Elks Pitching Quiets Sweets, 2-1Posted: Updated:
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Another chance to gain ground in the playoff race slipped out of the Sweets hands on Wednesday as they managed just one run on four hits in a 2-1 loss to the Bend Elks at Borleske Stadium.
Bend scored bot of their runs in the first and hung on the rest of the way to win the first meeting of the season between the teams. A Donald Collins one-out double started the Elks and walk put runners on first and second with two outs. Ryan Dunn followed with a single to right that scored Collins and Tyler Christian scored moments later as the throw to second sailed into center.
Those were the only runs that starter Brandon Brennen and relievers, Cameron Cuneo, Nick Stiltner and Jeff Brigham needed. Brennen set down the first six Sweets he faced, got a 6-4-3 double play to erase a leadoff single in the third and faced his only trouble in the fifth. He hit Chance Kopacz to start the inning and walked back-to-back batters to load the bases with one out. Kalani Brackenridge followed with a ground ball to third that was dropped and led to the Sweets only run. Brennen rebounded to get a fly out and strikeout to end the fifth without further damage.
Cuneo walked the first batter he faced in the sixth but did not allow another runner to reach over the next two innings and left after getting a ground out to start the eighth. Stiltner gave up a two-out single in the eighth but got out of it and Brigham allowed two to reach in the ninth before getting a ground out to short to end the game.
Minus the first inning, the Sweets got an exceptional outing from starter Jacob Overbay. Making his second start of the summer, Overbay started slowly with a rough first inning but picked up momentum as the game wore on. He worked around a leadoff walk in the second, allowed just a two-out error in the third and got his 1-2-3 inning in the fourth. Overbay hadn't allowed a hit since the first inning until Collins doubled in the fifth but Overbay was able to get out of the inning. His biggest challenge came in the sixth as Bend loaded the bases with one out. Unfazed, Overbay stabbed a comebacker off the bat of Toby Demello and started inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.
Derek Peterson pitched the seventh and eighth and had his second-straight strong outing. He earned the win in relief on Sunday with two scoreless innings and allowed only one runner tonight. He struck out the final two batters as part of a 1-2-3 eighth. Tyler Billen pitched the ninth and after walking the leadoff batter on four pitches, struck out the next two and induced a ground ball to give the Sweets a shot.
Mendenhall was the only Sweet to collect multiple hits on the night and he also stole a base. Collins and Dunn had a pair of hits each for Bend and Brigham's save was his fourth in four chances this summer. The Sweets missed an opportunity to gain ground on Bellingham for the final playoff spot in the East as well tonight. The Bells fell 5-1 to Cowlitz and lead the Sweets by two games with 14 games remaining.