Sweets fight back to win in eighth

Andy Matthews delivers a pinch-hit single to score Elliot Stewart with what proves to be the deciding run in the 6-5 victory.



Walla Walla's Kevin Williams dives hard into the infield dirt for a Corvallis grounder.


Walla Walla's Kevin Williams hits the ground — and loses his sunglasses in the process — when going for a ground ball. He got it and got the second out in the first inning Wednesday.


Sweets' Kevin Williams' sunglasses fly off as he goes for a ground ball Wednesday.


Sans sunglasses, Walla Walla's Kevin Williams gets the out to first against Corvallis.


Walla Walla's Christian Ramirez is caught in a pickle Wednesday. Ramirez was eventually outed.

WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla refused to give up here in West Coast League baseball action Wednesday.

Corvallis led 2-0 - the Sweets answered to get even at 2-2. The Knights grabbed a 5-2 lead - the Sweets answered to draw within a run at 5-4.

The Sweets completed their battle with a two-run eighth inning and earned a 6-5 win over the Knights.

"That (fighting back) is something we haven't shown a whole lot and that's very promising," Sweets manager J.C. Biagi said. "That's one of the most satisfying wins that we've had. We played a complete ball game."

Christian Ramirez' first home run of the season, a two-run blast to right, narrowed the Knight lead to 5-4 after four.

Sweet starter Ryan Richardson gave up 10 hits, but kept the Sweets in this one as he left after six with the Sweets down 5-4.

"We didn't get a great start (down 5-2 after three), but it ended up being a quality start," Biagi said. "He (Richardson) hung in there and kept them at bay and got us through the sixth."

Michael Richard came on in relief and worked two scoreless innings to set the stage for Walla Walla's game-winning rally in the eighth.

"I've been working on my stuff in the bullpen, and trying to figure out what's been wrong," said Richard, a Walla Walla native. "I came in today and finally put it all together and threw a lot of strikes."

Denver Chavez opened the home eighth with a single. James Stanfield moved the tying runner, Chavez, to second with a sacrifice bunt.

Elliot Stewart followed with a high-bouncing ground ball that found a hole up the middle for a single and Chavez raced home to tie it, 5-5.

"I was just trying to score him (Chavez) and get a win," Stewart said. "He (Knights' pitcher John Pecoraro) threw me two fast balls that I fouled off. I don't know why he threw me another fast ball, but he did. It kind of got in on me, but it rolled up the middle."

Stewart went to second on the Knight's unsuccessful attempt to get Chavez at the plate, and Mitch Patito, with a 0.00 ERA for the season , was summoned from the Corvallis bullpen.

Patito struck out Ramirez for the second out of the inning. Andy Matthews came off the Sweet bench to pinch hit.

Matthews delivered a single to left, and Stewart scored to give the Sweets their first lead of the two-game series at 6-5.

"Andy did a great job of pinch hitting and got it (his hit) to drop," Stewart said. "I had to score for him."

"I watched him (Patito) and he looked like a low 90s guy," Matthews said. "I was setting fast ball first pitch. He made a pitcher's pitch. The second pitch he threw a slider. I went down and stayed through the pitch and hit it into left field."

Matthews stole second, and Scott Gottschling drew a walk. Matthews went to third on a passed ball, but the Knights hung Gottschling up between first and second.

As Knights second baseman Matt Duffy ran Gottschling back to first, he stopped and tried to get Matthews at third. Duffy's throw hit base umpire, Russ Waterman, and bounded into center field.

Matthews broke for the plate but was gunned down by Mitch Haniger to end the inning.

"Scott got caught up in the run down," Matthews said. "He (Duffy) fired to third, and I thought he spiked it in the ground because all I saw was the ball in the outfield. J.C. (Biagi) was yelling ‘Go home!'"

Waterman recovered and stayed to finish the ninth and Richard took the mound needing three outs for his first WCL win.

Justin Viele singled and Dylan Jones sacrificed him to second, and Zach Clanton was called to save this one for Richard and the Sweets.

Clanton's first pitch was popped up to first baseman Danny Poplawski. Clanton's second pitch was rolled to Poplawski for the third out. Clanton got a two-pitch save for his fourth of the season.

"It's a good feeling to get around the strike zone and help my team out," Richard said of his 2.1 scoreless innings. "I went out there (in the ninth) and tried to stay calm and throw strikes. I gave it to our closer, Zach (Clanton). Two pitches, two outs, you can't get better than that. That's my first win - a nice relief."

Stewart led the Sweets with three hits, two RBIs, and three runs scored in the 10-hit offensive explosion that improved them to 7-16.

"I'm seeing the ball well and getting comfortable," Stewart, a Cal-Poly product, said. "We (the Sweets) have been working on our approach (at the plate), trying to hit line drives and stay up the middle. We're facing good arms and put together a good performance today. That was awesome."

"This (the win) was much needed," Matthews said. "We need to get some wins going. Hopefully, we can build on this."

The Sweets travel today and will open a weekend series with division-leading Wenatchee Friday.

Corvallis 203 000 000 - 5 13 0

Walla Walla 200 200 02x - 6 10 0

McArdle, Boyd (6), Pecoraro (8), Patito (8) and Kizer; Richardson, Richard (7), Clanton (9) and Stewart.

HR - Corvallis: Blake; WW: Ramirez.

Hits - Corvallis: Jones, Boyd 2, Dillard 2, Viele 2, Blake 3, Andriese, Kizer, Haniger; WW: Kuntz, Stewart 3, Ramirez 2, K. Williams, Gottschling, Chavez, Matthews.

West Coast League

East Division


Wenatchee 12 9 0.571 -

Moses Lake 12 12 0.500 1.5

Kelowna 10 17 0.370 5

Walla Walla 7 16 0.304 6

West Division


Bend 18 6 0.750 -

Bellingham 17 12 0.586 3.5

Corvallis 14 11 0.560 4.5

Kitsap 12 10 0.545 5

Cowlitz 5 14 0.263 10.5

Wednesday's Games

Walla Walla 6, Corvallis 5

Kitsap 3, Bellingham 2

Bend 5, Kelowna 4

Today's Games

Bend at Wenatchee, 7:05 p.m.

Bellingham at Kitsap, 7:05 pm.


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