WALLA WALLA - It is becoming clear that Walla Walla Sweets right fielder Chance Kopacz thrives when hitting in clutch situations.
In the ninth inning on Monday, he scored Zach Wentz from second with a walk-off double to the wall in left, lifting the Walla Walla Sweets to a 2-1 victory and season-series sweep of the Kitsap BlueJackets at Borleske Stadium.
Wentz started the inning for the Sweets with a sharp single to center and moved to second when Kevin Williams was hit by a pitch. That brought Kopacz to the plate and, after swinging through a first-pitch fastball, he drilled a curveball over the head of the left fielder and was mobbed between second and third as Wentz scored the winning run.
The walk-off victory was the second of the summer for the Sweets.
Up to the ninth, it had been a pitcher's duel between Walla Walla's Trent Allianic and Kitsap's Blake Golding. Each were making their second start against their opponent and they left the night even.
Allianic worked out of several jams and went eight innings for the third straight start. He got a ground out to leave two on in the first, and gave up back-to-back singles to start the second, but worked out of it.
Golding also had a rough start. He lasted just five innings against the Sweets last week, and it appeared he was in for the same kind of night Monday.
A leadoff double from Alex Stanford started the Sweets in the first, but they could not produce a run.
Walla Walla started the second with three consecutive singles. Kopacz started the inning with a single to left-center, Austin Heaps' single through the right-side moved him to third and Hawk scored Kopacz with a single through the left side.
After that it was all Golding. He allowed a two-out double in the third, but then set down the next 16 Sweets in order. Over that span, only three balls reached the outfield.
Kitsap's closer Matt Cartwright came on in the ninth and made it 17 straight before the Sweets rallied for the victory.
Kitsap made their pitchers' work worthwhile with a run in the fifth. Cole Norton, who entered the game 10-for-20 against the Sweets this summer, ripped a one-out triple to right-center and scored the tying run as Chris Murphy ripped a single inside the bag at first.
Walla Walla reliever Jimmy Litchfield came on to pitch the ninth and worked around a leadoff walk to keep the game tied and then picked up the win thanks to Kopacz's heroics. The Sweets continue their eight-game homestand today when they start a two-game non-league series with the Portland Lobos at 7:05 p.m. at Borleske Stadium.
Sweets 2, BlueJackets 1
Kitsap 000 010 000 - 1 8 0
Walla Walla 010 000 001 - 2 7 0
Golding, Cartwright (9) and Brann, Lonsdale (7). Allianic, Litchfield (9) and Hawk.
HR - none.
Hits - Kit: Norton, Murphy 2, Biancardi, Fulkerson 2, Forgatch, Potter. WW: Stanford, Wentz 2, Kopacz 2, Heaps, Hawk.
Attend - NA.