Walla Walla Sweets shortstop Nick Vilter, of UC Riverside, crashes to the infield dirt just short of a hard-hit line drive during the fourth inning of their West Coast League game against Cowlitz on Wednesday at Borleske Stadium Walla Walla won 5-1.
Walla Walla The Sweets turned the tides on the Black Bears Wednesday night, as four pitchers combined to allow just one run on eight hits in a 5-1 Sweets victory at Borleske Stadium.
The win snapped the Sweets' (15-21) five-game losing streak and moved them within seven games of Bellingham for the final playoff spot in the East Division. The Black Bears (16-20) had their three-game winning streak snapped and remain four games behind Corvallis for first place in the West Division.
A night after being stymied by three Black Bear pitchers, the quartet of Arturo Reyes, Tyler Billen, Doug Ashby and Simon Anderson were dominant in leading the Sweets to the victory.
Reyes did not have his best stuff, but was able to pitch out of several early inning jams, exiting after striking out six, walking four and allowing one run over 4 1/3 innings.
Billen went the next 2 2/3, picking up four strikeouts and allowing just two hits in earning his first win of the summer.
Ashby and Anderson tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth, respectively.
Walla Walla's offense got the pitching staff an early run with back-to-back doubles in the first inning. Brett Jacobs doubled down the left field line with one out and Shane Zeile followed with an RBI double over the head of the left fielder to make it 1-0.
After Cowlitz rallied to tie the score at 1-1 in the fourth, the Sweets got their biggest hit of the game from Marc Garza. Kris Paulino worked a walk and Garza worked a full count before drilling a hanging breaking ball to left-center to score Paulino and break the tie.
From there, the Sweets would tack on three more insurance runs. Alex Bonczyk led off the fifth inning with a bunt single down the first base line, moved to second on a sac bunt, to third on a ground ball and scored on a two-out infield single from Nick Vilter.
Bonczyk was the catalyst again in the seventh, ripping a leadoff triple to right-center. He scored two batters later on a Zeile single to left to make it 4-1. A wild pickoff throw sent Zeile to third, and he scored the final Sweets run on a wild pitch.
The Sweets and Black Bears finish their three-game series 7:05 p.m. today. Zach Brandon will get the ball for the Sweets.
Sweets 5, Black Bears 1
Black Bears 000 100 000 - 1 8 1
Sweets 100 110 20x - 5 8 2
Murray, McCarthy (5), Tripp (9) and Hazard. Reyes, Billen (5), Ashby (8), Anderson (9) and Fraser.
HR - none.
Hits - Cow: Wobrock 2, Swinford, Madrid, Kuck, Rubanowitz, Hazard, Salberg. WW: Bonczyk 3, Jacobs, Zeile 2, Vilter, Garza.