WENATCHEE - Mitchell Gunsolus's three-run home run in the third inning gave Wenatchee a 3-0 lead and the Applesox held on for a 3-2 victory on Monday night at Paul Thomas Sr. Field.
The Sweets (10-15) erased the three-run deficit with a pair of runs in the seventh inning but left the tying runs on base in the seventh and eighth innings in their first meeting with the Applesox (19-3) this season. It was Wenatchee's eighth-straight win.
Trailing 3-0 in the seventh, the Sweets finally put something together offensively. Facing reliever Bryce Jackson, Nick Vilter walked, Chance Kopacz was hit by a pitch and Spencer O'Neil recorded a pinch-hit, RBI single to left to put the Sweets on the board. Jarrod Turner then laid down a beautiful bunt that resulted in a bunt single and loaded the bases with no outs.
The Applesox turned to Drew Jacobs out of the bullpen and the right-hander struck out the next two hitters before Alex Bonczyk drove in a second run with an infield single to first. Brett Jacobs followed with a hard liner to center but it was right at the fielder and ended the inning.
The Sweets then had a golden chance to tie the game in the eighth as Shane Zeile led off the inning with a triple to dead-center. Jacobs wasn't flustered however, and struck out the next three Sweets hitters to leave Zeile at third.
It was the third time in the game the Sweets had failed to score a runner in scoring position. Kalani Brackenridge led off the third inning with a double but Applesox starter Derek Callahan struck out the side to leave him stranded. On the night, the Sweets struck out 15 times overall and eight with runners in scoring position.
Sweets starter Zach Brandon suffered the tough-luck loss on Monday, throwing just one bad pitch all game. The right-hander had set down the first two batters of the third but gave up an infield single and a hit by pitch with two strikes to keep the inning alive. Gunsolus then turned a 2-1 fastball around and drove it over the right field wall on a line. Brandon would allow just four hits and strike out four in four innings.
Appearing for the second time in as many games, Joe Arlt was dominant in relief. He entered in the fifth and allowed just four baserunners all evening. He faced his biggest test in the eighth as the Applesox put runners on second and third with just one out. Arlt got a fly to left for the second out and then struck out Ryan Drobny on a 3-2 breaking pitch to end the threat. He worked four scoreless innings and allowed just two hits.
Bonczyk was the only Sweet to record multiple hits and O'Neil extended his on-base streak to 14 games with his seventh-inning single.
The Sweets and Applesox play again on Tuesday in Wenatchee, with a first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m
Wenatchee 3, Walla Walla 2
Walla Walla 000 000 200 - 2 7 2
Wenatchee 003 000 00x - 3 6 0
Brandon, Arlt (5) and Turner; Callahan, Jackson (7), Jacobs (7), Kane (9) and Schultz.
HR - Wenatchee: Gunsolus.
Hits - Walla Walla: Bonczyk 2, Zeile, Kopacz, O'Neil; Wenatchee: Ventimilia, Stephens, Gunsolus 2, Moore, Schultz.