WALLA WALLA - Matt Comer entered the Walla Walla Sweets' three-game series this week with the Kelowna Falcons hitting just .091 in six games (2-for-22).
What a difference Thursday afternoon made.
Comer collected two hits, scored twice and knocked in four runs - three on an eighth-inning home run - to help power the Sweets to a 9-5 victory in the wrap-up game of the West Coast League baseball set at Borleske Stadium.
The win snapped a four-game Walla Walla losing streak and ended Kelowna's run of five consecutive triumphs.
A pair of Sweets' errors and a passed ball aided the Falcons during a two-run first inning and set the tone for the fickle nature of the three-hour, 13-minute contest - a game in which the teams combined for seven defensive snafus (four by Walla Walla), 13 walks (nine by Kelowna pitchers) and 22 runners left on base (11 by each team).
Walla Walla responded to the Falcons' deuce with a run in its half of the first - a tally that came about in part because of a Kelowna miscue. With Kevin Kuntz at third base and Denver Chavez at second with one out, Comer drove a ball into the left-center field gap that Falcons' center fielder Ben Edelstein flagged down with a diving catch. Kuntz tagged up and scored to make it a 2-1 game.
That score held until the fifth inning when Kelowna's Aaron Jones smashed a two-run home run to left-center to give the visitors a three-run edge, 4-1.
The Sweets got one back in the bottom of the frame with the assistance of a hit and a Falcons' error.
Edelstein ripped an RBI single in the sixth inning that re-established a three-run cushion for Kelowna, 5-2.
Walla Walla tied the game at 5-5 in the last of the sixth. Two bases-loaded walks sandwiched around an infield RBI hit by Kuntz did the trick.
The Sweets took the lead for good in the seventh. Comer led off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and ran home on a Christian Ramirez sacrifice fly to right.
Chavez and Dennis Holt delivered one-out singles in the eighth before Comer hammered the first pitch he saw from Kelowna reliever Ryan Angus over the wall in left.
"It was a fastball up and in," Comer said. "I like to hit early in the count.
"I'm getting the feeling back that I had during the college season," said Comer, who hit .399 this past spring at Treasure Valley Community College. "I'm glad he (manager J.C. Biagi) stuck with me."
"In his first at-bat, he got a pitch to drive," Biagi said. "He had three quality at-bats. The results are a by-product of the approach he had. He's worked tremendously hard.
"It was a tale of two halves," Biagi said. "We strung together some good at-bats with the approaches we've been talking about. It's a good indication, a good sign of what we can do."
Walla Walla pitcher Jacob Overbay notched his first win of the season with three-and-a-third innings of one-hit relief.
"I like to get in and out as quick as possible," Overbay said. "I'm trying to work fast."
Once the Sweets got the lead, Overbay adjusted his focus.
"My strategy changed right there," Overbay said. "I said, ‘Now, I'm going to work to get the win.'"
"He didn't get ahead of everybody, but he made good pitches to battle back," Biagi said.
The Sweets open a three-game series tonight in Moses Lake.
Kelowna 200 021 000 - 5 9 3
Walla Walla 100 013 13x - 9 11 4
Bill, Tarver (5), Fisher (6), Wagner (6), Angus (7) and Hawk; Burke, Overbay (6) and Daniel.
HR - Kelowna: Jones; Walla Walla: Comer.
Hits - Kelowna: Edelstein 3, Cuthbertson 2, Sawyer, Nagamine, Chism, Jones; Walla Walla: Daniel 3, Chavez 2, Comer 2, Ramirez, Kuntz, Holt, Gottschling.