordan Stubbings brought in Caulfield and advanced Lopez to third base with a bouncer to third. Emanuel Dean knocked in Lopez with a single to break the tie.
“It felt good to help the team,” Dean said. “I was doing my part with (a runner) in scoring position.”
Boeneke kept the lead intact with a three-up, three-down fourth inning. He sat Charlie Nasuti down after a fly to right, got Tommy Takayoshi to ground to second, and struck out Trevor Rosenberg swinging.
“I just tried to fill up the strike zone,” Boeneke said. “I know our offense is pretty good. I just wanted to keep it (Port Angeles’ score) to as little as possible and give us a chance to win.”
Brock Ephan began the Walla Walla fourth inning with a single. Ephan moved to second on a passed ball, rumbled to third on a Brandon Wagstaff single, and crossed the plate on an infield knock by Cirillo.
Relief pitcher Ty Hueckman did his part to keep it a two-run game. He K’d Justin Fugitt and Rust to start the fifth inning. Groff then got a hold of a 2-1 pitch from Hueckman and drove it to straight-away center, only to have his bid for extra bases thwarted on a wide-receiver-like diving catch by Caulfield.
Port Angeles scored its final run in the seventh against the Sweets Nick Irwin. Groff hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice that plated Rosenberg – who led off the inning with a single.
Palmegiani started the eighth against Irwin with a walk. He was later erased when pinch-hitter Connor Denning lined into a 4-3 double play. Irwin retired the side on an infield fly.
Reid Sebby took the hill in the top of the ninth and started the inning in fine fashion by striking out Alexander Marco and getting Evan Hurn to ground to short. Nick Berry got on with an infield hit, went to second on an error and stole third before Sebby struck out Groff on a 1-2 breaking ball to end the game.
“This team has something in their hat every night,” Walla Walla coach Larry Price said. “They don’t get flustered no matter what the scoreboard says. They approach things very professionally.
“They have a lot of calmness and courage,” Price said. “They have great mind sets. Courage is poise under pressure.”
The Sweets and Lefties will face each other again on Saturday night in game 2 of the three game series. Game 2 is slated to start at 7:05 PMRead Less
On a night when his father Jeff – a former Major League infielder – threw out the ceremonial first onion, Walla Walla Sweets second baseman Connor Cirillo accepted the toss, took a bite out of the onion, then took a bite out of the visiting Portland Pickles a short time later.
Cirillo had two hits – including a game-tying, three-run home run that keyed a five-run, second-inning rally – that helped the West Coast League’s South Division leaders to a series-clinching 9-6 victory on Thursday night at historic Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla improved to 10-2 on the season while Portland fell to 5-10. Thursday’s win clinched the mid-week series for the Sweets by two victories to one. Walla Walla has now won four straight series to begin the 2019 campaign. The season began with home sweeps of three-time defending WCL champion Corvallis and Bend and, after a two-game sweep of non-league opponent Highline, the Sweets took two of three games in Wenatchee last weekend before achieving a similar result against Portland.
The Pickles scored twice in the first inning. Alex Lambeau drew a one-out walk and scored on a triple by John Jensen. Darius Perry scored Jensen with a ground ball to shortstop.
Portland added to its lead in the second inning. Kyle Velasquez reached base on a two-out error and scored on a Brendan Power single.
With two out and one on in the Sweets second, Caden Cortese drew a walk on four pitches and set the stage for Cirillo. He delivered a mighty swing on the first pitch he eyed from Portland starting pitcher Jonathan Kelly and dropped it over the left-field wall to tie the game at 3-3. Patrick Caulfield followed with a double and scored on a bad-hop hit to right off the bat of Cesar Lopez. Ben Fariss sent Lopez to third with a single prior to the execution of a double steal by the duo that produced the final run of the inning.
“A fastball down the middle was all I was looking for,” Cirillo said. “Coach told me to look for something I could kill and I did. I knew it was gone.”
Reliever Ben Johnson retired the Pickles 1-2-3 in the top of the third inning and the Sweets tallied twice in the home half. Jordan Stubbings led off with a single and scored on a double to right by Caleb Farmer. With two out, Cirillo brought in Farmer with a single to give the Sweets a 7-3 lead.
Alex Shanks belted a solo home run to left in the fourth inning for Portland. The Pickles drew two runs closer in the fifth on a wild pitch and a Perry grounder.
Brock Ephan, pinch-hitting in the bottom of the fifth inning, worked the count to 2-0 against Portland reliever Nicolas Lopez before unloading a 421-foot home run to left that re-established a multiple-run edge for the home team.
“It felt awesome,” Ephan said. “He fell behind 2-0 and I had a feeling he was coming back with a fastball. It felt good to get back in the hit column.”
Caulfield led off the Walla Walla sixth with the second of three hits he had on the night. He advanced to second on a Lopez grounder to the right side, ran to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a Fariss single.
Pitchers Chazz Martinez, Dimick Wood, and Fariss did not allow a run in their five total innings of mound work. Two inherited runners scored against Martinez, but he retired all three hitters he faced in the fifth. Wood hurled innings six, seven, and eight and did not allow a hit. Fariss started the ninth inning by K’ing Chase Luttrell and Kyle Velasquez, but issued a walk to Power and a single to Kyle Manzardo. He regained his poise, though, and retired Lambeau on a fly to right to end the contest.
“I like the way they continue to battle every inning,” Walla Walla manager Frank Mutz said. “They keep coming back. That’s the personality. They want to win. They keep grinding at it.”
The Sweets open a three-game series with Port Angeles Friday night at 7:05. Saturday’s game is also scheduled for a 7:05 start and Sunday night’s finale begins at 6:05.
The visiting Portland Pickles scored six times in the top half of the first inning Wednesday night and hung on for an 8-7 victory over the Walla Walla Sweets in the second game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series at historic Borleske Stadium.
Portland improved its record to 5-9 while the Sweets, who lead the WCL South Division by 1.5 games over second-place Ridgefield, slipped to 9-2.
The rubber game of the set, which will be proceeded by Bud Light Batting Practice and $1 Del Taco tacos for fans in attendance, is set for Thursday night at 6:35.
Portland collected four hits and benefited from three walks during their first-inning uprising. John Arndorfer led off with a single against Walla Walla starting pitcher Andrew Mosiello. Two outs later, John Jensen, John Burghardt, and Jonathan Kelly drew walks to force in the first run of the frame. Colton Cassinelli followed with a bloop single to center that scored three runs and gave the Pickles a 4-0 lead. Alex Shanks deposited the first delivery he saw from Mosiello over the left-field wall to complete the scoring in the inning.
The Sweets got a run back in the bottom of the first. Patrick Caulfield reached base on an error, stole second and, with two out, scored on a Jordan Stubbings’ double off the base of the left-center field wall.
Portland got that run back in the top half of the second inning. Alex Lambeau connected for a one-out single and scored on a Kyle Manzardo double.
The Sweets scored twice in the third inning. Caulfield led off with a walk and moved to second on a botched pick-off attempt. He went to third when Carson Green reached on an error. Ben Fariss scored Caulfield with an infield single to third. On the play, Green moved to third and Fariss to second on a throwing error by Kelly. Fariss crossed the plate later in the stanza to make it a 7-3 game.
Walla Walla produced two more runs in the fifth with two out and no one on base. Fariss and Stubbings singled back-to-back. Caleb Farmer sent Fariss scurrying home and Stubbings to third with a single to right field. Stubbings later scored on a balk to bring the Sweets within two, 7-5.
Harrison experienced the lone blemish on his pitching record in the seventh when he uncorked a wild pitch that resulted in Portland’s final run of the game.
Walla Walla staged a furious comeback in the bottom of the ninth. Caulfield and Green were hit by pitches from Pickles’ reliever Joey Morris. With two out, Farmer brought in Caulfield with a single deep in the hole at shortstop. Emanuel Dean swatted the last of his three singles to bring in Green and send Farmer to third. Conner Thurman replaced Morris and, after allowing Dean to advance to second on defensive indifference, delivered a called third strike to Cesar Lopez to end the game.
Wednesday’s game was the Sweets third consecutive one-run contest. They lost at Wenatchee, 11-10, on Sunday and nipped Portland on Tuesday, 3-2.Read Less
Caulfield's 3-run blast the difference in a tight battle between division rivals
Walla Walla’s Patrick Caulfield smashed a three-run, fifth-inning home run Tuesday night that lifted the West Coast League South Division-leading Sweets to a 3-2 victory over the Portland Pickles in the opening game of a three-game series at Borleske Stadium.
Caulfield’s 376-foot blast was a mighty blow indeed and came on a night when the home team, now 9-1 on the season, was in desperate need of such a swing. Walla Walla managed just one hit through the first four-and-a-third innings and three for the game.
Sweets starting pitcher Travis Craven and his opposite number – left-hander Michael Newstrom – came away unscathed in the first inning. Craven retired the Pickles in order and Newstrom only allowed a two-out walk to Justin Folz, who entered the game as the league’s leading hitter.
John Jensen led off the Portland second by getting aboard on a three-base error. He scored when Darius Perry bounced out 5-3.
The Pickles utilized little ball to plate their final run of the game. Jensen singled to lead off the fourth inning. He stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and crossed home plate on a Gabe Skoro grounder up the middle that Sweets shortstop Parker Price fielded behind the second-base bag to get the out at first.
Newstrom exited after four innings and was replaced by Trent Bixby. Left fielder Ben Fariss and catcher Caden Cortese, both making their 2019 Walla Walla debuts, earned back-to-back walks to begin the home fifth. One out later, Caufield drove a Bixby delivery over the left-field wall for what turned out to be the final tallies of the night.
“At 2-and-2, I was looking for a breaking ball to fight off,” Caulfield said. “He threw a fastball in, I love fastballs in, and I hit it for a home run.”
Craven (two innings) and fellow pitcher Landon Boeneke (two innings) gave up a run apiece while on mound duty. Ty Hueckman, who earned the victory, tossed the next two frames and Brennan Patterson, Nick Irwin, and Reid Sebby hurled one frame each. The group combined for 11 strikeouts.
Hueckman gave up two hits over his two innings and Patterson sent Portland down 1-2-3 in the seventh.
“I went out there with a different mentality,” Patterson said. “I had struggled the last couple of outings. (Manager Frank Mutz) told me to ‘go out there like you own it’ and I pitched well.”
Irwin got off to a rocky start in the eighth. He walked lead-off hitter John Arndorfer on four pitches. Arndorfer moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Alex Lambeau, who crossed the first-base bag safely on the play thanks to a Walla Walla error. Then Irwin experienced a reversal of fortune when Kyle Manzardo, the WCL’s ninth-leading hitter, bunted to the left of home plate. Cortese pounced on the ball and threw a seed to Folz at third to force out Arndorfer. Jensen flew out to left field for out No. 2, and Irwin – with guts and a side of grit – fanned Perry to retire the side.
Sebby started the ninth by striking out Skoro. But back-to-back singles by pinch-hitter Chase Luttrell and Colton Cassinelli, coupled with pinch-hitter Jon Burghardt being hit by a pitch, loaded the bases. Following adversity, Sebby displayed similar traits to those of Irwin an inning earlier when he got Arndorfer to hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice and Alex Lambeau to ground out to second to end the game.
“Pitching is all about limiting mistakes,” Sebby said. “When things go bad you can’t roll over, but instead make pitches.”
“The big difference between tonight’s pitching and the last night in Wenatchee (an 11-10 Sweets loss) was our pitchers attacked the strike zone,” Mutz said. “We had a pitcher’s meeting (Tuesday) and talked about demeanor on the mound. Sebby willed himself out of it.”
The middle game of the three-game series is Wednesday night at 6:35.
After suffering their first loss of the 2019 West Coast League season on Sunday night, the Walla Walla Sweets will look to reclaim their winning form when they open a three-game series and six-game homestand on Tuesday night against the Portland Pickles at historic Borleske Stadium.
The half-dozen game stay will also include a three-game set with the Port Angeles Lefties over the weekend.
Walla Walla held leads of 7-0 and 10-5 on Sunday night and were positioned to sweep a weekend series in Wenatchee. But the AppleSox came from behind for an 11-10 victory. Quinn Ayers belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to put the home team over the top. The Sweets came up short in their quest for the franchise’s first 9-0 start despite a combined five hits and two runs batted in apiece from Colorado Mesa teammates Caleb Farmer and Jordan Stubbings, a pair of run-scoring doubles struck by Tristan King, two hits off the bat of WCL hitting leader Justin Folz, and a two-run knock produced by David Le Bioda.
The Sweets erased an early two-run deficit on Saturday and edged their way past Wenatchee, 7-6. Folz had a pair of two-run hits – a double in the third inning and a single in the seventh. The latter hit put the local nine up for keeps. With runners at first and second in the ninth Dimick Wood, the last of six pitchers used by skipper Frank Mutz, struck out Kodie Kolden looking for the final out.
The series most dramatic moment occurred Friday night when Walla Walla’s Carson Green slugged a two-out, two-run home run in the ninth inning to break a 1-1 tie. Reliever Reid Sebby started the last of the ninth with a strikeout and, after the next two hitters reached base, posted back-to-back K’s to wrap up the contest.
Folz inched by teammate Patrick Caulfield for the league lead in batting average, .484-.474. Folz is first in slugging percentage (.774), tied for first in doubles (six) and on-base percentage (.600), and second in RBI’s (10). Caulfield leads the WCL in stolen bases (11) and is tied for first in hits (18).
Portland comes to town coming off being swept at home by the Bend Elks. The Pickles managed just two hits Sunday in a 3-0 setback. One hit came from Kyle Manzardo – the league’s ninth-leading hitter (.385 avg.) coming into the week. Pitcher Titus Groeneweg, named the WCL Pitcher of the Week on Monday, gave up just two hits in four innings on Sunday and struck out five. He worked seven innings for the week and K’d 10.
