Sweets Slip in 11Posted: Updated:
Walla Walla-- The Kelowna Falcons will be more than happy to play the role of spoiler down the stretch. They played it well on Sunday, battling back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 in 11 innings over the Walla Walla Sweets at Borleske Stadium.
After learning the Bellingham Bells had defeated Wenatchee on a walkoff squeeze, the Sweets let the Falcons take the lead in the 11th. Working his second inning, Geoff Soja walked the first two batters of the inning and Beau Hanowski's fly to center off of Jimmy Litchfield was deep enough to score Jeff Melby from third for the winning run.
Walla Walla made it interesting in the bottom of the 11th but Parker Trewin closed the door. Alex Stanford and Elliot Stewart picked up back-to-back two-out singles off of reliever Luke West before Trewin was called in. The left-hander threw three pitches, all strikes, to end the game and put the Sweets a game back of the Bells.
The Sweets held two separate leads during the game. Stewart hit a ground ball down the line at third and beat the throw to first and then took second as the throw sailed wide of first. After a strikeout, Zach Wentz drilled a single to left and Stewart slid in safe just ahead of the tag to make it 1-0.
Kelowna answered immediately as a throwing error on a bunt single from Nick Colwell sent him to second. He moved to third on a single and the Falcons then performed a perfect double steal that tied the game at 1-1.
Both pitchers did their jobs after that. Kelowna starter Ethan Miller allowed just two runners over the next three innings and Sweets starter Brett Watson equalled him through the fifth. In that fifth, both starters struggled. Watson walked the first two batters of the inning and both advanced up a base on a passed ball but they would not score. The left-hander induced a ground out to first, a pop out to first and then struck out Kyle Pearson to end the inning.
Walla Walla did the same thing in the fifth as Denver Chavez and Stanford both reached thanks to errors putting runners on second and third. Miller got two straight outs but with two strikes on him, Wentz got enough barrel on the ball to collect an infield single and make it 2-1.
Watson and reliever Cory Mack made that stand until the eighth. Watson stranded a runner on first in the sixth, his final inning and Mack tossed a 1-2-3 seventh. Kelowna got to Mack in the eighth though. Pearson dropped a one-out double in front of a diving Scott Gottschling in left and Colwell followed with an RBI single to right to tie the game at 2-2. Mack eventually got out of the inning and neither team scored until the 11th.
The Sweets did have chances to score but were unable to get the key hit. They got a leadoff triple from Gottschling in the sixth but Miller struck out the next two and got a ground ball to first to end the inning. Walla Walla then put two on in the ninth with one out but West induced a fly to right and struck out Wentz looking to send the game to extras. In all, the Sweets left 13 men on base.
Colwell had four hits on the night for Kelowna and Dillon Bryant also chipped in two. Stewart and Wentz each had a pair of hits for the Sweets.
Walla Walla and Kelowna wrap up their three-game series and their season-series tomorrow night with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. Kyle Anderson will get the ball for the Sweets as they look to take the rubber match.