WALLA WALLA - Wenatchee mixed 11 hits off five Walla Walla pitchers - around nine walks, a hit batsman, and four Sweets errors - to take the rubber match of the three-game opening West Coast League series with a 9-3 win here in Thursday afternoon baseball.
"It's not nine to three, it's a closer game," Sweets manager J.C. Biagi said. "The errors really cost us. If it's a little bit closer, you feel like you've got a chance."
Jesus Martinez' first-inning triple and a James Stanfield RBI groundout gave the Sweets a 1-0 lead.
Doubles by Michael McIver and Trent Bridges, a walk, and a Walla Walla error led to three AppleSox runs in the second, and Wenatchee had the lead for good.
Zach Fabricius led off the AppleSox fourth with a walk, and three hits and an error later, the Wenatchee lead had swollen to 6-1.
Kevin Kuntz and Jordan Dreiling led off the Sweets fifth with walks. Martinez followed with a single to load the bases with no outs. Stanfield drove in one with a single to chase AppleSox starting pitcher Derek Allen. Corey Brundridge came on in relief and gave up a run as Karsten Strieby picked up Dreiling with a sacrifice fly to center, but pitched out of the jam with no further damage done. The Sweets crept back into the game, down 6-3 after five innings.
A three-run AppleSox seventh sealed the victory. Billy Moon had an RBI single as Wenatchee took advantage of two walks, a hit batsman, and an error to push the lead to 9-3.
Brundridge, a Columbia Basin College lefty, held the Sweets to three hits the rest of the way. Dreiling singled with one out in the Walla Walla seventh, but was cut down in an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. Marshall Yanzick had a two-out single in the eighth, but died at first. Andy Matthews singled to lead off the Sweets ninth, and one out later was erased by a 6-4-3 game-ending double play.
Offensively, Walla Walla picked up 11 hits, but only two went for extra bases - Martinez's triple and Stanfield's third-inning double. Yanzick led the way with three hits, Martinez and Stanfield added two each, but the Sweets never got the timely hit, nor could they string hits together.
"We hit a little bit," Biagi said. "In terms of the type of hitting you want - getting guys in scoring position and then really start driving the baseball - we didn't do that real well today."
The fielding woes of the two-week old team continued as Thursday's four errors gave the Sweets a total of 11 for the opening three-game WCL series.
"It (better defense) will come through repetition," Biagi said. "Working on mechanics and footwork, getting the glove to the ground, and moving through throws. We have an athletic squad that is willing to work. With that (hard work) and some repetition, we'll be much better defensively."
The Sweets, as all WCL teams are at this point, remain in transition. Several more players are scheduled to arrive over the next few days.
"We'll have guys start to come in," Biagi said. "That is the nature of the league. Those guys (the AppleSox) are in the same boat. For the number they had, they played well.
"As we start to form what's going to be our team, we'll have a better feel," he added. "We'll certainly have more options. Until then, the guys out on the field just have to execute. They are certainly capable."
The Sweets take their first WCL road trip with a bus ride to Kelowna, British Columbia, today. They open a three-game series with the Falcons tonight at 7:05.
Wenatchee 030 300 300 - 9 11 0
Walla Walla 100 020 000 - 3 11 4
Allen, Brundridge (5) and Forbes; Dupart, Pentacost (4), Kerns (5), Richardson (7), Clanton (9) and Stanfield.
HR - none.
Hits - Wen: Bridges 2, Forbes 3, McIver, Williams 2, Eslick, Moon 2; WW: Martinez 2, Strieby, Yanzick 3, Stanfield 2, Hart, Dreiling, Matthews.