Two-out Triples Topple KitsapPosted: Updated:
Walla Walla-- Having two runners on base in the early innings is nothing new for the Walla Walla Sweets. Scoring them is. They did on Sunday as Kevin Williams tripled home two in the first and Scott Gottschling cleared the bases with a triple in the third to lead the Sweets to a 6-2 victory over the Kitsap BlueJackets at Borleske Stadium.
Leaving runners on base has become old hat for the Sweets but with two outs and two on in the first Williams changed all that. The lefty jumped all over a 1-1 pitch and drilled it to left-center scoring Kalani Brackenridge and Andrew Mendenhall who had singled with one out. That two-run triple was Williams' third triple of the summer and erased a 1-0 Kitsap lead.
The BlueJackets tied the game in their next at-bats and the Sweets went back to their old ways as they got the first two batters of the inning on base but left them there. They changed that in the third as they put together five straight strong at-bats. Zach Wentz worked a one-out walk, Williams singled to center before Elliot Stewart's ground ball was nearly turned into a double play but the relay throw to first was wide. That opened the door for the Sweets as Austin Heaps worked a two-out walk to load the bases and Gottschling promptly unloaded them on the next pitch with a drive to right-center.
Those five runs helped Sweets starter Brett Watson work around some early control problems. Lights out in his last start, Watson struggled early on, giving up two hits and sac fly in the first and a solo home run in the second. The left-hander remained calm and worked around those bumps to pick off a runner in the second to end the inning, got a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play in the third and a 1-2-3 fourth. He looked like he was destined for the showers in the fifth after walking the first two batters on eight pitches but got a break as Evan Potter was ruled to leave early from second base on Conor Cook's fly out to center. He got a ground out to third to end his night and the bullpen did the rest.
Jacob Overbay continued to be brilliant out of the bullpen, tossing two scoreless frames while allowing just two hits. Doug Christie was next and the right-hander got help by Brackenridge and Gottschling to throw a scoreless eighth. Brackenridge leapt high at third to rob Claude Johnson of a single and Gottschling recovered from a late break to make a diving catch in left to end the inning. Simon Anderson made things interesting in the ninth, allowing the BlueJackets to load the bases on two hits but induced a flyout to right to end the game.
Walla Walla has won the first two games in the series and all five this summer against the BlueJackets. The win evened Watson's record at 2-2 and dropped Kitsap starter Brandon Rohde to 0-3. The left-hander from Central Washington struggled from the get-go and left in the third after Gottschling's triple, allowing five runs on six hits. Sheldon Lee was great in relief, tossing four innings of one-run ball.
Williams' three hits led the Sweets and put him a triple shy of the cycle. He has now driven in seven of his 11 runs against the BlueJackets. Gottschling's three-run triple gives him eight on the summer against Kitsap.