WALLA WALLA - Moses Lake pushed across three runs in the top of the 11th inning Sunday night to pull out a 7-4 victory over the Walla Walla Sweets in the rubber game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series at Borleske Stadium.
The Pirates improved to 9-12 while the Sweets, who have now dropped four consecutive extra-inning decisions, slipped to 6-15.
Walla Walla has not won back-to-back games since turning the trick on June 11 and 12 in Kelowna.
Making Sunday's loss even harder to swallow was the fact that the Sweets wasted a tremendous pitching performance by starter Jake Kemmerer. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound right-hander from Edmonds Community College allowed just one run on five hits and walked two in 7 1/3 innings.
"He came out and gave us a quality start," Walla Walla manager J.C. Biagi said. "He does what he does - throws strikes and gets guys to hit his pitch."
Through the first five frames, the contest was a scoreless stalemate. It was broken with one out in the top of the sixth inning when Andrew Rodriguez took a Kemmerer delivery into the trees beyond the left-field wall.
Clutch two-out hitting produced a pair of Walla Walla runs in the latter half of the sixth off of Moses Lake starting pitcher Drew Martin. Scott Gottschling doubled to left with one out and scored on Elliot Stewart's center-field triple.
James Stanfield followed with a two-bagger into the left-center gap that plated Stewart and gave the Sweets a 2-1 edge.
"Once we figured out what he (Martin) was trying to do, we drove the baseball," Biagi said.
Moses Lake threatened in the eighth inning. Tylor Pavol singled off Kemmerer, Josh Rapacz greeted reliever Mike Richard with a base knock, and Rodriguez walked on four pitches.
Richard, a former DeSales standout, managed to keep his cool and got Austin Shackelford to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
The Pirates' Joe Huwer tied the game with a single in the ninth off Walla Walla closer Zach Clanton.
Moses Lake claimed a 4-2 lead in the 10th inning with two unearned runs.
The Sweets evened the score without a hit in the home 10th against Pirates' stopper Kris Carlson. Kevin Kuntz and Gottschling drew free passes at the outset of the frame, and advanced one base each on a Matt Comer sacrifice bunt.
Stewart was hit by a pitch and Stanfield earned a base on balls to force in a run.
Christian Ramirez lifted a foul fly down the right-field line that first baseman Nick Frederick ran down with an over-the-shoulder catch.
Gottschling scored on the play to tie the tally at 4-4.
"In that situation, we're going all the way," Biagi said.
The Pirates registered three runs on three hits in the 11th. Rapacz knocked in the first run with a single off Chris Kerns and Duncan Blades added a two-run hit against Joey Wagman.
"I was impressed watching our guys sticking to their game plan," Moses Lake manager Steve Keller said. "We had good swings and our at-bats got better. Our guys got aggressive."
The Sweets dropped to 6-15 on the season and six games behind first-place Wenatchee AppleSox.
The Sweets host Corvallis for a two-game series beginning Tuesday at 7:05.
Moses Lake 000 001 001 23 - 7 12 0
Walla Walla 000 002 000 20 - 4 6 1
Martin, Garza (6), Smith (8), Carlson (9), N. Johnson (10) and Huwer; Kemmerer, Richard (8), Clanton (9), Kerns (10), Wagman (11) and Stewart.
HR - Moses Lake: Rodriguez.
Hits - Moses Lake: Shackelford 2, Huwer 2, Pavol 2, Rapacz 2, Rodriguez, T. Johnson, Frederick, Blades; Walla Walla: Stewart 2, Stanfield 2, Daniel, Gottschling.
West Coast League
W L PCT GB
Wenatchee 12 9 0.571 -
Moses Lake 9 12 0.429 3
Kelowna 9 15 0.375 4.5
Walla Walla 6 15 0.286 6
W L PCT GB
Bend 16 5 0.762 -
Corvallis 13 9 0.591 3.5
Bellingham 15 11 0.577 3.5
Kitsap 11 9 0.550 4.5
Cowlitz 5 11 0.313 8.5