MOSES LAKE - If there's one thing Walla Walla's 9-21 record indicates, it's that the Sweets shouldn't be spotting opponents early-inning leads.
But the Sweets did just that Friday night, surrendering four runs on six hits and an error in the first inning of a 6-4 WCL East Division loss at Moses Lake.
Sweets starting pitcher Jacob Kemmerer scattered three hits over six of the eight innings of his complete-game loss, but allowed the Pirates to bunch six hits together in the first inning and three more in the fourth, accounting for ML's six runs and 11 total hits.
Kemmerer allowed the first six Pirate batters of the game to single their way on. Two stolen bases, an error and a throw-through in the inning allowed four base runners to move into scoring position, and each scored on a single by the next batter.
The Sweets erased some of the damage in the top of the fourth.
Andy Matthews led off the inning with a solo home run. Two outs later, Kevin Kuntz smacked a clutch two-RBI single to cap the scoring, and Walla Walla trailed 4-3.
Moses Lake responded in the bottom of the same inning with its final two runs.
Catcher Josh Rapacz opened the Pirate half with a double off Kemmerer. Kemmerer recovered with infield put-outs of Bobby Lewis and Andrew Rodriguez, but couldn't turn Austin Shackleford into out number three.
Shackleford took a 2-2 pitch out of the park for a 2-run homer and a 6-3 Moses Lake lead.
The Sweets returned fire in the top of the fifth. Elliot Stewart laced a one out double, then came around to score on a passed ball and put-out later.
Walla Walla put two more men on in the inning with two outs, but could not score.
The Sweets had two runners on again in the sixth, this time with one out, but failed again to score either runner.
Pirate relievers Tony Smith and Eric Yardley finished off the Sweets in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, pitching to just one batter over the minimum while striking out six.
The loss put the Sweets six games behind the 14-14 Pirates and eight-and-a-half games behind division-leading Wenatchee heading into Saturday's rematch in Moses Lake.
Walla Walla 000 310 000 - 4 11 1
Moses Lake 400 200 000 - 6 12 0
Kemmerer and Stewart; Druffel, Smith (5), Yardley (8) and Rapacz.
HR - WW: Matthews; ML: Shackelford.
Hits - WW: Kuntz 2, Chavez, Stewart 2, Matthews 2, Daniel 2, Gottschling 2; ML: Shackelford 2, Blades 3, Frederick, Bush, Roberts 2, Pavel, Rapacz 2.