Stewart's single lifts Sweets to 11th-inning win

The 4-3, extra-inning victory was the Sweets' first against Kitsap.

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After rounding first base, Walla Walla Sweets' Elliott Stewart (center) is mauled by his teammates after his base hit scored the winning run in the bottom of the eleventh inning against the Kitsap BlueJackets. The Sweets won by 4-3.

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An ecstatic Walla Walla Sweets fan clamors back to his seat after coming up with a foul ball during the Sweets' game against the Kitsap BlueJackets Wednesday night.

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Sweets' shortstop Kevin Kuntz zones in on a bouncing grounder during the Sweets' game against the Kitsap BlueJackets.

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Sweets' Kevin Kuntz (left) comes up with a lunging grab between teammates Adrian Williams (center) and Scott Gottschling (right) during the top of the sixth inning.

WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla and Kitsap went to extra innings for the third time this season in West Coast League baseball action here Wednesday.

The BlueJackets won the first two extra-inning battles, but Wednesday belonged to the Sweets and Elliot Stewart.

Stewart ripped a walk-off bases loaded single with two outs in the bottom of the 11th to give the Sweets a 4-3 win and their first win over Kitsap in five meetings.

"We hung in there," Sweets manager J.C. Biagi said. "We hit the ball pretty well all night (12 hits), stringing a few together was the difficulty. In these type of games, you play deep into the night and you'll take it however you get it. That was a good win."

After Dan Zylstra was hit by a pitch to open the BlueJacket third, Paul Eshleman collected the BlueJackets first hit off Sweets starter Ryan Richardson. Eshleman hit a rocket the bounced off a tree trunk behind the left field fence and the BlueJackets grabbed a 2-0 lead.

A Zack Gagnon lead off fourth-inning double led to a sac fly to deep center by Bobby Tannehill as the BlueJackets scored their third and last run.

Richardson gave up three hits in the seventh, but fanned the last two BlueJacket hitters to end the threat.

Richardson worked eight innings, did not allow a run after the fourth, gave up six hits and struck out six and left in a 3-3 tie.

"Ryan (Richardson) got things going," Biagi said. "If it wasn't for a couple of two-strike hits (Eshleman's homer and Gagnon's double), he threw scoreless."

The Sweets answered the BlueJacket third as Christian Ramirez's double, his second of three hits on the night, scored Adrian Williams, who singled to start the Sweets third.

One out later, Dennis Holt crushed his second home run of the year well over the right field fence for a 3-2 lead, but the BlueJackets got even in the fourth.

Despite getting at least one hit in each inning except the sixth, the Sweets got no more off BlueJacket pitcher David Macey.

"After that one inning (the three-run third), I thought we were going to get into that guy (Macey)," Biagi said. "He started using his off speed stuff and threw strikes all night."

Jordan McLaughlin, in only his third appearance since coming back from an elbow problem, took over for Richardson to start the ninth.

McLaughlin gave up only a bunt single, and he slipped making the play on the wet grass from an earlier storm over Borleske. McLaughlin worked three scoreless innings and retired nine of the 10 hitters he faced in earning his first win.

"I extended myself a little bit (in going three innings), but I felt pretty good," McLaughlin said. "The fastball in and out and change up when I needed it (worked tonight)."

The Sweets went in order in the ninth and tenth. Scott Gottschling led off the 11th by getting brushed by a Donovan Gonzales pitch. Gonzales was the first of three BlueJacket pitchers used in the inning.

Danny Poplawski bunted Gottschling into scoring position.

"We kind of do it as needed," Biagi said of employing the sac bunt. "I don't consider us a small-ball team, but there are situations that dictate that, and you try to take advantage."

Denver Chavez pinch hit and was intentionally walked, and Kevin Kuntz worked a walk to load the bases for the Sweets. Ramirez hit a grounder to shortstop Tannehill, who forced Gottschling at the plate for the second out.

Stewart, whose seventh inning single off the third baseman's glove extended his hit streak to 11 games, was one for five with a strike out in his previous at bat as he stepped in, and quickly found himself down 1-2 to Matt Kohorst.

"I got the home-town hit ground ball," Stewart said of his streak-extending single. "Overall, it was just a bad day for me in the box. I wasn't picking anything up.

"I was on the verge of committing suicide after my last at-bat (the strikeout in the ninth)," Stewart said jokingly. "I'm glad it (the 11th) kind of picked up my day. But the guy that came in (Kohorst) was working me away and I couldn't pick him up.

"He got ahead with a fastball and floated a curve that buckled me," Stewart continued. "Then he threw the fastball by me, and I thought he would come back with another curve. He hung it and gave me all the time in the world to recognize it and I put a good swing on it."

The hit scored Chavez and the Sweets improved to 15-22 and evened the Kitsap series at 1-1 after losing 7-4 Tuesday.

"It (the 4-3 win) shows that we are a tough team," McLaughlin said. "We can play in the rain, we can play in extras, and even after our loss last night, we can bounce back and get a win."

The Sweets and BlueJackets play for the series at 1:05 p.m. today.

Walla Walla 4, Kitsap 3

Kitsap 002 100 000 00 - 3 7 0

Walla Walla 003 000 000 01 - 4 12 0

Macey, Gonzales (9), Outram (11), Kohorst (11) and Eshleman; Richardson, McLaughlin (9) and Stewart.

HR - Kit: Eshleman; WW: Holt.

Hits - Kit: Eshleman, Gagnon 2, Mistone, Tannehill, Zylstra, Baskett; WW: Ramirez 3, Gottschling, Holt 2, Comer 2, Williams, Poplawski, Stewart 2.

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