The teams split six games in 2018. Each side took two out of three in their respective ballparks. Walla Walla bookended 5-4 and 5-3 victories around a 4-1 Portland triumph in June 22-24 meetings at Borleske Stadium. The Pickles posted resounding 10-7 and 12-0 wins around a 2-1 Sweets conquest when the teams got together in Portland July 10-12.
Port Angeles dropped two out of three games at Ridgefield over the weekend including an 8-7 verdict on Sunday. Ronnie Rust paced the Lefties offense with three hits while Trevor Rosenberg and Connor Denning, the WCL’s sixth-leading hitter (.414), stroked two apiece.
A trio of Lefties, like Denning, are also hitting above .300 – C.J. Schauwecker (.333), Rust (.324), and Justin Fugitt (.303). Rosenberg (.283) and Damiano Palmegiani (.279) are off to representative starts this season as well.
Port Angeles leads the all-time series 7-2 which includes a 5-1 showing in 2017. The Sweets took the opener of a three-game, July 27-29 series on the Lefties’ home turf, 11-6, before Port Angeles notched 3-2 and 7-4 wins.
Game times for the Portland series are 6:35 each night. Probable Sweets starters against the Pickles are Travis Craven (0-0, 0.00 ERA) on Tuesday, Andrew Mosiello (0-0, 0.00 ERA) on Wednesday, and Brayde Hirai (0-0, 1.68 ERA) on Thursday.
Games versus Port Angeles are 7:05 both Friday and Saturday, and 6:05 Sunday.
A quartet of promotions will be featured during the upcoming homestand. Fans purchasing merchandise at Borleske Stadium on Wednesday will receive a 40 percent discount; Bud Light Batting Practice, including $1 Del Taco tacos, is scheduled Thursday; Bread Night, presented by Sara Lee Bread, is set for Saturday – with free bread going to the last 750 fans to exit the park; and Kids Day – presented by Sweets Basil – takes place on Sunday. Kids 12 years of age and under will be admitted into the stadium free of charge.
The Walla Walla Sweets squandered leads of 7-0 and 10-5 Sunday night and experienced defeat for the first time in this 2019 West Coast League season.
Wenatchee rallied for four runs in the fourth inning, one in the fifth, four more in the sixth, and two in the seventh as it snapped a two-game slide by salvaging the final game of the three-game series with the WCL South Division leaders, 11-10.
Walla Walla is now 8-1. The AppleSox improved to 4-8.
Patrick Caulfield led off the Sweets first inning on Sunday with a double to right field on the first delivery from Wenatchee starting pitcher Keegan Romig which sparked a four-run rally. He eventually scored on a wild pitch. The next three hitters – Carson Green, Justin Folz, and Cesar Lopez – walked. Jordan Stubbings dropped a single into right to score Green. Caleb Farmer followed with a double down the right-field line to bring in Folz and Lopez.
Walla Walla put up three more runs in the third. Stubbings reached on a one-out throwing error by AppleSox third baseman Kody Darcy. Farmer singled his Colorado Mesa teammate to second. Tristan King scored Stubbings with a double to right-center and David Le Bioda singled in both Farmer and King.
Kodie Kolden capped Wenatchee’s four-run fourth with a two-run single.
Each team scored a run in the fifth. King hammered another RBI double into the right-center alley, and Ryan Altenberger delivered the AppleSox response with a two-out RBI triple.
Stubbings closed out the Sweets scoring for the night with a two-run single in the sixth. Green and Folz rapped one-out singles, and Lopez moved the runners up with a fielder’s choice prior to Stubbings’ knock.
Wenatchee’s four-run sixth was keyed by three productive swings – a Cole McKenzie sacrifice fly, an infield out from Hunter Montgomery, and an RBI single from Dylan McPhillips.
Darcy led off the AppleSox seventh with a walk and Quinn Ayers blasted a home run over the right-field wall to put the home team in front for keeps.
While Wenatchee’s offense prospered after the third inning, the Sweets were retired in order over the final three frames. Cameron Sommer pitched the seventh while teammate Landon Schirer worked the eighth and ninth for the save.
The Sweets open a six-game homestand Tuesday with the first of three games against the Portland Pickles at historic Borleske Stadium. The first pitch each night is set for 6:35. Walla Walla ends the stand next weekend when it faces Port Angeles . Friday’s and Saturday’s games start at 7:05 and Sunday’s contest will start at 6:05.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets improved their West Coast League South Division-leading and franchise-starting-best record to that historic level Saturday night after holding off the Wenatchee AppleSox, 7-6, in the second game of a three-game weekend series at Paul Thomas Sr. Field.
Walla Walla, which swept division rivals Corvallis and Bend during its season-opening homestand earlier this month, will gun for its third sweep of a WCL opponent when they meet the AppleSox in the series finale Sunday night at 5:35.
The Sweets got off to a slow start on Saturday against the gusty Wenatchee nine. Tyler Detloff, John Graham, and Cole McKenzie started the home first with walks against Walla Walla starting pitcher Bryson Spagnuolo. Nate Dahle came on relief and struck out Hunter Montgomery to commence his outing, but allowed an RBI single to Dylan McPhillips and a sacrifice fly to left field to Brett Gillis before ending the inning by fanning Kody Darcy.
Walla Walla equalized in the top of the third. Brock Ephan led off with a walk and lumbered to second on an infield out off the bat of Carson Green. One out later, Parker Price worked Wenatchee starter Trent Sellers for a base on balls, and Justin Folz ripped a 2-2 pitch to right for a two-run double that evened things up at 2-2. Cesar Lopez served a single into right moments later that scored Folz and put the Sweets up 3-2.
Dahle struck out the side in the third inning, but gave up an unearned run that knotted things up at 3-3.
The Sweets tallied twice in the fourth. Tristan King was issued a one-out free pass, but was forced out at second base when Ephan hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice. Carson Green chased Sellers with a single to keep the inning alive. Patrick Caulfield greeted reliever Ryan Long with a two-run, left-field line laser that gave the Sweets a 5-3 lead.
Wenatchee – aided by a pair of Walla Walla errors – tied the game in the fifth against Sweets pitcher Charles Harrison, and used a wild pitch to plate the tiebreaking run in the sixth.
The Sweets took the lead for good in the seventh. Caulfield and Price earned back-to-back walks with one out and eventually moved up one base apiece, setting the stage for a Folz bouncer through the middle of a drawn-in infield on a 3-2 pitch.
Mason Kokodynski faced the minimum number of hitters and struck out two in the home seventh, then worked out of a first-and-second, one-out mess with K’s of McKenzie and pinch-hitter Blake Klassen.
Wyatt Boone began the bottom of the ninth in promising fashion by getting the first two outs – a comebacker struck by McPhillips and a strikeout of Gillis. But he walked the next two hitters and was lifted for Dimick Wood. Kodie Kolden had a one-ball, two-strike count on him before Wood delivered a called third to end the game. Wood’s K was the 12th of the night for Sweets hurlers.
Saturday’s win improved the Sweets all-time, regular-season record to 36-30 against Wenatchee.
Walla Walla will return home after Sunday’s game and open a six-game homestand Tuesday against Portland and Port Angeles.
Leftfielder Carson Green belted a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning Friday night to lift the undefeated Walla Walla Sweets to a 3-1 victory over the Wenatchee AppleSox in the opening game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series at breezy Paul Thomas Sr. Field.
Walla Walla improved to a franchise and WCL South Division-best 7-0 with Friday’s triumph while the gallant and hard-luck AppleSox slipped to 3-7.
Designated hitter David Le Bioda reached base after being hit by a pitch with one out in the ninth. Connor Coballes replaced Le Bioda as a pinch runner, but was forced out at second base when Ben Johnson hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice. Mason Kokodynski entered for Johnson and, two pitches later, Green lifted a 1-0 pitch from Wenatchee reliever Logan Chase into the jet stream and over the right-field wall.
The AppleSox threatened in the bottom half of the final frame versus Reid Sebby. After a Brett Gillis strikeout, Kody Darcy walked and Dylan Ohlsen singled. But Sebby, the last of five pitchers utilized by manager Frank Mutz, assumed the role of bulldog and fanned both Quinn Ayers and pinch-hitter Blake Klassen looking to end the game. In all, Sweets pitchers Travis Craven (two innings), Landon Boeneke (two), Andrew Mosiello (three), Nick Irwin (one), and Sebby combined for 10 punchouts against a Wenatchee team that put up 22 runs in its previous two games – 14-7 and 8-3 victories over Port Angeles.
The Sweets, who managed just five hits on the night, tallied in the top of the first. Patrick Caufield led off with a four-pitch walk against Wenatchee starting pitcher Gavin Gorrell, stole second, took third on a Cesar Lopez infield hit, and scored on a wild pitch.
Wenatchee equalized in the home half of inning four. Cole McKenzie led off by reaching base on an error, ran to second on a one-out single by Gillis, went to third on an infield hit by Darcy, and scored on a two-out single by Ayers. On the play, however, the AppleSox were denied the go-ahead run when Green cut down Gillis at the plate.
Gorrell (five innings) and fellow AppleSox hurler Sam Wyatt allowed just four hits over the first eight innings before the dramatic final stanza.
Both teams struggled throughout the game with runners in scoring position, going a combined 3-for-17.
Walla Walla, which took season series from Wenatchee four victories to two in both 2017 and 2018, improved the franchise record to 35-30 against the AppleSox.
Game two of the three-game series is Saturday night at 6:35. The final act of the weekend diamond theater is Sunday at 5:35.Read Less
Following an unblemished homestand, which included three-game sweeps of West Coast League South Division rivals Corvallis and Bend, the Walla Walla Sweets hit the road this weekend for a three-game series with the Wenatchee Apple Sox at Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium. Games Friday and Saturday are scheduled for 7:05 and Sunday’s finale begins at 5:05.
Walla Walla, off to the franchise’s best start in team history (6-0), ended its season-opening eight game stand Wednesday night by completing a two-game, non-WCL sweep of the Pacific International League’s Highline Bears at historic Borleske Stadium, 9-2. That came on the heels of an 8-4 triumph Tuesday night. The Sweets are now 36-4 against non-league opposition.
A half-dozen Sweets pitchers – Nathan Dahle, Ty Hueckman, Charles Harrison, Wyatt Boone, Landon Boeneke, and Nick Irwin – allowed just one earned run, combined on a five-hitter, and teamed up to strike out 11 Highline hitters on Wednesday. Dahle, Hueckman, and Harrison pitched two innings apiece while Boone, Boeneke, and Irwin threw one frame each. All six hurlers claimed at least one K in the game.
Walla Walla rolled a trio of sevens offensively. It collected seven hits – led by the two apiece of Cesar Lopez and Justin Folz – and worked Bears’ pitchers for seven walks. The Sweets also benefited from seven of their hitters being hit by a pitch. Both Brandon Wagstaff and Tristan King were hit twice.
David Le Bioda provided Walla Walla with its most productive swing of the contest – a two-run single that highlighted a five-run sixth inning that turned a competitive 3-1 game into an 8-1 rout.
Centerfielder Patrick Caulfield, who was named the West Coast League’s first Player of the Week of the 2019 season on Monday, and third baseman Justin Folz enter the weekend 1-2 in the WCL in hitting. Caulfield has a .560 batting average and leads the league in runs scored (10), hits (14) and stolen bases (7). Folz is best in both the on-base (.654) and slugging (.950) percentage departments.
The Sweets outscored Corvallis (19-8) and Bend (28-17) by a 47-25 margin on their way to stringing together six wins to commence the 2019 campaign. Walla Walla has done much of its damage in the eighth inning. It scored five times in the frame on opening night against the Knights and tallied three and four runs, respectively, in the eighth panel during the final two games of their set with the Elks. The Sweets have scored at least one run in the eighth inning in five of their first six WCL games. The lone exception was the June 6 contest against Corvallis.
Wenatchee, which lost six of its first seven games, comes into this upcoming three-game series with momentum after back-to-back home victories over Port Angeles. Pitcher Seth Kuykendall earned the victory for the Apple Sox on Thursday night with three-and-a-third innings of no-run, three-hit middle relief in Wenatchee’s 8-3 conquest of the Lefties. He posted four strikeouts along the way. Trent Sellers and Cole McKenzie, who socked his first home run of the season leading off the seventh inning, paced the Apple Sox 13-hit attack with three apiece while lead-off hitter Ty Detloff added a pair.
Walla Walla leads the all-time series with Wenatchee 34 victories to 30. The Sweets have won four or more regular-season games against the Apple Sox in five of the last seven seasons. The high-water mark came in 2014 when Walla Walla went 6-3 versus its north central Washington foe. The Sweets defeated the Apple Sox five times in both the 2012 and 2015 seasons, and went 4-2 against them the last two summers.
Opportunism was on full display Wednesday night when the Walla Walla Sweets closed out a season-opening, eight-game homestand with the finale of a two-game series with the Highline Bears of the Pacific International League at Borleske Stadium.
The West Coast League’s Sweets managed just seven hits, but also drew seven walks and had an equal number of batters hit by a pitch in a 9-2 victory over the Bears.
After an uneventful first inning in which both teams had batters reach base, Walla Walla broke through for a run in the home half of the second inning. With one out, catcher Tristan King was plunked by a delivery from Highline starting pitcher Matt Franceschina, moved to second base on a passed ball and, after a two-out walk was issued to Carson Green, scored on a looped single to right field by Mason Kokodynski.
