Sweets' first grand slam upends Kitsap

Elliot Stewart hits the franchise's first grand slam in the 11-8 victory Thursday.

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Sweets teammates Danny Poplawski (left), Adrian Williams (right, No. 13) and Denver Chavez (far right) congratulate teammate Elliott Stewart (No. 2) as Stewart crosses home plate after hitting the first grand slam in Walla Walla Sweets franchise history against the Kitsap BlueJackets during the Sweets' seven-run sixth inning Thursday afternoon.

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Sweets' center fielder Scott Gottschling ranges to his left to haul in a deep fly ball during the team's Thursday game with the Kitsap BlueJackets.

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Sweets' Scott Gottschling (right) slides safely into third base as Kitsap BlueJackets third baseman Andrew Mistone (left) lunges to his right to try and come up with a long errant throw during the sixth inning. Moments later, teammate Elliott Stewart drove Gottschling in with the Sweets' first grand slam.

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Walla Walla Sweets base runner Christian Ramirez (18) slides safely into first base beyond the tag of BlueJackets' first baseman Zack Gagnon (19) during the third inning.

WALLA WALLA - After driving in the game-winning run with an 11th-inning single Wednesday night, what could Walla Walla catcher Elliot Stewart do for an encore?

He answered the question emphatically Thursday afternoon in the rubber game of the Sweets' three-game West Coast League baseball series with the Kitsap BlueJackets at Borleske Stadium.

Stewart blasted a grand slam home run that highlighted a seven-run sixth inning as Walla Walla rallied from 2-0 and 4-3 deficits to post an 11-8 triumph.

The Sweets improved their record to 16-22 and have won seven of their last eight league games.

Kitsap catcher Chase Anselment, the team's leading hitter, knocked in the first run of the game with a double in the opening inning against Walla Walla starting pitcher and winner Jacob Overbay.

The BlueJackets added another tally in the frame with an infield out.

Kitsap starter Alex Anderson kept the two-run edge intact until the fifth inning when he allowed three runs on four hits. Stewart brought in the first Walla Walla run with a sacrifice fly to center field and Dennis Holt mashed a two-RBI double into the left-center gap.

Prior to the fifth, the Sweets managed just three hits off Anderson.

The BlueJackets used the first of three Walla Walla errors in the game to reclaim the lead in the sixth inning. Cody Brooks put Kitsap in front, 4-3, with a two-bagger that plated a pair of runs.

In the Sweets' sixth, Denver Chavez garnered the first run batted in with a one-out, bases-loaded walk.

One out later, Stewart drove a delivery from Kitsap reliever Donovan Gonzales over the left-field fence. The long fly was a team-best third for Stewart and raised his Sweets-leading RBI total to 21.

"Overall, it was a rough day besides that one swing," Stewart said. "The hit Wednesday and swing (Thursday) picked me up, which was nice."

"Elliot's my guy," Overbay said. "I have faith in him. You can always count on him in a clutch situation. That's the guy you want up."

Scott Gottschling capped the rally with a two-run single to center that gave the home team a seemingly insurmountable 10-4 advantage.

The BlueJackets benefited from more sour Sweets' defense in the seventh. Kitsap scored four times on as many hits and were aided by two Walla Walla miscues that helped it close the gap to two, 10-8.

The Sweets scored their final run in the eighth on a BlueJackets' blunder. Holt led off with a walk, and stole both second and third base.

On the latter theft, Holt charged home when Anselment's throw to the hot corner ended up in left field.

"It was interesting," Walla Walla manager J.C. Biagi said. "We were a little flat early, but got into it in the fifth. Elliot's slam gave us some separation."

Overbay struck out four and walked three over six innings while squaring his record at 2-2.

"I felt pretty good," Overbay said. "I was pretty exhausted. The defense was behind me for the most part. Our guys put up some numbers, which was great."

"After the first inning, he put up four zeroes and pitched effectively," Biagi said of Overbay's performance.

A.J. Burke earned his second save by pitching shut-out ball on one hit over the final two innings.

"A.J. has been nails out of the pen," Stewart said. "He comes in throwing hard and throwing strikes. He's a good guy to have come out of the pen and slam the door."

Walla Walla opens a three-game series with Bellingham tonight at 7:05 at Borleske Stadium, ending with their final home game of the season on Monday.

"Bellingham is a good team," Biagi said. "They are a pitching and defense type of team. We'll have to play very well to do what we need to do."

Kitsap 200 002 400 - 8 12 1

Walla Walla 000 037 01x - 11 12 3

Anderson, Helvey (6), Gonzales (6), Climber (6), Harvey (8) and Anselment; Overbay, Biagi (7), Burke (8) and Stewart.

HR - Walla Walla: Stewart.

Hits - Kitsap: Brooks 3, Anselment 2, Gagnon 2, Tannehill 2, Baskett, Zylstra, Mistone; Walla Walla: Ramirez 4, Gottschling 2, Poplawski, Williams, Chavez, Holt, Stewart, Matthews.

WCL Standings

East Division

W L PCT GB

Wenatchee 24 15 0.615 -

Kelowna 20 25 0.444 7

Moses Lake 17 22 0.436 7

Walla Walla 16 22 0.421 7.5

W L PCT GB

Corvallis 26 15 0.634 -

Bend 26 16 0.619 .5

Kitsap 22 18 0.550 3.5

Bellingham 21 22 0.488 6

Cowlitz 11 28 0.282 14

Thursday's Games

Walla Walla 11, Kitsap 8

Cowlitz 7, Wenatchee 1

Corvallis 6, Kelowna 0

Bellingham 4, Moses Lake 3

Today's Games

Bellingham at Walla Walla, 7:05 p.m.

Cowlitz at Bend, 6:35 p.m.

Corvallis at Wenatchee, 7:05 p.m.

Moses Lake at Kitsap, 7:05 p.m.

Saturday's Games

Bellingham at Walla Walla, 6:05 p.m.

Cowlitz at Bend, 6:35 p.m.

Corvallis at Wenatchee, 7:05 p.m.

Moses Lake at Kitsap, 7:05 p.m.

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