The Sweets deliver a great season and a lot of fun

The West Coast League team, which started the season in the cellar, played for the championship.


It was an amazing season.

The Walla Walla Sweets, a team lingering in the cellar early in the year, caught fire in the last few weeks of the regular season to earn a spot in the playoffs.

And then the Sweets swept the defending West Coast League champion Wentachee AppleSox to move into the championship series against the Corvallis Knights.

The first game of the championship series, played Tuesday night at Borleske Stadium, drew a record crowd of 2,380. The stadium buzzed as Walla Wallans were happy to be there to cheer on the Sweets. It was more than a ball game, it was a community festival.

The food vendors were working at warp speed to serve the lines of customers. Andrae's Kitchen sold out of french fries by the seventh inning and Onion World ran out of buns for its popular Sweet Onion sausages. The place was hopping.

Unfortunately, the Sweets didn't have the best night on the field or at the plate, losing to the Knights 14-3.

Thursday night in Corvallis at Oregon State University's Goss Stadium wasn't much better. After taking an early 2-0 lead, the Knights got hot. The Knights won the game 11-4 to capture the WCL crown. The Sweets were defeated by a very good team. Congratulations to Corvallis.

But that doesn't take anything away from what the Sweets accomplished. The players and the coaching staff -- Manager J.C. Biagi and assistant coaches Dave Meliah and Cesar Lopez, all former DeSales High School and Walla Walla Community College players (outstanding players, by the way) -- turned the season around.

The team went from worst in the division to a playoff contender with a magical run the last two weeks of the season.

The team's administrative staff, led by General Manager Zachary Fraser, was impressive as well.

The folks running the team did an excellent job of keeping fans entertained. They created a fun atmosphere at the ball park. Everything from Sweet Onion bobbing to little kids running bases to the sound effects used to highlight the action made every night at Borleske -- win or lose -- a whole lotta fun.

"Oh my gosh. That (fan support) was amazing," said Andrew Mendenhall, an outfielder from the University of Oregon and Kennewick's Southridge High School. "Coming out and having the fans have your back every night, they were awesome."

Yes, the fans were awesome -- night after night. And they were rewarded by league officials as the 2012 All-Star Game will be July 24 at Borleske.

This is only the Sweets' second season but the team has already become an important part of the community.


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