WALLA WALLA - In need of consistent play, the Walla Walla Sweets will get a chance to work on that in the comfort of their own home.
The Sweets host the Klamath Falls Gems at 7:05 tonight at Borleske Stadium, starting an eight-game homestand with three games against the Gems, three against Wenatchee and two against Portland.
The eight-game stretch is a season-high and will be matched when the Sweets play eight in a row at Borleske in mid-July.
This time around, the eight home games could not come at a better time. Hitting their first rough patch of the season over the weekend in Longview, the Sweets are in need of some home-cooking.
Returning to Borleske Stadium, where they are 4-1 on the season, Walla Walla will look to shake off a disparaging weekend that included seven errors and 26 issued walks to the Cowlitz Black Bears.
The Sweets put together their best defensive outing of the season on Saturday and also collected 10 hits to earn a slice of satisfaction from the trip west.
Their opponent to start the eight-game stretch will be the expansion Gems. Awarded a franchise in the offseason, Klamath Falls gave the league nine teams and gave six of the eight teams that were already solidifed a very long bus ride.
Located near the California-Oregon border, the Gems started their inaugural season on a very good note, taking two-of-three from last year's West Coast League runner-up, Bend.
It's been a tough ride since, the Gems dropping four of their last five, including a three-game sweep at the hands of Wenatchee over the weekend.
If anything, Klamath Falls has a roster full of potential basketball players. Twelve of their pitchers are listed as 6-foot, 3-inches or taller, and 6-6 left-hander Tom Schmidt will get the ball in the series-opener tonight.
The height has not neccesarily translated quite yet as the Gems sport a league-worst 3.75 ERA. Schmidt's start will be his second appearance of the summer and his first start after coming on in relief during the opening weekend of the season.
Offensively, Graham Saiko and Turner Gill have formed a very nice 1-2 punch in the middle of the lineup. Both are hitting .296, Saiko with four doubles and three RBI and Gill three doubles, two home runs and seven RBI.
The series continues Wednesday and Thursday with 7:05 p.m. starts each night. Brett Watson will face fellow left-hander Alex Levin in game two, and Trent Allianic and Matt Klein are the expected starters for Thursday's final game.
Today is also Kids Day at the park with children 12 and under receiving a $1 ticket when accompanied by an adult.
Wednesday is Rally Towel Giveaway night presented by Holiday Inn Express and the first 1,000 fans will receive a free Sweets rally towel.
It will also be the first autograph night of the summer, with players being available on the main concourse to sign autographs and take pictures up to 15 minutes prior to first pitch.
The series is capped with the season's first Thirsty Thursday with select domestic drafts and fountain sodas sold for $1 through the final out of the fifth inning.