WALLA WALLA - Elliot Stewart's three-run home run in the fifth put the Sweets ahead 6-4, and his seventh-inning solo home run added insurance as the Walla Walla Sweets defeated the Klamath Falls Gems, 10-6, Thursday night at Borleske Stadium.
Thursday night's designated hitter, Stewart grounded out twice in his first two at-bats.
Then, things took a dramatic turn in the fifth. Stewart worked the count full, fought off two pitches and then golfed a breaking ball over the Inland Cellular sign on top of the wooden scoreboard in left field to erase a 4-3 Gems lead.
He sent the next pitch he saw out of the ballpark as well, leading off the seventh. Stewart drilled the first throw from Gems reliever Josh Ferrell over the wall in left-center to put the Sweets ahead 9-6.
The two home runs and four RBI were a highlight on a night that had a number of them.
Sweets second baseman Denver Chavez started things with a bang, ripping a double down the third base line to open the game and eventually scored on an infield throwing error. That lead was short-lived, however, as Tom D'Aboy ripped a two-run home run to left field in the top of the second.
The Sweets quickly rallied in their second at-bats. Zach Wentz singled and Brenton Allen walked to start the inning, and both moved into scoring position on a balk. James Campbell, who had fouled off two sac bunts, re-focused and scored Wentz with a ground out to short. Allen scored shortly after on a wild pitch to put the Sweets ahead 3-2.
Klamath Falls put together their own rally in the fourth as Rich Sanguinetti and Turner Gill smacked back-to-back singles to start the inning. Al Selanders moved them up with a bunt and a wild pitch scored Sanguinetti with the tying run.
Nick Miller put the Gems on top for the second time in the game with a sac fly to right.
Walla Walla nearly answered right back, loading the bases with two outs but could not score. Starter Trent Allianic pitched a 1-2-3 fifth and the Sweets got right back to work.
Andrew Mendenhall walked and Chance Kopacz singled to start things for Stewart. The three-run shot brought the crowd to its feet and put Allianic in line for the win.
The Gems did not go quietly, scoring single runs in the sixth and seventh innings off of reliever Kyle Anderson. The left-hander from Cal Poly was making his first appearance of the summer and lasted 2 1/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits.
But for each run the Gems scored, the Sweets matched them in the next half inning.
Kevin Williams started the bottom of the sixth with an infield single and moved to third as Mendenhall's fly to left was dropped, extending the inning. Kopacz took advantage, ripping a two-run double off the wall in left-center to push the lead to three. Stewart then answered Klamath Falls' seventh-inning run with his second round-tripper.
The game got a bit feisty in the third inning with the Gems batting. Joel Atkinson was picked off first base and tagged out by Campbell to end the inning.
After being tagged, Atkinson shared some words that Kevin Hawk did not like. The catcher sprang from behind home plate and met Atkinson in between first and second. The two shared words as both benches emptied onto the infield. No punches were thrown and both players remained in the game.
Stewart finished with three hits, three runs and four RBI, Campbell had three hits and Wentz and Kopacz each had a pair for the Sweets.
Allianic picked up his first win as four relievers closed the door. Geoff Soja and Tyler Billen each recorded an out in the eighth and Aaron Hoverson struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth.
With the win, the Sweets (5-4 in league) won their second series of the season, taking 2-of-3 from the Gems (4-7). The Sweets improve to 6-2 at home on the season and continue their eight-game homestand with a three-game weekend series against Wenatchee. The Applesox come to Walla Walla winners of 11 straight and lead the league in batting average and ERA. Game one is at 7:05 p.m. tonight.
Walla Walla 10, Klamath Falls 6
Gems 020 201 100 - 6 8 4
Sweets 120 032 11x - 10 13 1
Klein, Greenwood (4), LaBrie (5), Ferrell (7) and Pardini. Allianic, Anderson (6), Soja (8), Billen (8), Hoverson (9) and Hawk.
HR - Kla: D'Aboy; WW: Stewart 2.
Hits - Kla: Crowell, Atkinson, Sanguinetti 2, Gill 2, Selanders, D'Aboy. WW: Chavez, Kopacz 2, Stewart 3, Wentz 2, Kallunki, Campbell 3, Williams.