The Bears threatened to equalized in the third. Tori Doten singled with one out and advanced to second on a passed ball. Cole Chambers delivered a two-out single to right, but Doten was cit down at home plate on a one-hop throw uncorked by Cesar Lopez.
Brandon Wagstaff kept the Sweets third alive when he was hit by a pitch with two out. He stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch before King sent him across the plate with a grounded single to left.
Lopez, who went 2-for-6 on the night, grounded a two-out RBI single to right-center in the fourth inning to grow Walla Walla’s lead to 3-0.
Highline broke through in the sixth. Zach Spradlin led off with a walk, raced to second on a wild pitch, hit the next station on a one-out grounder to first by Kealen Martin, and tallied on a single Cole Trotignon.
The Sweets used three hit batsmen and two walks to plate five runs in the home half of the sixth. Runs three and four of the inning came about on a single to center off the bat of David Le Bioda. Wagstaff (HBP), King (BB), and Patrick Caulfield (BB) earned an RBI apiece in the inning.
Walla Walla’s final run crossed in the eight inning. Green walked, negotiated to second on a wild pitch, maneuvered to third on a Caulfield infield grounder, and scored on a Highline error.
Six Sweets pitchers combined on a five-hitter and 11 strikeouts. Nathan Dahle, Ty Hueckman, and Charles Harrison threw two innings each while Wyatt Boone, Landon Boeneke, and Nick Irwin logged one frame apiece.
“We had some timely hitting and took advantage of their walks,” Sweets coach Larry Price said. “They were erratic and we capitalized on it. We got a little flat with the walks and hit batters, but stayed focused on what we had to do.”
Walla Walla ventures on the road this weekend for a three-game West Coast League series with the Wenatchee AppleSox. Games Friday and Saturday are scheduled for 6:35 and Sunday’s contest is set for 5:05.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets built an 8-1 Tuesday night and held on for an 8-4 victory over the Highline Bears in non-West Coast League baseball action at Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla, which began its season-opening homestand with three-game sweeps of two WCL South Division rivals – three-time defending champion Corvallis and Bend – posted the franchise’s 35th non-league win on Tuesday. The Sweets are now 35-4 in games outside the WCL and are 27-2 since 2012.
The Bears played little ball to plate a run in the first inning against Walla Walla starter Bryson Spagnuolo. Zach Spradlin led off with a single, moved to second on a grounder to first by Cole Chambers, advanced to third on a Kealen Martin infield out from shortstop to first, and scored on a single off the bat of Matt Franceschina.
Spagnuolo struck out the side in the second inning. He fanned both Micah McNicoll and Trey Hunt swinging, and sandwiched a called third strike to James Kobylt between the first and third K’s of the frame.
The Sweets added to their lead in the second. Carson Green doubled to lead off and scampered home on a Ben Johnson single.
Walla Walla tallied another run in the third. Brandon Wagstaff stroked a lead-off single, raced to third on a throwing error by Highline starter Cole Trotignon and, after Brock Ephan was hit by a pitch, scored when Green hit into an around-the-horn double play.
Lopez started a two-run Sweets fourth with a one-out double. He scored on a Folz single. Folz stole second, but was picked off of second for out No. 2. Le Boida was hit by a pitch and Parker Price doubled him home to give the Sweets a 7-1 lead.
The Sweets final run came in the seventh. Price was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on a Wagstaff single.
Martin smacked a three-run double in the eighth inning off reliever Dimick Wood to edge the Bears closer, but Wood recovered from his misfortune and retired the final two batters of the inning.
Highline got two batters on in the ninth inning, but Wood struck out Spradlin to end the game.
“I love how Andrew threw and Koko had a good inning,” Walla Walla coach Larry Price said. “We put pressure on the other team to pitch to us. If we keep hitting, we’ll be tough to beat down the road.”
The final game of the series is Wednesday night at 6:35. Fans who purchase merchandise during their time at the ball park will receive 40 percent off at the Sweets Shoppe.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets, coming off a pair of three-game sweeps against West Coast League opponents and off to the best start in franchise history, will step out of WCL play Tuesday and Wednesday when they close out a season-opening, eight-game home stand at historic Borleske Stadium against the Highline Bears
Walla Walla opened its 2019 season with a sweep of the three-time defending league champion Corvallis Knights and followed it up with similar success against the Bend Elks this past weekend.
Six different Sweets had multiple-hit games Sunday in a 16-11 slugfest. Cesar Lopez, Justin Folz, and Parker Price connected for three hits apiece while teammates Patrick Caulfield, who was named WCL Player of the Week on Monday, Brandon Wagstaff, and Carson Green produced two each.
Walla Walla had one home run heading into Sunday’s contest, but had two in the series finale with Bend. Lopez drove a 1-1 pitch from Elks’ starter Kyle Wade over the right-field fence leading off the second inning and Folz jacked a three-run bomb to cap a four-run, eighth-inning rally.
Price and Brock Ephan, who had just two hits apiece through the first five games, swung their way out of early-season funks to grab a piece of the offensive spotlight on Sunday. The Sweets shortstop hit a two-run double and scored in a five-run first inning, singled and scored in the fifth, and doubled in the sixth. Ephan led off the bottom of the eighth with a pinch-hit double and scored on a Lopez single.
The Sweets on Sunday trailed 2-0, then led 5-2, 6-2, 6-4, 6-5, 10-5, 10-7, 12-7, and 12-11 before their eighth-inning surge forged the final margin.
On a night when Walla Walla struggled in the field – to the tune of four errors – it was a defensive gem that kept the Sweets in front after seven-and-a-half innings. With Deron Johnson – the potential tying run – at second base, Bend’s Chase Fernlund singled to left field. Mason Kokodynski charged to field the base knock and unleashed a one-hop strike to catcher Tristan King to nail Johnson at the plate and end the inning.
The Sweets used some eighth-inning magic to subdue the Elks, 9-6, on Saturday night. Walla Walla scored three times in the frame after squandering an early 6-0 lead. David Le Bioda provided the big blow of the inning – a two-out, two-run double.
The opening game of the series on Friday was all about pitching. Four Sweets – Bryson Spagnuolo, Nick Irwin, Charles Harrison, and Reid Sebby – combined on a four-hit shutout and 13 strikeouts in a 3-0 Walla Walla win.
Walla Walla heads into play this week with the No. 1 and 2 hitters in the West Coast League. Caufield and Folz are hitting .560 and .550, respectively. The Sweets standouts are tops in other statistical categories as well. Caulfield leads the WCL in runs scored (10), hits (14), and stolen bases (seven). Folz is the league’s top dog in both on-base (.654) and slugging (.950) percentage.
The Sweets and Highline met twice during the 2017 season with each team claiming a victory. Walla Walla is 34-4 all-time against non-league foes.
The first pitch both nights is scheduled for 6:35. Fans purchasing merchandise at Wednesday’s game will receive a special 40 percent discount.Read Less
Blistering .560 batting average, 1.287 OPS paces Sweets to first-ever 6-0 start in WCL Play
Caulfield has led off the season for the Sweets, and has paced the offense to a league-leading 7.83 runs scored per game. He is hitting .560 on the season, with an OPS of 1.287. In addition to his prowess at the plate, he leads the league with 7 stolen bases.
Caulfield, who signed with the Sweets late in 2018, is currently enrolled at Santa Barbara City College.
“We’re are excited for Patrick,” said manager Frank Mutz. “He is a big reason our offense has been so strong to start the season.”
The Sweets are off to the best start in franchise history, sitting at 6-0 as they enter a 2-game non-league match-up against the Highline Bears on Tuesday, 6/11 and Wednesday 6/12.Read Less
Chris Lincoln (2017) led the draft class with selection in the 5th round by the Padres
It was a busy, interesting and successful past week in #SweetsCountry. After an Opening Day victory vs. Corvallis, the Sweets went on to sweep both the Knights and the Bend Elks – division rivals none the less. Battling lightening, unseasonable cold weather, and school still being in session (hard on the attendance), the team rallied and put together their best opening homestand in team history.
In the background, another important activity was taking place – the Major League Baseball draft. Amateur players from around the continent have the opportunity to have their dreams come true by being selected to sign a contract with a Major League Baseball team. Many Sweets players over the years have been selected, and this year’s crop was a sizable yield – 12 past Sweets – all of them key contributors over the past 4 seasons – were selected over the course of the 3 days of the draft process. In addition to players specific to the Sweets, the first overall pick – Adley Rutshman of Oregon State – and the third overall pick – Andrew Vaughn of Cal – were both players that Sweets fans saw live and in person while they played in the WCL.
“It continues to be one of the strengths of the WCL circuit,” said team president Zachary Fraser. “Every night, Sweets fans are seeing the future of the professional game in the cozy confines of Borleske Stadium.”
The first former Sweet off the board was RHP Chris Lincoln (2017, UCSB). The lanky fireballer sat consistently in the mid-90s when he pitched for the Sweets. He had multiple games with 10 strikeouts or more, and was named the WCL’s Top Prospect by Baseball America following the 2017 season. Lincoln was selected in the 5th round by the San Diego Padres (143rd overall).
RHP Grant Ford (2016, Nevada) was also selected in the 5th round (154th overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ford would be joined by the following players from the 2016 team to be selected in the draft:
“We were young that season, but my goodness, (GM at the time) Katie and Frank put together one heck of a roster that season,” said Fraser. “We also had Willie MacIver and Jarren Duran on that club – nine players at Borleske Stadium that are now Major League prospects.”
Additional draft picks include Darius Vines (2017-18, UC-Bakersfield, 7th round – Atlanta Braves). Vines was an All-League performer for the Sweets, an All-Star and the pitcher who received the nod for Opening Day 2018. Kyle Molnar (2015 – UCLA, 26th round, Los Angeles Angels), who is still the only Sweets pitcher to throw a no-hitter, Ripken Reyes (2017, Cal – transferred to USD, 30th Round, San Diego Padres) and Danny Sinatro (2017-18, WSU, 32nd round, Los Angeles Dodgers), and Ben Baird (mentioned above) rounded out the Sweets 12.
The good news for the 6-0 Sweets is that no one from this year’s club was selected in a manner that would disrupt the roster composition. It will be of great interest to follow the 2017 and 2018 rosters as their class comes online next year for the 2020 draft, as the Sweets continue to deliver on the promise given to the community a decade ago to provide Walla Walla baseball fans the opportunity to see the next stars of the game right here in our own community.
THE FULL 2019 LIST:
No Walla Walla Sweets team had ever started a season 4-0, 5-0, or 6-0 during the first nine years of the franchise.
The latter part of that changed Sunday night at Borleske Stadium when the 2019 edition of the Sweets completed their second consecutive three-game sweep of a West Coast League opponent.
Walla Walla opened its season last week by brooming the three-time defending WCL champion Corvallis Knights.
The Sweets followed that achievement with three straight wins over the Bend Elks – the last of which was a wild 16-11 triumph on Sunday night.
The final game of the weekend series did not start in promising fashion for the home nine. Bend used a Walla Walla error to plate two unearned runs in the first inning. RBI singles by Nelson Padilla and Justin Parsons produced the early two-run cushion.
Walla Walla roared back with five runs in its half of the first. Patrick Caulfield led off with a walk, stole his league-leading seventh base, and scored on a one-out double by Justin Folz. David Le Bioda was hit by a pitch and Parker Price – who ended the night with three hits after managing just two in the previous five games – brought both runners in with a double that grazed the top of the glove of Elks’ left fielder Jake Jarvis. Brandon Wagstaff sent Price home with a double down the left-field line and scored on a Tristan King single. The score following the first inning was 5-2.
“It felt awesome,” Price said. “It’s a big weight off my shoulders. I was able to find some holes. We got a win and that’s a double bonus.”
Cesar Lopez increased the Sweets lead to 6-2 with a lead-off home run to right field on a 1-1 offering from Bend starter Kyle Wade.
“I was looking for a fastball and got a slider,” Lopez said. “I got a good swing on it. It felt good. It was a good day at the plate.”
Bend got itself back into contention in an effort to salvage the final game of the series on a two-out, two-run double to left off the bat of Chase Fernlund and added another run in the fourth on a Zach Needham two-bagger. After the rally, the score sat at 6-5.
The Sweets scored four times in the fifth inning. Folz led off with a single and moved to second one out later on a Price hit. Following a double steal, two of five Walla Walla had in the game, Wagstaff delivered a two-RBI double to left that brought the score to 8-5. Wagstaff scored on a single to center by Carson Green – who stole second and third, then raced across home plate on a King grounder to short. Following the action in the fifth, the score would sit at 10-5.
Nico Burgarello led off the Elks’ sixth with a walk. One out later, Bradley Morgan was hit by a pitch. Both scored on a two-out double by Jorge Perez. The score after the top of the sixth was now 10-7.
Walla Walla scored twice in its half of inning six. Lopez singled, Folz walked and, after a Le Bioda grounder to first advanced the runners, Price popped a double to right to give the Sweets a 12-7 advantage. He was thrown out attempting to stretch the hit to a triple.
The stage was set for wild eighth inning. Burgarello led off the top half by reaching on an error and moving to second on a Padilla walk. A Needham fielder’s choice loaded the bases one out later and Perez singled to make it 12-8. Padilla scored on a Parsons’ grounder. Deron Johnson doubled in two to bring the Elks within one, 12-11. Fernlund followed with a single, but Johnson was thrown out trying to score the tying run on a one-hop throw from left fielder Mason Kokodynski.
“I didn’t get a lot of juice on it,” Kokodynski said. “I just wanted to be quick and accurate. Folz (at third base) said he was letting it go no matter what.”
Pinch-hitter Brock Ephan led off the home half of the eighth with a booming double to the deepest part of the ballpark (center field) and moved to third on a Caulfield knock. Lopez scored Ephan with a single, and Folz provided some pre-Fourth of July fireworks with a home run to right to bring the score to 16-11 and a home run that would finally conclude the scoring for the night.
