LONGVIEW, Wash. - Staked to a 5-0 lead after four innings, Brett Watson did the rest, throwing a complete game to lead the Walla Walla Sweets to a 5-1 victory over the Cowlitz Black Bears on Saturday at Story Field.
Walla Walla got Watson two quick runs in the first and the left-hander made them stand up. He walked the leadoff batter, but after a fielder's choice, picked off the runner at first before getting a ground out to end the inning.
Watson went on to face the minimum over the first four innings thanks to a gorgeous 6-3 double play by Alex Stanford in the second and back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth.
He hit his only rough water in the fifth as Billy Flamion's two-out double to right-center scored the Black Bears' run, but by that point it was already 5-0 Sweets. He finished the inning with a strikeout and allowed just three hits the rest of the way to pick up his third win.
After a night in which they collected just three hits, all from the same player, and were shut out in a 1-0 loss to Cowlitz, the Sweets brought a much different mentality to the plate against Black Bears starter Kevin Bosson. Struggling to hit with two outs for much of the season, Walla Walla did all its damage with two-men down Saturday.
In the first with the bases clear and two outs, Andrew Mendenhall's ground ball to third was bobbled for an error, Zach Wentz walked and Austin Heaps lined a run-scoring single into right field to give the Sweets the lead.
Two pitches later, Wentz crossed home as Bosson's breaking ball scooted to the backstop.
Bosson settled after that, allowing just a single hit over the next two innings and had two outs in the fourth thanks to a double play turn by his middle infield.
That's when things unraveled.
Brenton Allen drew a four-pitch walk, Scott Gottschling picked up an infield single and Stanford made it 3-0 with a single into left field. A walk to Denver Chavez loaded the bases and Mendenhall, down 0-2 in the count, ripped a two-run double down the left-field line to make it 5-0.
Walla Walla's victory pushed the Sweets three games ahead of Bellingham, an 8-3 loser to Wenatchee, in the East Division standings. Game three of the series is at 5:05 p.m. today. The Sweets then return home to finish the regular season with three games against the Wenatchee Applesox.
Sweets 5, Black Bears 1
Walla Walla 200 300 000 - 5 5 0
Cowlitz 000 010 000 - 1 6 2
Watson and Stewart. Bosson, Watts (5) and Miller.
HR - none.
Hits - WW: Stanford, Mendenhall 2, Heaps, Gottschling. Cow: Velazquez 3, Schwartz, Flamion, Walding.