WENATCHEE - The Wenatchee Applesox erased a 1-0 deficit with a single run in the ninth and Pat Valaika ended the game with a bases-loaded walk-off single down the right field line in the bottom of the 13th, pushing the Applesox past the Walla Walla Sweets 2-1 Sunday night at Paul Thomas Senior Stadium.
Sweets starter Aaron Hoverson was brilliant for the first eight innings, allowing just two hits, but the Walla Walla called on Ryan Richardson to close the door on the ninth.
The Applesox jumped at the opportunity. Hitless in three at-bats, Breland Almadova knocked an 0-2 pitch off the wall in right-center for a leadoff triple, extending his hitting streak to 19 games. Payden Cawley-Lamb followed by ripping a 0-2 single up the middle to tie the game.
The bullpens did their job until the 13th. Tim Culligan, starting his third inning of relief, walked Eric Filia-Snyder to start the bottom of the 13th.
Cawley-Lamb's fourth hit of the night put runners on first and second and Brock Gates walked with two outs to load the bases. Valaika then got a pitch out over the plate and dropped it inside the line in right before being mobbed by his teammates at second base.
It was another tough loss for the Sweets and an even tougher no decision for Hoverson. The right-hander was utterly brilliant on the night, giving up a one-out single in the first to Cawley-Lamb and preventing another hit until the seventh.
He sat down 12 straight into the fifth before walking the second batter of the inning. The very next batter, however, flew out to right and Chance Kopacz doubled the runner off of second to end the inning. Hoverson left the tying run on second in the seventh and capped his night with a 1-2-3 eighth.
Wenatchee starter Alex Phillips nearly matched him pitch-for-pitch. After setting down the first six Sweets in order, Phillips allowed a Kalani Brackenridge double and Kevin Williams single to start the third.
Williams was retired on a rundown between first and second and Brackenridge scored on a sac fly to center before Phillips took over. The lefty had a 1-2-3 fourth, allowed a one-out single in the fifth and then did not allow another baserunner over the course of his outing. He struck out eight over eight innings and gave up just three hits.
Walla Walla had their best chance to score the go-ahead run in the 11th and 12th innings.
In the 11th, Williams dragged a bunt in between first and second for a single and Mendenhall matched him with a bunt single down the third base line with two outs.
Reliever Keeler Brynteson got out of the jam with a ground ball to third and then worked out of another jam in the 12th.
Zach Wentz and Austin Heaps had singled with two outs and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch before Brynteson ended the inning with a strikeout.
The Sweets and Applesox will play game two of their separated three-game series at 6:05 tonight.
AppleSox 2, Sweets 1
WW 001 000 000 000 0 - 1 7 0
Wen 000 000 001 000 1 - 2 10 2
Hoverson, Richardson (9), Culligan (11) and Stewart; Philips, Ruff (9), Brynteson (10), Fabricious (13) and Forbes.
Hits - Walla Walla: Mendenhall, Wentz 2, Heaps, Brackenridge, Williams 2. Wenatchee: Almadova, Crawley Lamb 4, Nelubowich, Valaika, Barnes, George, Forbes.