Reliever Reid Sebby retired the Elks in order in the ninth. Two of the outs recorded were done so by strikeout.
The Sweets now sit 2 games in front of the upstart Ridgefield Raptors in the early South Division. The expansion team swept the Kelowna Falcons to move to 4-2 on the season.
The Sweets host the Highline Bears for a two-game, non-league set beginning Tuesday. Game times both Tuesday and Wednesday is 6:35 PM.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets are 5-0 for the first time in franchise history!
Walla Walla built a 6-0 lead after four innings of play, only to have the visiting Bend Elks rally for four runs in the fifth inning, and one in both the sixth and seventh frames to tie the middle game of a three-game West Coast League series on Saturday night at Borleske Stadium.
But the home team rallied for three tallies in the bottom of the eighth inning to secure a 9-6 victory.
“That’s the personality of our team,” Walla Walla manager Frank Mutz said. “I love the fact that they care. They do everything with pride, which is rare for a summer ball team.”
Sweets starting pitcher Travis Craven retired the Elks in order during the first three innings of the game and struck out six – two in each frame.
Walla Walla broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the third inning against Bend starter Gil Luna. Patrick Caulfield, the WCL’s second-leading hitter (.571 avg.), singled with two out, stole his WCL-leading sixth base, and scored on a single to center by Cesar Lopez. Justin Folz drew a walk, and David Le Bioda singled to right to score Lopez.
The Sweets added four more runs to their total in the fourth. Carson Green drew a one-out walk and moved to third on an errant pick-off threw by Elks’ starter Gil Luna. Tristan King walked and Brandon Wagstaff was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Caulfield walked to force in the first run of the frame. King scored on a wild pitch, Lopez brought home Wagstaff with a grounder to second and, one out later, Folz drove Caulfield home with a ground-rule double.
Bend mirrored the Sweets four-spot in the top of the fifth. Jorge Perez led off with a double and crossed the plate on a bad-hop single to right by Justin Parsons. Dante DeNiro reached base after being struck by a Brennan Patterson pitch, but was erased when Chase Fernlund hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice that sent Parsons to third. Jake Jarvis doubled in Parsons and Nico Burgarello ended Patterson’s mound stint with a two-run hit that made it a 6-4 game.
Nick Irwin entered for Patterson and began a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play by fanning Padilla. King completed the twin killing by throwing out Burgarello – who was attempting to steal second base.
The Elks inched a run closer on a Parsons’ sacrifice fly in the sixth inning and tied the game in the seventh on a Sweets error.
King started the Sweets eighth with a single to left. Mason Kokodynski then entered as a pinch-runner and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third on a left-field single by Brandon Wagstaff, and scored when Parsons mishandled the base knock.
“I was hunting a fastball,” King said. “He (Bend reliever Joe Williams) threw a first-pitch slider that I took. I was ready to hit a fastball. I got a good swing and made solid contact. That’s all I wanted to try to do.”
“I was looking for something middle in and to try to drive something in the gap,” Wagstaff said. “I hit it hard. It wasn’t in the gap, but it scored a run and that’s all you can ask.”
“I (wanted to) get a barrel on the ball with two strikes,” Le Bioda said. “I just wanted to put the ball in play.”
Jarvis started the Bend ninth with a walk against Sweets reliever Wyatt Boone. Burgarello was next and lofted a ball to the right-center gap that Caulfield caught on a dive. Padilla grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice and, following a walk to Bradley Morgan, Boone got Bobby Peirce to bounce out to short to end the game.
The final game of the series, the first Kids Night of the season, is Sunday night at 6:05. All kids 12 years of age and under will be admitted into the game free. Tickets can be bought Here.
The Walla Walla Sweets improved their unblemished West Coast League-best record to 4-0 Friday night with a 3-0 victory over the Bend Elks at Borleske Stadium.
Spagnuolo walked Nico Burgarello to lead off the game. Efry Cervantes followed with a 5-4 fielder’s choice and Bobby Peirce doubled him to third. But umpires ruled that Cervantes did not make contact with the second-base bag on his way to third and was called out as a result. Spagnuolo ended the inning by striking out Zach Needham on a called third.
Patrick Caulfield led off the home first by falling behind Bend starting pitcher Tyler Worrell 0-and-2. Two pitches later, Caulfield deposited a 1-2 Worrell delivery over the left-field wall to give the Sweets a 1-0 lead.
“He (Worrell) left a curveball up and I decided to put a ball in the air,” said Caufield, who has 10 hits – nine of which are singles – in 17 at-bats this season. “It felt good to put something in the air. It felt really nice.”
Spagnuolo started the second inning by fanning Tanner Cantwell, but allowed a walk to Deron Johnson – who moved to second on a passed ball. But Spagnuolo retired Jake Jarvis and Chase Fernlund on grounders to second to get out of the frame.
Burgarello collected a one-out single in inning three and advanced as far as third, but Spagnuolo struck out Cervantes and got Peirce to fly out to right to wiggle off the hook. “We had a willingness not to give in,” Spagnuollo said. “I was not worrying about three outs, just making our defense work.”
An easier time was had by Irwin in the fifth inning. He sat Justin Parsons down on a fly to right, Burgarello flew to left, and Cervantes struck out looking.
“I just tried to do my job,” Irwin said. “It turned out really well.”
Harrison punched out Peirce and Needham to start the sixth, but he hit Cantwell with a pitch and Johnson walked prior to Jarvis grounding out to first.
Harrison started a 1-2-3 eighth with back-to-back outs. Pinch-hitter Jorge Perez skied to center and Peirce went down swinging. Harrison hung a three-unassisted out on Cantwell after a walk to Needham.
“I controlled every pitch (fastball, curve, and change-up),” Harrison said. “I kept the hitters off balance. You have to make the best pitch you can every pitch.”
Click here to watch the post game interview with Harrison.
Walla Walla added additional insurance in the home eighth. Justin Folz led off with a double, swiped third, and scored on a Johnson throwing error.
Sebby pitched a scoreless ninth for the save. Johnson flied to left and Jarvis struck out. Nelson Padilla kept Bend alive with a double down the right-field line, but Sebby rallied from a 3-0 count to set Parsons down on strikes to end the game.
“The best thing I can do 3-and-0 is to try to take it pitch by pitch and take a breather,” Sebby said. “You can’t be all hyped up. I thought about coming back and beating him.”
“It was a team effort overall,” Irwin said. “Everybody had to plan. When something didn’t go right, we didn’t fall apart.”
The middle game of the three-game series – the annual Dog Days of Summer, presented by the Associated Veterinary Medical Center – is tonight at 7:05.Read Less
Fresh off a season-opening, three-game sweep of the three-time defending West Coast League champion Corvallis Knights, the Walla Walla Sweets will seek additional good fortune this weekend when they host the Bend Elks for a three-game series at Borleske Stadium.
This weekend’s games will be Nos. four, five, and six of an eight-game homestand. The home cooking concludes next week when Walla Walla hosts the Highline Bears for a two-game, non-WCL set on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Sweets completed their sweep of the Knights Thursday with a 5-3 triumph. Walla Walla tallied 19 runs in the series while limiting Corvallis to just eight.
Pepperdine prospect David Le Bioda was one of the Sweets more significant contributors on Thursday. He socked both a single and a double, and scored three runs in his 2019 debut.
Justin Folz also collected two hits in the game – a lead-off single in the second inning and a two-out knock in the fifth. He finished 4-for-8 in the series and boasted power numbers of .667 (on-base percentage) and .625 (slugging).
But the Sweets offensive star of the series had to be centerfielder Patrick Caulfield. The Santa Barbara City College standout connected for eight hits – all singles – in 12 official plate appearances and stole four bases. His on-base and slugging percentages were simply off the charts after the opening series – .692 and .667, respectively.
Walla Walla also received clutch relief pitching against Corvallis. Three bullpen throwers earned victories and all tossed four innings each. Brennan Patterson, Landon Boeneke, and Nathan Dahle were the pitchers of record in games one, two, and three, respectively. Patterson gave up two hits and struck out three in the Sweets 8-2 victory on Opening Night, Boeneke allowed just one run and three hits in a rain-soaked 6-3 win on Wednesday, and Dahle yielded one hit during his Thursday stint in a 5-3 Walla Walla conquest.
Bend enters the weekend off a home series win over the Cowlitz Black Bears. Highlights included a 5-3 victory on Wednesday in which six different Elks broke into the hit column. Righthander Ryan Kaser, the fourth of five pitchers utilized by Bend in the contest, was credited with the win. He threw two innings of shutout baseball, gave up two hits, walked one and fanned one. Elks’ pitchers K’d nine overall.
A handful of Bend hurlers combined on a five-hitter on opening night when the Elks nipped Cowlitz, 2-1.
Bend holds a slight edge in the all-time series 25 victories to 23. The Sweets have managed six-game splits two of the last three seasons. Walla Walla’s best and worst season-series showings occurred in the J.C. Biagi era. The Sweets went 5-1 in 2013 on its way to a division championship, but slipped to 0-3 during the 2014 season.
Start time for games Friday and Saturday is 7:05. Sunday’s series finale will begin at 6:05.
The Bend set will feature a pair of promos. The annual Dog Days of Summer, presented by the Associated Veterinary Medical Center, is set for Saturday. Youngsters 12 years of age and under will be admitted into Borleske Stadium free during the season’s first Kids Day, presented by Sweet Basil.
First baseman David Le Bioda stroked two hits, scored three times and right-handed reliever Nathan Dahle logged four solid innings Thursday afternoon as the Walla Walla Sweets completed a series sweep of three-time defending West Coast League baseball champion Corvallis with a 5-3 victory at Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla has now captured 12 of its last 18 all-time matchups with the Knights. The Sweets took last year’s season series four victories to two.
The home nine drew first blood in Thursday’s initial inning by traveling the small-ball route. Patrick Caulfield, who collected eight hits in the series, led off with a walk. One out later he stole second base, his fourth theft of the season, moved to third on a balk by Knights’ starting pitcher Tim Josten, and crossed the plate on an infield grounder off the bat of Parker Price.
Corvallis tied the score in its half of the second. Trace Tammaro, Jake Holcroft and Stephen Lund started the frame with singles. Tammaro scored from third on a Nick Yovetich sacrifice fly to center.
Walla Walla produced a pair of tallies in its portion of inning two. Justin Folz led off with a single, but was erased from the base paths when Brandon Wagstaff hit into a 4-6 fielder’s choice. Le Bioda singled Wagstaff to second and catcher Tristan King followed with a double that sent Wagstaff scurrying home and Le Bioda to third. Carson Green sent Le Bioda to home plate with a sacrifice fly to the same vicinity Yovetich sent his a half-inning earlier.
Dahle’s outing did not exactly commence the way he would have liked. He began the third inning by walking Briley Knight on four pitches. But he retired Kai Murphy on a grounder to second base, Andy Atwood on a pop-up to shortstop, and Tammaro on a fly to left to end the inning.
“He was nervous,” Walla Walla manager Frank Mutz said. “Then, he was almost unhittable. He threw three pitches for strikes. I was happy with the way he flipped that switch
The Knights tied the score at 2-2 in the fourth. Yovetich lifted a two-out fly ball to center that bounced past a hard-charging Caulfield and ended up going in the scorebook as an inside-the-park home run.
The Sweets responded to the Corvallis tally in the last half of stanza No. 4. Le Bioda ripped a one-out double and Green drove him in with a two-out single to left.
Walla Walla increased its lead in the home half of the sixth. Le Bioda drew a one-out walk and Green grinded out a two-out free pass. Caulfield singled in Le Bioda to make it a three-run spread, 5-2.
The Sweets got two shutout innings from righty Mason Kokodynski in relief of Dahle. Kokodynski retired six of the last seven hitters he faced in innings seven and eight after surrendering a lead-off single to James Anderson in the seventh. He recorded back-to-back strikeouts of Yovetich and Cooper Wohlgemuth after the Anderson hit.
Wyatt Boone came out of the Walla Walla bullpen for the ninth inning to try and close things out but allowed consecutive doubles to Holcroft and Anderson at the outset. But he fanned Yovetich, got Wohlgemuth on a ground ball to short, and retired Sean Little on a pop fly to third to end the game.
“We have guys that I know are going to be in the zone,” Mutz said. “The last three innings are for guys we know we can rely on.”
The Sweets continue their season-opening, eight-game homestand Friday night when they open a three-game series with the Bend Elks at 7:05 p.m.
The Walla Walla Sweets successfully weathered a pair of lightning delays – one of 34 minutes and another of one hour, 26 minutes – and the visiting Corvallis Knights during West Coast League baseball action at dreary and drenched Borleske Stadium on Wednesday night.
Walla Walla guaranteed itself of no less than a series win over the three-time defending WCL champions after posting a 6-3 victory.
Center fielder Patrick Caulfield had four singles and two stolen bases in the game to lead the Sweets offensively. He singled in the first, third, fifth (and scored), and seventh innings.
Corvallis – which did not lead in Tuesday night’s encounter with the Sweets, an 8-2 Walla Walla triumph – used four first-inning hits to plate the game’s initial tally on Wednesday. Andy Atwood, Kai Murphy, and Briley Knight singled to start the frame. Atwood scored on a two-out base knock by Jake Holcroft.
The Sweets equalized in the fourth inning. Justin Folz reached on a one-out infield single and scooted to second on a throwing error by Knights’ starter Brodie Vassalakis. Folz stole third and produced the tying run on a Brandon Wagstaff sacrifice fly to right field.
Atwood led off the Corvallis fifth with a triple and scored on a Murphy sac fly that gave the lead back to the Knights, 2-1.
