BREMERTON - It took half the season, but the Walla Walla Sweets finally have their first winning streak of the summer.
Trent Allianic gave up a run on six hits over eight innings and Scott Gottschling broke a 1-1 tie with two-run home run in the fifth to lead the Sweets to a 4-1 win over the Kitsap BlueJackets on Saturday at Kitsap.
Stuck with the task of trying to match his predecessors, Allianic got off to a bumpy start. He allowed back-to-back singles to start the game and the BlueJackets grabbed a 1-0 lead on a fielder's choice ground out. The righty settled down after that and allowed just four hits over the next seven innings.
Walla Walla got the run right back for Allianic in the second. James Campbell singled to left with one out and Kevin Williams stroked the first pitch he saw to the wall in left-center, scoring Campbell from first and tying the game at 1-1.
They put two more on in the third but could not score and were set down in order in the fourth before breaking the tie in the fifth.
Kevin Hawk started the fifth with a single through the right side, moved to second on a sac bunt from Denver Chavez and was still standing there as Gottschling came to the plate - he didn't stay there much longer.
Kitsap starter Rich Mascheri hung a 1-0 changeup and Gottschling crushed it over the left field wall for his second home run of the summer to make it 3-1 - more than enough for Allianic.
Helped by a diving catch in left-center by Gottschling in the second, Allianic settled down after that as his changeup started to work. He struck out two in the third, got a 1-2-3 fourth, struck out two more in the fifth and Andrew Mendenhall turned a lineout to center into a double play to end the sixth.
The right-hander used his sharp breaking ball and the deceptive changeup to lure the BlueJacket batters to swing at pitches low in the zone and in the dirt. He capped his night with a 1-2-3 eighth, giving each infielder a ground ball.
Hitless in his first three at-bats, Mendenhall started the eighth with a sharp single to center, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. He stole second and scored as Gottschling dropped a single just inside the right field line. It was the second time in as many nights that the Sweets were able to obtain an insurance run in the eighth.
Simon Anderson got the call in the ninth and the big right-hander came out throwing smoke. He struck out the first two batters of the inning with a good, hard fastball and got the final out on a line drive to center.
Over his last four appearances, Anderson has thrown six shutout innings while allowing three hits, striking out six and walking just one. The win is the third straight for the Sweets and gives them their first series victory since taking two of three from Klamath Falls in mid-June.
Gottschling led the way with three hits and five other Sweets collected single hits. Allianic earned his second win and Anderson his first save.Walla Walla will look to sweep the series at 5:05 p.m. tonight. Poulsbo, Wash., native Daniel Jewett will get the start for the Sweets.
Sweets 4, BlueJackets 1
Sweets 010 020 010 - 4 8 0
BlueJackets 100 000 000 - 1 6 0
Allianic, Anderson (9) and Hawk; Mascheri, Reilly (8), Glidewell (8), Lanza (9) and Brann.
HR - Sweets: Gottschling.
Hits - Sweets: Mendenhall, Gottschling 3, Campbell, Williams, Allen, Hawk. BlueJackets: Norton, Cook, O'Such, Murphy, Witt, Potter.
Friday's Game: Walla Walla 5, Kitsap 1
BREMERTON - For the second straight night on Friday, the Walla Walla Sweets got eight scoreless innings from their starter.
This time, the Sweets picked up 15 hits in a 5-1 victory over the Kitsap BlueJackets, winning consecutive West Coast League games for the first time this summer.
Staked to a 1-0 lead in the first, Tim Culligan made it appear that he was given an eight-run lead. The right-hander was dominant throughout, sitting down the first six batters and never looking back.
Offensively, the Sweets came out swinging for Culligan. Andrew Mendenhall didn't waste any time extending his hitting streak to 11 as he doubled down the third base line with one out in the first and then moved to third on a ground out. Two batters later, Austin Heaps fell behind early in the count but battled back and got a pitch that he turned on and knocked into right field, scoring Mendenhall and giving the Sweets a 1-0 lead.
Walla Walla put two more on in the second against Kitsap starter Blake Golding but could not score and went down 1-2-3 in the third.
Still clinging to a 1-0 lead in the fourth, Williams started things by ripping a double over the right fielder's head. Three pitches later James Campbell sat on a curve ball and smoked it into the left-center gap, scoring Williams from second.
The Sweets put the game away in the eighth on the strength of four hits. Heaps started things with an opposite field single, his third hit of the night and Zach Wentz followed with a single to left. An error on a Williams ground ball loaded the bases and Kalani Brackenridge knocked the first pitch he saw into left field for a two-run single.
Walla Walla 5, Kitsap 1.
Walla Walla 100 110 020 - 5 15 1
Kitsap 000 000 001 - 1 6 1
Culligan and Billen; Golding, Lee and Reilly.
HR - none.
Hits - Walla Walla: Mendenhall 3, Kopacz, Stewart, Heaps 3, Wentz 4, Williams, Campell, Brackenridge; Kitsap: Norton, Murphy, Brann, Biancardi, Cook, Busby.