Elks start fast, hold off Sweets

Bend jumps out to a 7-1 lead after five innings and posts the 9-6 West Coast League victory over Walla Walla.

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BEND - Bend jumped out to a 7-1 lead after five innings and was able to hold off a furious Sweets rally to post a 9-6 win on Monday afternoon at Vince Genna Stadium.

The Elks (6-2) scored five runs over the course of the fourth and fifth innings but had to hold their breaths as the Sweets (3-5) sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs in the top of the seventh. Bend was able to escape the inning and plate two insurance runs in the eighth inning to secure the game two win.

Trailing entering the seventh for the second straight night, the Sweets made a big push to tie the game. A one-out walk to Ben Ruff started the rally and that was followed by a Chance Kopacz hit by pitch and Marc Garza walked to load the bases with one out. Kevin Hawk followed with an RBI single through the right side, Jared Jordan drove in a run with a single to center and Kalani Brackenridge made it three consecutive hits with an RBI knock to center to make it 7-4.

Alex Bonczyk then made it 7-5 as his ground ball to third was misplayed and no outs were recorded on the play. Jarrod Turner followed that with a bases-loaded walk to make it 7-6 and put the tying run on third. Josh McAlister got the job done though as he induced an inning-ending 3-6-1 double play to get out of the inning with the lead intact.

Walla Walla made it interesting in ninth as well as Jordan and Brackenridge led off the inning with consecutive singles. Closer Trevor Hildenberger bore down though and earned his third save by retiring the next three hitters in order.

Bend used 14 hits to score nine runs on Tuesday. They erased an early Sweets lead with two runs of their own in the second inning. Grant Newton reached on an error to start the inning and Shawn O'Brien followed with a double to left-center that scored Newton from first. Darian Ramage made it 2-1 with a single to left field, the first of his four hits on the day.

The Elks appeared to put the game away with five runs in the middle innings. Ramage made it 4-1 in the fourth with a two-run single to center and the Elks sent eight batters to the plate and scored three runs in the fifth. Logan Frandsen, Kyle Gallegos, Jordan Copeland and Ramage had four consecutive hits to plate the three runs.

Walla Walla scored the first run in the game for the first time since Opening Night on Monday. Ruff led off the second with a double to right-center and scored two batters later as Garza ripped a single over the head of a leaping Ramage at short.

Zach Brandon started for the Sweets and lasted just four innings. He allowed four runs on seven hits and struck out three in suffering his second loss of the summer.

Doug Ashby allowed three runs in the fifth, Tyler Billen allowed two runs over two-plus innings and Luke West worked a scoreless inning. Jordan and Brackenridge were the only Sweets to register multiple hits.

The Sweets and the Elks finish their three-game series today with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch. .

Elks 9, Sweets 6

Sweets 010 000 500 - 6 9 4

Elks 020 230 02x - 9 14 1

Brandon, Ashby (5), Billen (6), West (8) and Turner. Bunda, Brija (7), McAlister (7), Hildenberger (9) and Gallegos.

HR - none.

Hits - WW: Turner, Ruff, Kopacz, Garza, Hawk, Jordan 2, Brackenridge 2. Bend: Ramage 4, Walter, Newton, O'Brien, Frandsen 2, Gallegos 2, Copeland 3.

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