Walla Walla took the lead for keeps in the bottom of the fifth. Caulfield socked a one-out single then stole second. Cesar Lopez followed with a towering triple into the right-center field gap that knotted the score a 2-2, and scored the tiebreaking run when Parker Price reached base on a Knights’ error.
Wagstaff was hit by a pitch to start the home sixth. He stole second, moved to third on a Carson Green fly to right, and crossed the plate on a passed ball to give the Sweets a 4-2 lead.
Corvallis threatened in the seventh inning when it placed runners at second and third with no one out against reliever Ty Hueckman. But the Burns, Ore., native fanned Murphy and Knight, and retired Trace Tammaro 3-1 to escape unscathed.
The Knights closed within a run, 4-3, in the eighth inning against Hueckman prior to a two-run Walla Walla rally in the bottom of the inning. Caufield plated the first run with a single.
Right-hander Dimick Wood came on in the ninth to close out the game and did just that. He allowed a one-out walk to Murphy, but struck out the side to notch the save.
The teams conclude their three-game series this morning with a “School’s Out for Summer/Hookie from Work Day” promotion. First pitch is scheduled for 10:35.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets opened their 2019 West Coast League baseball season in fine fashion Tuesday night with an 8-2 victory over the three-time defending champion Corvallis Knights at Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla busted open a tight game with a five-run eighth inning that put the game out of reach.
The Sweets led 3-2 entering the home eighth and singled their way to success to establish separation between themselves and their soon-to-be vanquished opponent. Patrick Caulfield, Cesar Lopez, and Parker Price opened the frame with base knocks, the latter of which plated the first run of the inning.
“I loved that we put the game away,” Walla Walla manager Frank Mutz said.
“It’s always great to win and get the momentum rolling,” Ephan said.
Walla Walla drew first blood in the first inning thanks to two-out magic provided by Price and Ephan. Price singled and Ephan launched a towering fly off the base of the left-center field wall for a run-producing double.
“He (Corvallis starter Kolbe Boles) threw me a fastball early in the count,” Ephan said. “I thought he’d throw me a breaking ball. He threw me a curve, I sat on it, and got the barrel on the ball.”
Wagstaff scored in the home second. He stroked a one-out single, advanced to third on an errant pick-off from Corvallis starter Kolbe Boles, and touched home plate on a Mason Kokodynski sacrifice fly to left.
Ephan led off the Sweets fourth with a two-bagger and later scored on a fly to left off the bat of Wagstaff.
The Sweets endedf the night with 11 hits.
“We hit the ball all day – just about every inning,” Mutz said. “Our guys were in the box ready to go.
Brennan Patterson earned the mound victory for Walla Walla with four respectable innings (three through six) in relief of starter Travis Craven. He gave up two runs and struck out three. Fellow bullpen specialists Nick Irwin and Reid Sebby combined for three innings of shut-out ball, four K’s and two walks.
But perhaps it was Craven that hurled the pitch of the night. He walked the bases loaded in the first, but got Knights’ designated hitter Stephen Lund to hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
“Travis threw a great pitch and jammed him,” Mutz said. He didn’t panic. Brennan didn’t give in. He kept going at it and had a good outing.”
The teams play the middle game of their season-opening, three-game series Wednesday night at 6:35. The first 500 fans to enter the ballpark will receive a Sweets magnet schedule courtesy of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram of Walla Walla and the Union-Bulletin.Read Less
Sweets look to continue on 2018 success vs. the defending WCL Champions
The Walla Walla Sweets commence their 10th season of West Coast League baseball action Tuesday night at historic Borleske Stadium when they open a three-game series against the three-time defending WCL champion Corvallis Knights at 7:05.
This trio of games is part one of a season-opening, eight-game homestand. The Sweets host the Bend Elks Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, then step out of WCL play when they oppose the Highline Bears June 11 and 12.
Walla Walla is coming off a 28-26 showing in 2018, its fourth winning record in the last six seasons. The Sweets – after losing seasons in their first three years of existence – 2010 (18-30), 2011 (26-28), and 2012 (24-30) – were 31-22 during the 2013 regular season – which ended with an eight-game winning streak – and won the North Division title under former manager and current general manager J.C. Biagi. The local nine finished two games ahead of the Wenatchee Apple Sox.
A 28-26 mark in 2014 followed prior to the ushering in of the Frank Mutz era.
Walla Walla edged its way to a 20-19 record through late July 2015, but ended 22-31 after falling in 12 of its last 14 games.
The 2016 Sweets claimed the franchise’s second 30-win season. Walla Walla ended up 30-24.
The Sweets rebounded from a disappointing 2017 season in which they went 25-29 to put up a .500-plus record last summer.
When West Coast League fans think about tradition, the Corvallis Knights immediately come to mind. Last year’s WCL crown was the franchise’s sixth.
Prior to their current championship streak, the Knights climbed the West Coast League summit in 2008, 2011, and 2013.
Corvallis has dominated the all-time series with the Sweets by a 27-15 count, but Walla Walla has made some headway over the previous three seasons. The Sweets are 9-6 against the Knights from 2016-18. They were 4-2 last season, 3-3 in 2017, and 2-1 the year before that. They’ve been particularly strong at Borleske, and hope that the home cooking pays dividends again to start the 2019 campaign.
Walla Walla claimed three-game series both at Borleske Stadium and in Corvallis in 2018. The Sweets nipped the Knights on June 8, 2-0, Corvallis returned the favor with a 2-1 win, and Walla Walla claimed a slugfest in the series finale, 10-9.
The Sweets set a franchise record when they routed the Knights, 18-5, in game one of the Corvallis series on June 30 and followed it up with a doubleheader split. Corvallis won the opener of the July 1 double dip, 3-2, before the Sweets rebounded for a 5-3 triumph in the nightcap.
The Knights won 21 of 27 matchups between 2010 and 2015. Corvallis was 4-2 versus the Sweets in 2010 and 2011, 5-1 in 2012, and went 8-1 the next three seasons (3-0 in 2013, 2-1 in 2014, and 3-0 in 2015).
Tuesday’s game is presented by Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Walla Walla. Sweets caps commemorating the 10th year of the franchise will be given away to the first 1,000 fans in attendance. The game will be followed by a fireworks show.
CDJR will team up with the Union-Bulletin Wednesday night for a magnet schedule giveaway. Schedules will be handed out to the first 500 fans through the gates. Game time is 6:35.
A special “School’s Out for the Summer/Hookie from Work Day” promotion is set for June 6 when the Sweets and Knights conclude their three-game set. First pitch is scheduled for 10:35 a.m.
The Dog Days of Summer, presented by the Associated Veterinary Clinic, takes place June 8.
Kids Day, presented by Sweet Basil Pizza, unfolds June 9. Youngsters 12 years of age and under will be granted free admission.
Tux Tuesday is June 11. Burgers from Prescott’s world-famous Tuxedo Tavern will be featured.
Fans attending the Sweets-Highline game on June 12 will have the opportunity to save 40 percent off merchandise purchased in the Sweets Borleske Stadium shop.
More information is available at wallawallasweets.com or by calling 509-522-BALL.Read Less
Sweets bats struggle against squad composed of graduated college and former pro players
Seattle Studs pitchers recorded 18 strikeouts Saturday night during a 4-0 exhibition victory over the West Coast League’s Walla Walla Sweets at Borleske Stadium.
Mitch Viydo, Karsen Lindell, Merle Rowan-Kennedy, and Anthony Brady combined on a three-hitter for Seattle.
“Their first two pitchers were ex-pro players,” Walla Walla manager Frank Mutz said. “The second guy was throwing 92-95 miles per hour. That’s no excuse, but they were very high-level guys and we weren’t ready for it.”
The visitors tallied three times in the top half of the first inning against Sweets righthander Michael Peterson. Gavin Grant led off with a single and Kyle Strash walked. Landon Riker followed with a double off the left-field wall to plate Grant and advance Strash, who later scored on a wild pitch, to third. Ryan Budnick scored Riker with a sacrifice fly to center to complete the scoring.
Walla Walla threatened in its half of the first. But with runners at first and second and two out, Grant went into the air to snare a line drive off the bat of Carson Green.
Peterson settled down and retired the Studs in succession in the top of the second inning.
“Our pitchers were around the zone,” Mutz said. “Our guys went after batters. We shut ’em down six innings in a row (innings two through seven).”
Walla Walla got runners to second and third with two out in the fifth, but a called third strike ended any potential uprising.
The Sweets got just one more runner into scoring position the rest of the game.
Check out the game highlights here:
The FanFest served the benefit of getting the ballpark, staff and players up to speed in advance of Opening Day. Another highlight of the evening was KEPR TV sports anchor Alan Hoshida being named to the roster and starting in left field. Despite his great white shoes, and sparkling personality, he didn’t perform well enough to have the team extend his 1-day contract for the 2019 season.
Walla Walla opens its 10th West Coast League season Tuesday night when it opens a three-game series against the three-time defending champion Corvallis Knights (BUY TICKETS HERE). First pitch is set for 7:05 PM, with gates opening at 6:00 PM. The first 1,000 fans receive a commemorative 10th season cap presented by CDJR of Walla Walla.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets have proven that they are no different than a lot of sports teams in their first nine years of West Coast League existence.
Walla Walla has experienced both, to coin a phrase, “the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.”
The Sweets experienced growing pains in their first year as a WCL member. Walla Walla, managed by current general manager J.C. Biagi, stumbled out of the gate and were 7-21 just past the midway point of the 2010 campaign. However, Walla Walla went 11-9 in its final 20 contests and ended the year 18-30. Fans stayed loyal throughout the summer. So much so that the Sweets were No. 1 in the league in attendance – averaging 1,200+ fans per game. Team founder and first general manager Zachary Fraser was named WCL Executive of the Year, and the team was recognized nation-wide as the winners of the Best Marketing Campaign among summer collegiate baseball teams.
Year two produced eight more wins and an appearance in the postseason. The Sweets surprised Wenatchee two games to none before bowing to Corvallis by a similar margin. Middle infielder Alex Stanford (Gonzaga) became a West Coast League star as he set a then league record for hits in a season (66) and was named the league MVP. Five of Stanford’s teammates also received WCL recognition. Andrew Mendenhall (Lewis-Clark State) and Tim Culligan (Nevada) were named to the second team while Ryan Richardson (Campbellsville), Elliot Stewart (Cal Poly), and Brett Watson (Walla Walla C.C.) received honorable-mention acclaim.
A 24-30 record in 2012 wasn’t a highlight, but the team did set a new standard with the hosting of the WCL All-Star Game. An event that was previously just about the game became a city-wide celebration, with a downtown block party the night before. Fans enjoyed dunking then-manager J.C. Biagi in the dunk tank and the WCL saw what a great community Walla Walla had become. Pitcher Arturo Reyes (Gonzaga) was named to the league’s first team that year and teammates Shane Zeile (UCLA), Brett Jacobs (WSU), and Hunter Virant (UCLA) were honorable-mention choices.
What followed was a remarkable 2013 season that included eight straight wins to end the regular season, a 31-22 record, and a North Division championship. A trio of hurlers – Matt Hall (Missouri State), Sean Silva (USC), and Sean Luke Brijia (Gonzaga)- were WCL first-team picks and represented the Sweets in the West Coast League All-Star Game . Fellow pitcher Cody Poteet (UCLA) and battery mate Renae Martinez (UC-Irvine) were recognized as honorable mention.
2014 concluded with another winning record – 28-26 – and 6-3 records against both Wenatchee and Kelowna. Mendenhall was named to the West Coast League’s first team, and set a team record for homeruns in a season, Michael Duarte (UC-Irvine) and Jay Flaa (North Dakota State) made the second team, and both Conner O’Neill (Central Arizona College) and Jarod Gonzales (Gonzaga) grabbed the honorable-mention spotlight.
The last four seasons have been a roller coaster ride under skipper Frank Mutz. 2015 passed with a disappointing 22-31 mark and 12 losses in the final 14 games, but gave way to a respectable 30-24 record in 2016. Walla Walla had five players on the WCL honorable-mention list in 2015- Parker Coss (UC Irvine), Joe DeMers (Washington), Nick Halamandaris (Cal), Easton Lucas (Pepperdine), and Kyle Nixon (San Francisco). Lucas and Willie MacIver (Washington) made the league’s first team in 2016, and were joined on the all-star roster by second teamers Jarren Duran (Long Beach State), Chris Murphy (San Diego), Bobby Ay (Cal Poly), and Kyle Narahara (Cal State Monterey Bay).
The Sweets slipped to 25-29 in 2017, when Nick Nyquist (Gonzaga) was its lone selection on the WCL’s first team. J.J. Hancock and Chris Lincoln made the second team. Walla Walla returned to winning ways last year to the tune of 28-26. Bryce Moyle (Washington State) was named to the West Coast League’s first team and Nyquist was on the second team. Jordan Hovey (Creighton), Cesar Lopez (Cal Poly Pomona), who smashed a home run in the league All-Star Game, Haydn King (UNLV), Zach Penrod (NW Nazarene), and Darius Vines (Arizona State) proved themselves worthy of honorable mention..
2019 is just around the corner. And there promises to be more intrigue and excitement when Sweets season No. 10 officially begins on June 4.Read Less
Hoshida may or may not have enough talent to stand in the box and swing, but team is willing to see what will happen
Sometimes, in the creative and development process, you just throw a bunch of stuff on the wall(a) (squared) and see what sticks. The idea to throw out a first onion instead of a baseball – largely believed to be the first time in the history of the game that produce would be used for this time-honored tradition – came about as first-year general manager Zachary Fraser was treating staff to a lunch that included onion rings. Now – ten seasons later – it is a beloved tradition in #SweetsCountry. So, you never know.
