KELOWNA, B.C. - It ended an inning later than they hoped it would, but the Walla Walla Sweets finally snapped their eight-game losing streak, scoring four runs in the 10th inning to beat the Kelowna Falcons 6-2 on Tuesday night at Elks Stadium.
Walla Walla battled to take the lead with a run in the top of the ninth but relinquished it in the bottom of the inning. Determined to end the skid, Austin Heaps chopped a ground ball to short and hustled down the line, beating the throw for a one-out infield single. The Sweets then pinch-ran Kalani Brackenridge and pinch-hit Scott Gottschling. Brackenridge broke for second on the 3-2 pitch and Gottschling singled to left-center, putting runners on first and third.
James Campbell hit a hard ground ball up the middle that was fielded by Ryan Paterson. Brackenridge had broken for home on contact and was dead at home, but Paterson threw the ball over his catcher's head from 10 feet away.
That gave the Sweets the 3-2 lead and Goose Kallunki greeted Kelowna's relief pitcher with a two-run double to left-center, extending the lead to 5-2. Nick Gentili capped the scoring with an RBI single to left-center.
Closing out the victory was tougher than they hoped. Kelowna's Derek Peterson got the first two outs of the ninth and was a strike away from ending the game but gave up a two-out double to Connor Joe. The next batter hit a ground ball to second that scooted into center field, scoring Joe with the tying run.
The Sweets even had trouble in the 10th. Kyle Anderson came on to pitch, hit the first batter and gave up a single to the second batter. He battled back to get a strikeout, a pop out to first and a strikeout to end the game.
A Bo Folkinga RBI double in the bottom of the first seemed to be all the Falcons needed as starter Jared Mortenson dealt. The right-hander retired the first six batters he faced, and, after hitting a batter with one out in the third, induced an inning-ending double play.
He gave up his first two hits of the night to start the fourth and walked Elliot Stewart to load the bases with no outs, but worked out of it. He got help as Heaps' liner to first was turned into a double play and then he got a strike out to end the inning.
Mortenson got the first out of the eighth as well but left a pitch out over the plate and Stanford drilled it into left-center field for a double. Stanford moved to third on a balk and scored the tying-run on a Denver Chavez sac fly to right field.
It was Stanford again in the ninth to give the Sweets a lead. Campbell reached on a throwing error to start the inning and was still there after two outs were recorded and Kevin Williams walked. Facing a 2-2 count, Stanford jumped on a curveball and laced it into right-center, scoring Campbell from second.
Sweets starter Tim Culligan matched Mortenson pitch for pitch through seven innings. He faced a first and second jam in the fourth but was helped out by a 6-4-3 double play and then didn't allow a hit until a one-out single in the seventh.
He went seven innings, gave up two runs on five hits and induced 14 ground ball outs. Peterson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth before giving up the ninth-inning run but did pick up the win as the Sweets responded with a four-run 10th. Anderson earned the save in relief.
The victory ends the Sweets six-game road trip on a high note as they head home to start a three-game series at beginning at 7:05 p.m. at Borleske Stadium on Thursday against Cowlitz.
Walla Walla 6, Kelowna 2
Sweets 000 000 011 4 - 6 11 2
Falcons 100 000 001 0 - 2 9 2
Culligan, Peterson (8), Anderson (10) and Stewart; Mortensen, Hermes (8), Stafford (8), Paterson (9), West (10) and Norris-Jones, Stoup.
Hits - Sweets: Stanford 3, Chavez 2, Heaps 2, Allen, Campbell, Kallunki, Gentili. Falcons: Swinford, Folkinga 2, Bryant Joe, Ballard 3, Norris-Jones.