WENATCHEE - The Walla Walla Sweets know what it feels like to be the team that gives up a one-run lead in the ninth. Now they know what it feels like to be the team that takes it.
Walla Walla scored two runs in the top of the ninth to erase a 4-3 deficit and Simon Anderson induced a game-ending double play to close out the 5-4 victory over the Wenatchee Applesox at Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium.
Although the Sweets took the lead in the ninth, the rally started in the eighth.
Trailing 4-2, Elliot Stewart crushed a hanging breaking ball over the fence in left for a solo home run, his fourth of the summer, cutting the lead to one.
Walla Walla eventually put two more runners on in the inning but squandered a chance as Brenton Allen lined to short with both runners going on a hit-and-run.
The Sweets continued their rally in the ninth as Andrew Mendenhall worked a leadoff walk. Alex Stanford followed and his bunt down the first base line was fielded by reliever Ben Ruff, but Andrew Daniel was late covering first and Ruff's throw went off his glove and rolled into shallow right allowing both runners to advance.
Zach Wentz next fell behind 1-2 but stayed in on a slider and wore it off the shoulder to load the bases with no outs. Wenatchee then went to the bullpen and brought in Treasure Valley Community College's Zack Fabricious.
Facing Chance Kopacz, Fabricious got ahead 0-2 but Kopacz, of Walla Walla Community College, won the battle of the NWAACCs by drilling the next pitch to the wall in right, scoring Mendenhall from third with a sac fly and tying the game at 4-4.
Stanford moved to third on the play and it paid off, as Stewart sent a fly to right that scored him with the go-ahead run.
It was up to Anderson after that.
The tall righty threw a 1-2-3 eighth and got the first out of the ninth on a fly to left. He allowed a single to Payden Cawley-Lamb, his fourth hit, but quickly got ahead of Brock Gates 1-2.
Anderson placed the next pitch on the outside corner and Gates grounded it to second and Stanford started a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
The 5-4 lead was the one and only lead for the Sweets on the night. Wenatchee scored in their first at-bats as Gates scored Erik Munzer from third with a fly to center. They pushed the lead to 2-0 in the fourth on a sac fly by Pat Valaika.
Walla Walla tightened it up in the fifth. Allen laced a leadoff single into right, Mendenhall walked and Stanford's sac bunt down the third base line turned into a bunt single and loaded the bases with no outs against Applesox starter Mike Murray. Murray bounced back with a strikeout for the first out but left a 2-2 pitch up to Kopacz and he smashed it to dead center, scoring two and tying the game. Garrett Tygerson was summoned from the bullpen and ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
On a high, Walla Walla quickly gave away the tie. After a line drive by Breland Almadova turned into a double play, the Sweets gave Wenatchee a baserunner with an infield error. Cawley-Lamb and Gates followed with singles, Gates' giving Wenatchee the 3-2 lead.
It looked as if they were going to blow it open in the sixth, loading the bases with no outs against Sweets reliever Eric Yardley. The right-hander showed his toughness again, bearing down and getting Conner George to hit a ground ball.
The Sweets had the infield in and Kevin Williams fielded the grounder at short and threw home to start a 6-2-3 double play. Yardley got a ground out to second to end the inning and get out of the jam. The Applesox were not stymied in the seventh, pushing across a fourth run on Valaika's second sac fly.
Walla Walla had other options and became the third team to win a game when trailing after eight innings.
Anderson earned the win with two scoreless innings and has now thrown five scoreless innings over his last three outings. Kyle Anderson started for the Sweets and went five innings, allowing three runs on eight hits. Stewart led the offense with three hits and fell a triple shy of the cycle.
Mendenhall reached base four times and scored two runs and Stanford also had two hits. Munzer scored three runs for the Applesox and Ryan Barnes added two hits. Murray went 4 1/3 and allowed two runs on eight hits and Ruff took the loss, allowing two runs without allowing a hit.
The Sweets continue their nine-game road trip tomorrow when they travel to Bellingham. Walla Walla trails the Bells by 2.5 games for second place in the East Division. Doug Christie will make his first start of the summer for the Sweets.
Sweets 5, AppleSox 4
Sweets 000 020 012 - 5 11 1
AppleSox 100 110 100 - 4 11 3
Anderson, Yardley (5), Billen (7), Anderson (8) and Stewart; Murray, Tygerson (4), Ruff (9) and DeGuire.
HR - Sweets: Stewart.
Hits- Sweets: Mendenhall 2, Stanford 2, Kopacz, Stewart 3, Kallunki, Gottschling, Allen. AppleSox: Almadova, Munzer 2, Cawley Lamb 4, Gates 2, Barnes 2.