The same “let us just see what happens” approach is in the works again this season, as the Sweets have signed local sports reporter Alan Hoshida of local CBS affiliate KEPR to a 1-day contract for the 2019 season. Hoshida reports (not that kind of reporting – the fancy sports way of say “shows up”) to training camp this afternoon for tonight’s workout at Borleske Stadium. The team is planning to have Hoshida see live action Saturday, June 1 vs. the Seattle Studs. The team will than determine if he is worthy of an extension to a 10-day contract.
“I can’t wait to get out there,” said Hoshida. “I’ve just learned how to work the pitching machine here at the cages in Tri-Cities, so I feel very prepared to face some of the best amateur talent in the Pacific Northwest. It can’t be that hard, right?”
In addition to his confidence in picking up the game of baseball, Hoshida has carved out an impressive career covering sports throughout Eastern Washington. A native of Gilroy, CA he traded his love of Garlic for his love of Sweet Lou upon arrival in the Columbia Basin. Prior to arriving here, he spent the first half of the decade covering sports in the Bay Area, and is a graduate of San Francisco State University. He has built a name for himself by rolling up his sleeve (just one, not both) and reaching deep to cover high school, college and professional sports from Yakima to Walla Walla.
“Fraser has lost his mind,” said manager Frank Mutz with an eyeroll. “But Alan is a nice guy, and we are excited to support him in his effort to prove that our lifetime pursuits of developing baseball talent can be learned by buying new cleats, a few days at the cages, and putting on a nice uniform.
“But the boss is the boss – so welcome Alan!”
Fraser, now team president, has gone power-hungry since GM J.C. Biagi took a brief leave of absence to tend to his growing young family. With the signing of Hoshida, other front office members fear he will never be stopped.
However, local sports fans should enjoy watching Hoshida try to prove he can make it.
Tickets for the exhibition game vs. the Seattle Studs are able to be secured here and are just $3 – where ever fans choose to sit. If fans wish to connect with Alan in advance of the game – to either encourage or heckle him – he can be found here:
Ryan Johnston headlines returning Sweets, and a power-hitting phenom from LC State is set to take aim at Borleske Blue
From the outside looking in, baseball offices in the West Coast League in March, April and May can seem quiet. With enough distance between the buzz of early-season signings and not yet reaching the electricity that takes over the cities in the circuit a week or two prior to Opening Day, it can seem like there isn’t much happening.
That is not the case. The days are filled with all sorts of work that is needed to make Opening Day – and the 31 games that follow – worth the experience to the paying fan. From the business of finalizing corporate sponsors and setting up groups, to sales of season tickets, to finalizing menus and retail designs, there is a steady, consistent effort to make sure that come Opening Day, teams deliver on the promise of great community baseball.
The baseball operations department is also busy at work. With front office members evaluating games and reports coming off of college fields, and coaches out meeting with players and coaches now that they are on the field, this is the time of year when the roster really starts to take shape. The early signings build the foundation while the signings in the spring create the character of the team. So – don’t misinterpret a six-week stretch between player signing announcements as lack of activity. In reality – it has served as a busier time than the previous three or four months that had been spent on player development.
The Sweets started the off-season with some names that had, at first glance, promised to provide significant power to the lineup. For the most part the anticipation is proving true. Jordan Stubbings is a player that Sweets fans will come to the ballpark every night to watch play. Through 5/15/19, the corner infielder has slugged 13 home runs, 16 doubles, and has an OPS of 1.095 through 54 games. Those numbers will translate well to a short left-field porch at Borleske Stadium.
Since the last press release announcing a player, on March 27, 2019, the Sweets have inked 19 players – a frenzied pace maintained by new general manager J.C. Biagi, who is working with manager Frank Mutz to craft a power-packed lineup that will look to overwhelm on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
One name that will be sure to get #SweetsCountry smiling is the return of Ryan Johnston from UC-Irvine. Johnston will be back for his fourth season in the shadow of the Blues, with a different role. He will be a veteran clubhouse leader, a solid bat when needed, a strike-thrower – Johnston is a two-way player – and will be like a coach on the field. With Johnston looking to go into coaching, it will be a good transition for the veteran Walla Walla man. Manager Frank Mutz is particularly excited to see #10 back in the dugout.
“He knows the game, knows how to handle to day-in and day-out nature of WCL baseball, and is as quality a person as he is baseball player,” said Mutz. “His experience – times where we’ve had success and times where we’ve failed the last three years – will allow him to be a true leader in making sure we succeed this season.”
Back to the power. Biagi has signed Brock Ephan, a first baseman/DH from LC State. Ephan is built like an offenisve lineman – he is 6’4”, 265 lbs. He clubbed 21 homeruns – seriously – and had a .732 slugging percentage in 2016 at Yavapai Junior College in Prescott, AZ, and won an NAIA World Series as part of the LC State Warriors in 2017. Besides the efforts to find a uniform to fit him, Biagi feels like he will be a difference maker, particularly in the early part of the season when most teams haven’t received their pitching depth.
A defensive and offesive “dude” – as they are called in the baseball world – is making his way to Walla Walla from Seattle, as Husky catcher Michael Petrie is set to follow the path of all-time great Willie MacIver. MacIver was a UW catcher, who went on to spend two seasons in Walla Walla before leading the Huskies to the College World Series and utimately the MLB draft.
Cesar Lopez – an outfielder found late in the off-season prior to the 2018 season – only became an All-Star last season, and was named the MVP of the WCL All-Star Game in Port Angeles. He will be returning, providing another talented and experienced bat to what is quickly becoming a stacked lineup from Mutz and assistant Larry Price.
Later, we will look at some of the arms that are on their way to Borleske. Trust that theme will be very similiar – power, veteran leadership, and a chip on the shoulder geared towards winning.Read Less
Associated Veterinary Medical Center of Walla Walla loves seeing puppies out and about - and ballgames are a great way to make that happen - "Dog Days" is back at Borleske!
When momma is happy, everyone is happy – so the saying goes. A close second could reasonably be “when puppy is happy, all is right with the world.”
A great tradition was started a few seasons back and has taken hold in the Walla Walla Valley, as Dog Days of Summer presented by Associated Veterinary Medical Center of Walla Walla is back for the 2019 season.
“With a new puppy in the home, I know our family is excited to have Holly experience her first Dog Days,” said Sweets general manager J.C. Biagi. “So many families are complete with their dog – and we are excited to see them all together at Borleske.”
Puppies will receive a great stadium giveaway at the gate, and the team is hoping to top the nearly 200 dogs that came in 2018.
“Each season, the number rises – which shows that we have started a tradition that speaks to our fans,” said team president Zachary Fraser, who will be glad to have Coda – the Fraser family dog – in the park.
New this season will be “Dog Concessions” – a pick-up location at the ballpark for dog treats. This concessions location will also have pick-up bags (so we can keep the ballpark clean) and information on AVMC services for animal lovers in the Valley. It will also be a chance to meet some of the docs and learn why they are so trusted for family animal care.
Why AVMC for the Sweets? Like the team, they are locally owned and operated. They engage in volunteer and service activities (like Rotary), and raise their families where they run their business. It’s a purr-fect (dogs, we know, but they take care of cats, too) fit for Walla Walla animal owners.
The game isn’t just about a dog-park activity. Bounce houses from Jumpin’ Jelly Beanz will be there – for the “other” kids who need a break – cold, craft beer will be on tap, and the Sweets are playing the Bend Elks, a division rival. The Sweets are 8-4 versus the Elks at Borleske Stadium since 2015, and look to keep that success going.
Gates will open – for humans and canines – at 6:00 PM with first pitch at 7:05 PM.Read Less
High school and collegiate sports seasons are ending one by one.
Before you know it, the Walla Walla Sweets will raise the curtain on their 2019 season. It begins June 4 with Opening Day, starting a three-game series against defending West Coast League champion Corvallis at historic Borleske Stadium. The first six games, in fact, are looking to be very important – with the Bend Elks following after the Knights, the Sweets can set the tone early in the first half South Division race.
If that isn’t enough to get you fired up about Sweets baseball, how about another edition of “10 Things to Know” to get those juices beyond the boiling point?
Winning attracts headlines. However, customer service and fan experience drive the business of Sweets baseball. The 2019 promotions schedule has been finalized, and team officials believe that the combination of traditional promotions, with a few new additions and a continued focus on fan value, the 10th season of Sweets baseball will be one of the best yet.
Leading off, Opening Day has established itself as a spectacle not to be missed in the Walla Walla Valley. Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, who continues to prove that they are the local’s choice for buying the best trucks, returns as the presenting partner. It represents the fourth season of the relationship, one that CDJR General Manager and partner Joel Olsen is proud to represent.
“For the past four seasons, we have been the Opening Day sponsor and season-long partner of the Walla Walla Sweets,” said Olsen. “This year is especially ‘Sweet’ because we get to celebrate 10 years with the team being a staple in our community.”
Opening Day will begin with gates opening at 6 PM, and the first 1000 fans receiving a commemorative cap courtesy of Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Fireworks will light up the sky following the game, and the Valley will know for certain that summer is underway.
The remainder of the first homestand shapes up well – with magnet schedules on Wednesday, June 5, and a reason to skip school and work on Thursday June 6. The Sweets will throw the first pitch on 6/6 at 10:35 AM, and with more than 500 school kids lined up to be at the park, the team is inviting business owners and parents to join their kids for a little hookie fun. Even the Noon Rotary is getting in the action – having moved their weekly meeting to the ballpark.
One of team president Zachary Fraser’s favorite nights returns on June 8. “Dog Days of Summer III” – back for it’s fourth year (the first was a boring and previously trademarked “Bark in the Park”). Local families are invited to bring their dogs to the park with them. Last year, the event drew more than 100 dogs – and the team is shooting for 250.
“Coda, our family dog and the photo prop for the marketing, can’t wait,” said Fraser.
July 3-4 has, like Opening Day, become a cornerstone staple of the promotional season for the Sweets. With one of the best fireworks shows around, presented by Wilbur-Ellis, and a chance to start the holiday off with friends and cold drinks, the game on the 3rd (with the fireworks) will be followed by a 10:35 AM first pitch on July 4. Why another morning game?
“Our fans have made being at the ballpark an important part of their family tradition since I was in the dugout,” said Sweets general manager J.C. Biagi. “With a morning game, families can head to Pioneer Park after for festivities there, home for evening barbecues and then out to the Community College for another great fireworks show.
“We believe it may be the best 48 hours of the summer – two ballgames, two firework shows and a ton of fun!”
Key giveaway and special nights – including Opening Day – will be:
New in 2019 will be Tux Tuesdays. The longtime Prescott landmark will be on-site making their world-famous Tux Burgers on the following Tuesday night games: 6/11, 6/18, 7/16, 8/6. People who come from all over the Valley to the small Prescott restaurant and bar can now get their favorite at the ballgame.
Local food vendors will be featured throughout the season. Bright’s Ice Cream will be featured at select games in June, July and August (dates below), and new in 2019 will be Ime’s Kitchen Mexican GastroTruck will be on site for select games (dates below) with her hand-crafted tacos, tortas, and homemade Jamaica aqua fresca.
As previously announced, fans don’t need to wait for a specific day of the week for deals – like a Tuesday night. $5 general admission tickets are available every night (including Opening Night), and the Sweets Value Menu has food and beverage options ranging from $1 – $4 every single game (including $3 beer and $3 hot dogs).
If food, fireworks and fun giveaways aren’t necessarily the top draw – perhaps 40% off merchandise (including team caps) will be what moves people to the ballpark. Every Wednesday night – including July 3 – merchandise at the Stadium will be 40% off. That is in unison with a hat that will be available every night for $9.99, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt that fall in the Value Line pricing. Bounce houses and VR simulators will be provided by Jumpin’ Jelly Beanz, and the right field bleachers are being replaced by Adirondack chairs and games, and maybe even a firepit (still working with the insurance company on that one!).
Now – if we can cap all of this off with a playoff run…it’ll make the season extra-Sweet.
BRIGHT’S CANDIES ICE CREAM SCHEDULE:
June 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 20, 21
July 12, 13, 16, 25, 26
August 2, 3, 4, 6, 7
IME’S TACO TRUCK SCHEDULE:
June 4, 21
July 3, 12, 24, 26
August 7Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets have partnered with the Montreal tech start-up Chatler to create a real-time ordering and delivery service for ballpark concession favorites for the 2019 West Coast League season. Fans will be able to use Facebook Messenger to place and pay for orders that will be delivered directly to their seats.
Chatler has utilized chatbot technology, allowing fans to order food right from their seat in the ballpark, pay via secure credit card transaction through the app, and track – step-by-step – the delivery of their order right to the time it arrives to their seats. The bot will close out the transaction when the food is delivered, and even allow the customer to tip the server that delivers the food. For customers familiar with technology like Door Dash and Uber Eats, it is similar in nature – and convenience – but within a ballpark setting. The difference is that customers won’t have to download a unique app, nor create an account to order food – they can simply search for “Chatler” in Facebook Messenger to begin the process. Chatler representatives selected the Facebook Messenger platform because of it’s compatibility with chatbot technology and because, according to TechCrunch, more than 1 billion people in the world use Facebook Messenger, so it is a platform that consumers already know how to use.
“Our goal is to provide a memorable customer service experience night in and night out,” said team president Zachary Fraser. “The ability to order ballpark staples from your seat – no need to wait for a server to take your order – and have it delivered provides a premium experience throughout additional neighborhoods in our ballparks.”
