COWLITZ, Wash. - Done in by a six-run second on Friday night, the Walla Walla Sweets put together their own big inning on Saturday, scoring four runs in the second and the game's final five runs to even their three-game series with the Cowlitz Black Bears at one-each on Saturday night at Story Field.
Motivated by a 1-2-3 first from starter Tim Culligan, the Sweets' (3-2) hitters came to bat in the second ready to swing the sticks.
Goose Kallunki started things immediately with a leadoff double inside the third base bag, but was still standing two outs later. Then, ahead in the count 2-0, James Campbell drilled an RBI double off the left-center field wall to give the Sweets a 1-0 lead.
The very next batter was Campbell's Pomona-Pitzer teammate Nick Gentili, a lefty who was hitless in his first 17 at-bats of the summer. Behind 1-2, Gentili stroked the next pitch, a breaking ball down and in, over the right field fence for a two-run home run and his first hit of the summer.
Scoreless so far, Alex Stanford started things right back up with a sharp single to right and later scored on Chance Kopacz's RBI single to right. In all, eight men batted in the inning, five had hits and the Sweets had a 4-0 lead.
Culligan made that stand up. Getting the start at his former home ballpark - Culligan pitched two years at Story Field while at Lower Columbia - the right-hander gave the Sweets six solid innings.
The quick first was followed by a second inning in which he dropped a pop up but still recorded an out on the play. He struck the next batter out looking and Kevin Hawk completed the strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play with a perfect throw to second.
Hawk was involved in the ending of the third inning as well. Batting with a runner on second and two outs, Derek Atkinson dragged a bunt in between the pitchers mound and first that Culligan bobbled on the dive. Runner Mitchell Walding saw the bobble and Hawk vacating home plate. Hawk realized this and raced to home, received the throw from Austin Heaps and collided with Walding as he slide in head first, holding onto the ball and ending the frame.
Cowlitz (1-4) finally got to Culligan in the fourth thanks to singles from Billy Flamion and Spencer O'Neil, both who were drafted out of high school earlier this week.
A wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position and Kirk Cunningham's ground out scored the first Black Bear run. Cowlitz got a 1-2-3 fifth from Ryan Yuengel and then went right back to work. Brent Graham singled with one out, stole second and then scored on a two-out single by Atkinson.
The speedy leadoff batter stole second himself and scored on a strange play that saw Flamion's ground ball up the middle bounce off Culligan's glove, away from a diving Wentz and into shallow right. Playing right, Kopacz quickly got to the ball and threw behind Flamion, who had taken a ig turn at first for the final out, just moments after Atkinson crossed the plate for the third run.
Walla Walla answered in its next at-bat, thanks to Heaps. Jumping on a pitch at his letters, Heaps drilled a leadoff double to right-center, alertly moved to third on a ground out to short and scored on Wentz's ground ball to short.
After Culligan tossed a scoreless sixth, the Sweets put the game away in the seventh.
Walla Walla scored four runs on three hits and one Cowlitz error, sending 10 men to the plate. Stanford picked his second hit of the night with one out, Brenton Allen was hit by a pitch and Kopacz's ground ball to third was thrown away at second, allowing Stanford to score the first run. Heaps followed with a walk and Kallunki and Wentz followed that with back-to-back infield singles, Wentz's a sharp one-hopper that careened off shortstop and into center. Campbell picked up his second RBI of the night with a bases loaded walk to complete the scoring for the Sweets.
Entering with a six-run lead, lefty pitcher Brett Watson had some wiggle room. He quickly made things interesting, allowing the first three batters to reach on a single and two walks.
Bearing down, Watson used a mix of sliders and fastballs to strike out the next two batters looking and then got out of the inning with a flyout to center.
He put himself right back into trouble in the eighth, with the first two batters reaching. Stanford then turned a ground ball to short into a 6-3 double play but Watson followed that with two straight walks to load the bases.
The Sweets called on Ryan Richardson and the righty did his job, inducing a ground out to third to end the eighth and pitching a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the win.
The teams finish their three-game series on tonight at Story Field with first pitch scheduled for 5:05 p.m. Simon Anderson, from North Dakota St., will make his first start of the summer for the Sweets and he'll face Clayton Porter from the University of Oregon.
Sweets hand Cowlitz a
7-1 win on 10 walks Friday
COWLITZ, Wash - A night like Friday is unpredictable in the game of baseball. Playing their first road game of the season, the Walla Walla Sweets handed the Cowlitz Black Bears a victory in the form of 10 walks and three errors.
Cowlitz turned this into seven runs in the first two innings and didn't need to score again in a 7-1 victory here at Story Field.
In the home first, Derek Atkinson's infield ground ball was thrown away allowing him to reach second to start the game for the Black Bears. With Atkinson on third, an errant pickoff throw to first scored him with the first run of the game.
Sweets starter Sean Santschi loaded the bases with two walks but got out of further damage by inducing a ground out. He wouldn't escape it in the second.
The right-hander walked the first two batters of the second but a ground out and a strikeout had him an out away from a scoreless inning. He walked the next two batters, forcing in a run and ending his night after 1 2/3 innings and seven walks. Daniel Jewett came on in relief and was greeted by a two-run single by Southridge High graduate and University of Oregon-bound Spencer O'Neil. Billy Flamion followed with a two-run single and the Sweets were down 6-0. An RBI single from Cody Webster plated the last Cowlitz run, but the 7-0 lead was more than enough in the loss.
Black Bear starting pitcher Ian Ekery gave up one unearned run over six innings. The lefty finished his night with five strikeouts and only one walk.
Cowlitz 7, Walla Walla 1
Walla Walla 000 001 000 - 1 4 3
Cowlitz 160 000 00x - 7 7 2
Santschi, Jewett (2), Peterson (7) and Hawk; Ekery, Sandoval (7), Berry (9) and Webster.
Hits - WW: Wentz, Kopacz, Kallunki, Hawk; Cowlitz: Miller, Cunningham, O'Neil, Flamion, Webster 2, Graham.
Walla Walla 9, Cowlitz 3
Walla Walla 040 001 400 - 9 9 0
Cowlitz 000 120 000 - 3 8 1
Culligan, Watson (7), Richardson (8) and Hawk; Gold, Yuengel (5), Sandoval (7) and Miller.
HR - WW: Gentili.
Hits - WW: Stanford 2, Kopacz 2, Heaps, Kallunki, Wentz, Campbell, Gentili; Cowlitz: Atkinson 2, Flamion 2, O'Neil 2, Didier, Graham.