WALLA WALLA - The Sweets left eight men on base and handed out seven free passes in their 2-1 loss to the Cowlitz Black Bears here Tuesday night at Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla beaned five Black Bears and issued two walks in allowing the two runs on five hits.
The Sweets were unable to capitalize on two Bears errors, two Walla Walla walks and five hits.
"I didn't think we really even created that many opportunities for ourselves to score," Sweets manager J.C. Biagi said. "I thought the guy (Koby Gauna) they threw was OK. He certainly presented some opportunities on the pitches to hit."
Biagi used the term "OK" to describe his starting pitcher, Hunter Virant, as well. Virant went six innings and hit three batters while walking two.
Virant surrended the two runs on two hits and struck out six.
"That was not the best Hunter we've seen or will see this year," Biagi said. "He did grind his way through six innings and gave us a chance to win. That is all you can ask from your starting pitcher.
"We just weren't able to do anything offensively to back him up."
The runs that did score were early in the game.
The Black Bears jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning without virtue of a hit. Drew Luther walked, advanced on a balk and wild pitch to third. Nick Paxton lifted a fly ball for the sacrifice fly-RBI to left field.
The Sweets tied the game up in the bottom of the third inning. Kalani Brackenridge doubled to the deep right-field gap to lead off the inning. Kris Paulino lined out, and Alex Boncyzk reached on an infield single.
With runners on first and third, Brett Jacobs grounded a ball back up the middle, and Boncyzk was moving on the pitch.
The second basemen for the Bears, Coby Childs, was covering the second and found himself positioned perfectly to field the hit. Childs flipped it to second and the Cowlitz shortstop, Austin Wobrock, tagged the bag, but not in time to get Bonczyk on the force.
Wobrock shot it to first base in time to get Jacobs, but Brackenridge scored on the play from third.
Spencer O'Neil then flew out to left field to retire the side.
Cowlitz came right back out in the top of the fourth and added the would-be winning run of the game. Matt Ozanne doubled to lead off the inning.
Luther laid down a sacrifice bunt to get Ozanne to third base, and Paxton was the hero again with another RBI, this time a single.
The Sweets did no more damage for the final six innings.
Walla Walla did get bullpen relief from Doug Ashby and Garrett Tygerson, who both kept Cowlitz from extending its lead.
Ashby went an inning, wriggling off the hook of a first-and-third jam with one out, with consecutive retirings of the Cowlitz batters.
Tygerson went the final two innings for the Sweets by giving up two hit-by-pitches and one single.
"All the free passes (seven) that we gave up are certainly not something we look for or try for," Biagi said. "At some point, somebody is really going to come out and capitalize on them.
"We've got to improve offensively, as well," he said. "Early on in the game we put some really good swings on the ball. There in the middle innings, we just really didn't do the things that we've got to do on offense to be successful and cash in on our chances."
The Sweets (14-21 in West Coast League play) take a five-game losing streak into another matchup with the Black Bears tonight at Borleske Stadium starting at 7:05 p.m.
Cowlitz 2, Walla Walla 1
Cowlitz 010 100 000 - 2 5 2
Walla Walla 001 000 000 - 1 5 0
Gauna, Rogina (8), Galusha (9) and Armijo; Virant, Ashby (7), Tygerson (8) and Robinson.
HR - none.
Hits - Cow: Carroll, Armjio, Ozanne, Paxton, Wobrock; WW: Boncyzk, Zeile, Robinson, Cooper, Brackenridge.
Two Sweets added to
WCL All-Star roster
WALLA WALLA - Two more members of the Walla Walla Sweets were selected to join Spencer O'Neil on the 2012 East Division All-Star team that will compete against the West Division All-Star team in the West Coast League All-Star Game presented by NAPA Auto Parts on Tuesday at Borleske Stadium, the league announced on Tuesday.
Pitchers Hunter Virant and Arturo Reyes were selected by coaches and scouts to join O'Neil, who was named by fan vote earlier.
The two teams are comprised of 21 players from within their divisions. The East squad is highlighted by eight members from Kelowna, six from Bellingham and four from Wenatchee.
Seven Corvallis players lead the West Division and will be joined by five players from Klamath Falls, four from Cowlitz, four from Bend and one from Kitsap as well as the Walla Walla contingent.