The Chatler app and runner team will not replace servers in the ballpark to premium seat locations. It is intended instead to supplement and to extend the locations throughout the stadium that delivery service can be provided. For the 2019 season, in order to ensure that the program can work as intended and improve customer experience rather than harm it, the menu will be limited to the top 5-7 selling items – hot dogs, peanuts, soda, water, a few beer items, and select candy treats. Premium seat locations will still have waiter service with the full menus available – including full beer and wine selections and expanded meal choices. Hawking will still be active in the ballpark – particularly on busy nights – as the club seeks ways to create additional value for the customer experience.
“This application is perfect for the quick item – a hot dog and a beer, or peanuts and a pop – without having to leave your seat and wait in line,” said Sweet assistant GM Cody Miller, who is overseeing setup of the ballpark food and beverage. “We still will gladly carry many of your favorites at all of our points of sale, and when you are ready to stretch your legs for an ice cream or a local craft beer, we will be ready to serve you.”
The genesis for Chatler came from the frustration of waiting nearly a full period for concessions – and missing the action on the ice – at a Montreal Canadiens game. The founders of Chatler started to discuss and brainstorm ways that they could develop a different solution, and the result was the app.
“We’re excited and delighted to launch with the Sweets this summer”, said Chatler’s president Sebastien Audet. “We had one goal in mind when building Chatler: eliminate concession lines. Attending a baseball game is a social experience. It’s all about spending quality time with friends and family. Searching for a concession and standing in a line takes away that precious time. Enjoy the game, order from your seat without downloading another mobile app.”
Information on how to use Chatler will be available on the team website the last week of May – prior to Opening Day, with menus and pricing – and the app will be tested at the pre-season exhibition game scheduled June 1, 2019 vs. the Seattle Studs (BUY TICKETS TO THE EXHIBITION GAME). Additionally, Chatler representatives will have how-to cards to pass along at the gate on Opening Day (BUY TICKETS TO OPENING DAY).Read Less
Nyquist continues to show the college - and pro - baseball world what we were lucky enough to see for three seasons at Borleske Stadium
We have now entered the month of May and the anticipation for the 10th season of Walla Walla Sweets baseball is reaching a fever pitch. If it’s anything like the nine seasons that have proceeded it, local baseball fans will have much
to look forward to.
It’s been a busy week for former and future Sweets.
Kids and baseball go together.
From the pure joy of watching a home run sail beyond the outfield wall, to the rush to eat the ice cream before it melts, its hard to watch a kid be at a ballpark and see the happiness that experience creates.
Les Schwab Tire Centers – a Pacific Northwest-based leader in tires, brakes, wheels, shocks, and alignment services – basically the company that keeps the Pacific Northwest moving on our beautiful roads – loves to see families and kids having fun. The company has a history of giving back to the Walla Walla Valley, having recently wrapped up a three-year agreement with the Sweets that generated more than $20,000 in donations to area non-profits through “Chuck-A-Ball”. The nature of the relationship between the tire leader and the team will continue on a platform of community service through the “Tickets 4 Kids” presented by Les Schwab.
“Tickets 4 Kids” – launched by the Sweets in 2015 – allows companies to make financial contributions to the Sweets to purchase tickets to games, to donate to non-profits in the Walla Walla Valley that provide resources and services to under-served children. The Sweets match the financial contribution to double the volume of tickets that can be provided.
“We are proud to call Les Schwab partners,” says Sweets president Zachary Fraser. “The managers and employees believe in giving back to the communities where they live and work – and that aligns perfectly with our team culture.
“Our Tickets 4 Kids program is a great fit – the Walla Walla Sweets are excited to partner with our friends at Les Schwab to make this possible for the upcoming season.”
For companies interested in contributing to the available ticket inventory – and helping Les Schwab and the Sweets reach even further in their efforts to connect the community – please click here.
For non-profit organizations that would like to apply for a T4K donation, please click here and fill out the application. The tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
#SweetsCountry #LesSchwab #Tickets4KidsRead Less
$5 G/A tickets every night, 6 items on the concessions menu for $4 or less - including beer - every night at the ballpark this summer
Every family seeks value and fun – those are consistent themes in every household.
The family pass – an original Sweets ticket product – is still one of the best deals in town if you are going to go to more than 10 games a season. At $2.93 per person per game, it is one of the premier ways in the Walla Walla Valley for families to spend time together at the ballpark. But what if you don’t go to 10 or more games?
Since 2013, the Sweets have offered $2 Tuesday – with select seats at $2, Pepsi drinks at $2 and Rolling Rock beers at $2. Those have been fun – but chaotic. What if you aren’t in town? What if we only have (4) Tuesdays in a season? What if you want to watch a fireworks night, but it isn’t on a Tuesday? It’s tough for families to plan additional details into their schedule based on our schedule. Plus, it created significant operational issues – if 400 people decided at the last second to come to a $2 Tuesday, it made a hustling concessions crew fall far behind the customer demand.
New general manager J.C. Biagi – who didn’t have to stress these details when he was managing the lineup card in the dugout – and team president Zachary Fraser pondered these questions when considering how to continue to provide value to Sweets customers, without diminishing the customer service experience of the entire ballpark.
“Like every promotion, $2 Tuesday had a great run,” said Biagi. “It was the right idea at the time, and created lots of great memories for our fans. Now is the time to innovate again and improve for our customers in 2019.”
The team is doing that by introducing Value Products that are available every single night, not just on Tuesdays. Products in tickets, food and beverage, and merchandise are intended to make sure that every family that comes – from Opening Night to Fan Appreciation – can enjoy the entire ballpark experience. Let’s take a look at what the Sweets are offering this season in this Value experience:
The math is pretty good. A family of four can get (4) tickets, (4) hot dogs, and (2) Pepsis and (2) beers – and spend $42 total on the evening. Buy a hat and a shirt and fans are still under $70 for the night – not bad when you consider movie tickets alone would be $46 (!!). Plus, souvenir programs are always complimentary, and our stars stay around to sign autographs each night post-game.
The team will have one designated night each season with even greater added value – when all merchandise in-stadium will be 40% off every Wednesday night (in-stadium only). It’s an additional way to create value for #SweetsCountry.
“We can’t wait to see our loyal fans – back in the ballpark – cheering on our tenth season of Sweets baseball,” said Biagi.Read Less
Lincoln is dealing, Whitman (!!) is winning conference titles, and baseball is nearly back at Borleske for the 2019 season
That is what is left of this off-season – and they seem to go faster every year.
Another week has passed and we are getting closer to officially beginning the 10th season of Walla Walla Sweets baseball. High school and college sports seasons and school years are winding down. It is against that backdrop that we present this week’s edition of “10 Things to Know”.
Photo Credit: Chris Lincoln | courtesy of Daily Nexus – UCSB
You're going to take a lunch anyway - make it a long one with sunshine, some friends, a hot dog and cold drink!
June days in Walla Walla is where heaven resides. The weather is postcard-perfect – high 70s, low 80s, light breezes, the occasional rain to freshen up the Valley. The foothills are a shade of green only found in Walla Walla, right before the wheat begins to mature. The fields are full, and the Blues (mountain variety) earn their nickname. It’s also missed by many baseball fans because the Sweets play most of the games in June at night. Plus, school is still in session for about half the month, and folks are working.
The Sweets are scrapping that – at least for a day – and inviting the community to skip work, skip school – or at least taking a really long lunch. Walla Walla is invited to join us at Borleske for a beautiful early summer DAY game vs. the Corvallis Knights and enjoy the “Best Long Lunch EVER” game.
– Single Game – just go the game solo or with a few friends – tickets start at $5 for select General Admission (Pro Tip: $5 seats are available in SECTION F – enter the number of seats you want, hit “continue” and they automatically update to $5!) – BUY $5 TICKETS HERE
– Grab a Dog and a Soft Drink with your ticket for your $12 best long lunch ever ticket (Pro Tip: choose seats in B, C, or D and use code 19DayGameSoda at checkout to get the $12 ticket) – BUY $12 HOT DOG/SODA TICKETS HERE
– Grab a Dog and a Beer with your ticket for your $15 REALLY the best long lunch ever ticket (Pro Tip: choose seats in B, C, or D and use code 19DayGameBeer at checkout to get the $15 ticket) – BUY $15 HOT DOG/BEER TICKETS HERE
– Have a group of 10 or more? We can make the price even better for you…email CODY here
Gates will open at 10 AM, with first pitch being thrown at 10:35 AM. More than 500 school-age children – thanks to fun principals and superintendents – are scheduled to attend (with room for more – if your school is interested reach out to Cody Miller for pricing and details). The Walla Walla Noon Rotary has even decided to move their weekly meeting to the stadium’s Key Technology Sweet Spot to take advantage of the bounty of nature, sunshine and fun that happens at a day game.
“It is early enough in the summer season that daytime heat isn’t the issue it could be in July,” said Sweets GM J.C. Biagi. “I love the energy that a sunny day, lots of kids enjoying the game, and friends grabbing a cold drink over lunch at the ballpark can bring.
“Plus, it’d be a rare chance to have dinner with my family at home that night!”
The Sweets have dabbled with day games in the past. In 2010, more than 1,500 people showed up to a day game on June 10. Historically, day games early in the season or on Sundays have proven to be a good model – later (after July 15) tend to be a struggle, primarily because while summer nights in Walla Walla are perfect – summer days are best spent at the pool next door to Borleske Stadium!
For schools and organizations interested in helping your students and employees feel a measure of appreciation heading into the summer, we look forward to inviting you to the park – with our ticket sales team ready to find the best option for your group!Read Less
We find ourselves racing around second - head full of steam like a Caulfield walk-off - as we continue to prepare for the WCL season
Roy Elia logging on – we’re so excited that the weather has finally caught up with the season! Spring sports are winding down in the Walla Walla Valley and that means – among other things -that the 10th season of
Walla Walla Sweets baseball is fast approaching. The 2019 campaign commences in six weeks…can you believe that?! A month ago we had a foot of snow on the ground.
This week’s edition of “10 Things”:
FanFest to continue - new in 2019 is the chance for a Sweets fan to be in uniform, get an at-bat vs. Studs pitchers
The past few seasons, Borleske Stadium has hosted Sweets FanFest – a great way to sample food and beer, new construction at the venerable ballpark – and an exhibition game as two separate events. In order to have more fun, the team – ready to get the 10th season in the Walla Walla Valley rolling – has combined the two.
The Sweets will welcome the historic Seattle Studs of the PIL to Walla Walla on Saturday, June 1 for a pre-season game for both clubs. The Studs are one of the most decorated semi-pro teams in the history of the game, now operating in their 65th season, and founded by the namesake of the baseball stadium in Tacoma, Ben Cheney (Cheney Stadium). Interestingly enough, the name “Studs” refers to the 2×4 piece of wood that is now ubiquitous in home construction. They are regularly among the Top 10 teams in the National Baseball Congress World Series.
“It’ll be a great chance for our guys to play a talented, experienced team and for our coaching staff to see what we have to work with this summer,” said manager Frank Mutz.
“At this level, we don’t have the luxury of a month of spring training and practice – so we have to evaluate quickly.
“Games like these are valuable in that evaluation experience.”
The game will be combined with the FanFest – with all sorts of fun activities for people ready to put the harshness of winter aside and dive head-first into summer.
Other FanFest details:
Opening Day, Presented by Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Walla Walla, is Tuesday, June 4 vs. the Corvallis Knights. Always one of the best celebrations in the Valley, it will be additionally special as the Sweets start the tenth season in team history – the longest any one team has played continuously in the community’s history. Tickets are going fast – so be sure to get them soon by clicking here!Read Less
Le Boida and Folz to bring pop from the left side of the plate this summer
Folz, currently at Palomar College, hit .294 with six home runs and 28 RBIs last spring for NCAA Division II member Northwest Nazarene. He started 49 of the team’s 50 games in 2018 and sported a .508 slugging percentage.
The Monroe, Wash., product was an all-state performer his senior year and was a first-team, all-conference choice in his junior and senior campaigns.
Le Boida, who plans to play collegiately at Pepperdine, was recognized late last spring as one of the top 60 West Coast prospects and was invited to the Under Armour All-America tryout in June.
The 6’4″ 240lb utility-man transferred to Aliso Niguel High School in 2018. Le Boida has played for the SoCal Mariners scout team and SoCal National Team Identification Series squad. He played in the National Class Championship in 2017 and batted .378 in his freshman year at JSerra High School.
Le Boida is anxious for the summer season to get started.
“I can’t wait to play for the Sweets,” Le Boida said. “I’m really looking forward to playing almost every day with the kind of talent that will be out there. I can’t wait to compete my hardest and see how I match up against the best.”Read Less
Tristan King and Chazz Martinez look to make their mark on Sweets baseball this summer.
WALLA WALLA – A pair of Golden State baseball stars are the latest to be inked by the West Coast League’s Walla Walla Sweets, the team announced Tuesday.
Martinez, currently at the University of California-Santa Barbara, is the brother of former Sweets catcher and Arizona Diamondbacks prospect, Renae Martinez. The younger Martinez is a southpaw who can pitch, play first base or roam the outfield. He was a four-year letter winner at Corona Del Mar High School.
He was named to the Pacific Coast League’s first team his junior and senior seasons and the California Interscholastic Federation’s first team last spring after hitting .383 with three home runs and 25 runs batted in.
King registered a .346 batting average with 22 RBI for Palomar College in 2018. His resume also included 31 runs and 10 doubles during a campaign in which Palomar won the California Community College Athletic Association’s Pacific Coast Conference with a 17-7 record (28-17 overall) and reached the second round of the CCCAA’s Southern California Regional.
“I just hope that I can get in peak shape for the summer and next spring year, and be in the right mental and physical states to play baseball the way I know I can,” said King, who is redshirting at Northern Illinois University.
King, a catcher and third baseman, said he is excited to play for the Sweets for a number of reasons.
“It’s in the West Coast League, a really good baseball conference, I’m playing with some old teammates from high school that I haven’t seen in years, (and) this is my first summer season in two years,” King said. “I am really eager to play and develop and travel to new and exciting places playing baseball with an organization that I have only heard positive things
Take a break from the snow and read about sunny, baseball-like news throughout #SweetsCountry
We took a week off – primarily to shovel snow. And more snow. And more snow. We all wonder when the snow will stop, but in the meantime, we will take a look at what is happening around the world in #SweetsCountry.
We move forward with this week’s first pitch:
1. Renae Martinez was an All-Star catcher for the Sweets in 2013, returned to anchor the battery in 2014, he became a beloved member of #SweetsCountry. After a non-traditional route through college, he landed as an All-Conference catcher as an Oklahoma Sooner. The Diamondbacks picked him up in the 33rd round last year, seeing what would come of the pick. He has taken the opportunity and – even as a catcher – has run with it. Check out his MiLB stats here, and be sure to keep an eye on where he lands. His family name is one of the favorites around the office.
2. Nick Nyquist is 2nd on the team for Gonzaga in homeruns this season. Cold weather has forced the ‘Zags to open forever on the road at 4-6, but they are still among the favorites to win a tough WCC.
3. Eric Yardley is looking more and more like a shot at starting the season on the roster in San Diego with Manny Machado and the Padres. His is 1-0 in 4 appearances this spring, with a 0.00 ERA and with opponents only hitting .143 against him. Yardley was a 2011 Sweet, and a native of the Tri-Cities.
4. Speaking of Yardley, he trains in Peoria, where a very lucky group of fans will be joining us to watch the Mariners (who share the Peoria complex with the Padres) train. What a way to escape the snow. We leave on Sunday, March 10.
5. OF Patrick Caulfield is continuing his aggressive approach at the plate, as he leads the Santa Barbara College Vaqueros with a .348 batting average. A late-season pick-up, he electrified the Borleske faithful with a fearless approach to hitting and base-running.
6. It wouldn’t be a “10 Things” without a Darius Vines reference. Our 2018 Opening Day pitcher is delivering at Bakersfield, where he has struck out 26 batters faced while only walking 8.
7. Jordan Hovey has been a solid member of the Creighton lineup so far this season. The utility infielder is starting and batting .292 through their first 9 games.
8. We’re going north for a moment – where the ownership group of the well-run Victoria Harbourcats announced their intent to seek expansion in Nanaimo. A city of nearly 100,000 about 1 hour north of Victoria on Vancouver Island, it could end up being an intriguing option for travel to the island for WCL teams.
9. 2018 OF/LHP Zach Penrod, who signed with the Texas Rangers mid-way through the WCL season, will open his first spring training with the Texas Rangers in Surprise, AZ.
10. Yesterday, the Sweets launched sign-ups for our popular summer camps – the Skills Camp presented by the YMCA for kids 5-9, and the Prospect Camp for 8-12. We can’t wait to see you there!
11. We will throw a #11 in here – our thoughts turn to Whitman Baseball. They were supposed to open at home this weekend – but Borleske still has over 1′ of snow on the ground. Fingers crossed that in the next few weeks we can see the snow melt and Tim Duncan can work his magic so they can play soon. And congrats to Whitman’s men’s basketball team – who hosted the NCAA tournament this past weekend, and clinched another trip to the Sweet 16.Read Less
CDJR of Walla Walla is set to delivers the heat for Opening Day 2019
Opening Day is a sensory experience.
Fresh cut grass (both visual and the smell). Field paint. Vibrant colors displayed in newly printed signs. Batting practice music. The sizzle of grilling hot dogs. The chill of a favorite cold beverage.
All of these evoke strong connections to memories of experiences past and visions of experiences in the future. The joy of Opening Day allows the sensory to fill our dreams of a bright future and appreciate the memories of a warm past.
The Sweets will welcome their 10th Opening Day – an appropriate time for a “woah” – when they host division opponent Corvallis Knights to Borleske Stadium on Tuesday, June 4, 2019.
“For me, Opening Day represents the unofficial start to summer,” says general manager J.C. Biagi. “I can’t wait to be back in the ballpark to see so many friends and familiar faces.”
Biagi knows well the excitement of Opening Day, having spent 5 seasons in the dugout while (now) team president Zachary Fraser was the general manager. Instead of lineup cards and home plate meetings, Biagi’s attention will shift to fan experience and the pageantry of the game. Fraser is excited to see him perform in that role.
“J.C. was always very detail-oriented in the dugout, and I know he will bring the same approach to the stadium and fan experience,” he says.
Corvallis – who is the defending WCL Champion – opened the 2018 season at Borleske, with the Sweets taking 2-of-3. In fact, the Knights have struggled in the historic ballpark over the past 3 seasons, going 2-7 against the Sweets. While it isn’t always about the action on the field – Opening Day is more a party than a ballgame – it is fun to anticipate a competitive series that can go a long to setting the tone in the first half race.
Opening Day continues to be presented by Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Walla Walla. This locally-owned, locally-invested automotive dealer enjoys the energy around the biggest game of the early season.
“Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Walla Walla is excited to be partnered up with the Walla Walla Sweets for its 10th Season!,” said managing partner Joel Olsen.
As part of the continuing partnership, CDJR of Walla Walla is sponsoring both a Hat Giveaway to the first 1000 fans and Post-game Fireworks.
“What makes our partnership so great is that both our organizations are locally owned companies who believe in Quality and Community,” Olsen continued. “Opening Day is going to be ‘THE’ event you won’t want to miss. Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Walla Walla is proud to be this year’s Presenting Sponsor of Opening Day.”
For long-time fans (how cool is it that the team has been around long enough to have “long-time fans”?!), Opening Day will have some comfortable familiarities – part of that sensory engagement of memories of a warm past – but it won’t simply be a tired repeat of the same sheet music. New faces, new products to experience, upgrades to the pre-game experience, and the beginning of the celebration of 10 years in the Valley will be a ton of fun. And don’t forget the hats – everyone loves what has become the tradition of one of the best collectibles in the community.
Let’s make sure that we start the season with the energy that it deserves.Read Less
WALLA WALLA – For Jacqueline Mings, Carol Gentzler, and Ruth Hamilton, being a part of families that host Walla Walla Sweets players during the West Coast League baseball season seems to be a labor of love.
One could surmise that they and their loved ones epitomize what being host families is all about.
Hamilton, a family host since the Sweets inception, has entertained the likes of Nick Nyquist (2016-18) and Kalani Brackenridge (2012), as well as current major leaguer Matt Hall (2013) of the Detroit Tigers. She believes the most important things to know about hosting is that the players come to Walla Walla to be a part of a team and continue to hone their athletic skills through the summer.
“As a host, I feel that along with helping with housing, transportation and feeding them it is our responsibility to encourage and support them during this part of their journey,” Hamilton said. “Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it is hard. But either way, if you are lucky, when the summer ends you have gained great memories, another family member, and often their family becomes your family as well.”
Gentzler, a host since 2012 who has housed such Sweets as Willy Chang and Haydn King, said the summer relationships are ones to be treasured.
“Each year has been as special as each player, and each player is now a special part of my life,” the host lovingly known as “Grandma Carol” said. “I believe it is the same for each host family. The children in a family love their guys and each family is different, as is each player.”
Mings and her family have hosted Sweets players for two seasons including 2018. She said the experience has positively impacted her and her husband, and their two boys.
“My oldest son has been a bat boy during the last two summers and connected with the players each year,” Mings said. “My youngest is notorious for hanging out in the rooms of his “summer brothers” and scratching rides home with the boys after the games. These experiences make us want to continue because within our hearts, we have more to give.”
Mings said being a host family “brings a new light, new laughs, lots of cheer, tons of joy, new friendships, and extra cowbells during the season.”
She added, “This is an incredible opportunity to be given and we encourage others to participate…if you have the room in your home, and your heart.”
More information can be obtained by contacting the Sweets at 509-522-BALL.Read Less
Son of former Major Leaguer sets off to make his own mark on the West Coast League this summer as a member of the Walla Walla Sweets.
WALLA WALLA – Jeff Cirillo and his son, Connor, have at least a couple of things in common.
One excelled on high school baseball diamonds, the other is doing so presently.
Jeff played baseball at the University of Southern California. Connor will soon follow suit.
This summer, Jeff will be rooting on Connor when he ventures into the West Coast League wars as a member of the Walla Walla Sweets.
Connor, a past member of the Sweets select team and a Bellevue High School graduate to-be, has enjoyed his share of productivity in his first three years of varsity high school baseball. A soon-to-be, four-year starter and lead-off hitter, he’ll carry a career .334 batting average into this spring. Connor hit .412 in 2018 and is hoping to reach the .450 plateau this season.
The Medina, Wash., resident is hopeful he can bring success to a program in need of a boost.
“We have lost a lot of guys over the last two years,” Connor said. “It’s up to me and two or three other studs to carry the team. A personal goal that I have is to with MVP of the KingCo League.”
Connor, a participant in the 2015 Can Am Futures Series and Junior Northwest Championships, said his decision to play collegiately at USC was based on a childhood dream.
“I love California and playing in good weather,” he said. “I love the coaches and feel at home when I’m at the campus and with the team.”
His parents attending and his brother currently enrolled also factored in his wanting to be a Trojan, he said.
Connor, a past MLK Perfect Game all-tournament selection and a 2016 Perfect Game World Series competitor, said he is fired up to compete this summer for the Sweets.
“I’m excited to go up against a bunch of college kids to get some exposure to what it’ll be like at SC,” he said.
Jeff – a former Major Leaguer who played for the Colorado Rockies, Seattle Mariners, and Milwaukee Brewers, and is now a scout for the Los Angeles of Anaheim – said his fondest memories in pro ball included his first MLB game, a 2005 home run he struck in Pittsburgh while playing for the Brewers, and throwing batting practice to his sons in pro ballparks.
Not bad for someone seen as a longshot to make the 2005 Milwaukee roster, and who adjusted to Southern Cal after playing prior to that at a small Catholic high school in Burbank, Calif.
The elder Cirillo said he is proud of his son who possesses “a tremendous amount of courage, heart and fight.
“The (WCL) is a talent-filled league and all the players will be solid, older and, for the most part, have one year of college experience,” Jeff said. “My hope is he will continue to learn from a great coaching staff and enjoy the experience of it all.”Read Less
Baseball season is finally underway - we check in with players and programs that are meaningful to #SweetsCountry
Snow and more snow…and more snow – it makes it hard to believe that college baseball threw its first pitch (for most schools) of the 2019 season this past weekend. But it did – in gloriously warm locales such as Phoenix, AZ and Los Angeles, CA and other Xanadu-like places that don’t ever really worry about cold and snow and ice. So…while we brace for more shoveling, scraping and dream of blue skies and Borleske, we can start to live vicariously through the games happening now. We reflect on players from our past – and what they are doing now – and look forward to learning about players that will fill our summer nights this season.
This week also marks the 10th season of our “10 Things to Know” column. I started in 2010 as a way to scrape together some – any – level of interest in the upcoming season of Sweets Baseball, because at the time no one was really listening! Nearly 500,000 fans later, you listened, and I am thankful for that. I’m excited to pick this project up again for this coming season.
1. This is the first-ever spring that a former Sweets player is starting the season on the Active (25-man) roster of a Major League Baseball club. Matt Hall (2013) was celebrated last summer as the first-ever Sweet to play in a MLB game. He is active on the Tigers roster at the start of camp. We will check in often with Lakeland to see his progress, and fingers crossed that he becomes the first Sweet in franchise history on an Opening Day roster.
2. We’ve enjoyed a long, and fruitful, relationship with UCLA Bruin baseball. This season, their roster – picked by many to compete for the PAC-12 title – has (4) past Walla Walla players, and 2018 member Jack Filby was the winning pitcher in Game 1 of a 3-game sweep of St. Johns.
3. Colorado-Mesa (DII) is off to a smoking start (8-1), and 2019 signee Jordan Stubbings is leading the way for the Mavericks. He is batting a cool .500 with a .600 slugging percentage, and a mere .595 OBP. We can’t wait to see that bat in our lineup this summer.
4. 2017 RHP Ryan Anderson threw a solid 5 innings and picked up the win for the Wolfpack of Nevada, as he got the ball to start the season against #24 Missouri State. He struck out 6 and walked only 1.
5. Cal Poly Pomona started the 2019 season ranked #16 nationally, and 2018 Sweets OF Cesar Lopez – an All-Star for the club in 2018 – has a .304 batting average to start the season for the Broncos.
6. 2017 WCL Top Prospect Chris Lincoln has a 11.25 K/9 innings this season for UCSB. That is a lot.
7. 2017-18 RHP Darius Vines has landed at Cal-State Bakersfield, where he already has a record of 1-0, with 7 strikeouts to 2 walks in his first start.
8. 2017 RHP Milo Mincin has had a strong start for the hometown Whitman Blues. He is sporting a 2.35 ERA in 4 appearances (all relief) and is controlling the basepaths – he has struck out 7 while only walking 1. He has also picked up a save.
9. 2013 RHP Jon Harris, who as a teammate of Hall’s at Missouri State and was a 1st Round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays, reached AAA Buffalo last season, and is considered a favorite for the Jays to call up this season. We look forward to keeping an eye on that story.
10. Gonzaga had a rough start to the season – a favorite to return to the NCAA tournament, they limped out of the gate with a 1-3 start – but Sweets legend Nick Nyquist (pictured above) did manage to launch a home run in one of his two starts this past weekend.
Opening Day is a little over 100 days away (we will pass that mark this weekend) – we can’t wait to get season #10 started!Read Less