BREMERTON - The Sweets scored six runs over the course of the fifth and sixth innings, and escaped a ninth-inning jam as Kris Paulino turned a potential game-tying hit into a game-ending double play on Monday night at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.
With the win, the Sweets (7-12) earned a series sweep of the BlueJackets (6-17). Walla Walla won five-of-six against Kitsap on the year and ended its season-long seven-game road trip with a 4-3 record.
Leading 8-5 in the ninth, the Sweets had to hold off a furious Kitsap rally. A leadoff single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with no outs before a infield ground ball made it 8-6. Francisco Tellez was up next and hit a hard liner to the right side that was destined for the outfield but Paulino snared it and then tossed to second to double off the runner.
The ninth inning was a great representation of the game as a whole. The two teams traded blows over the middle innings before the Sweets finally pulled away.
Walla Walla struck first with a pair of runs in the second inning. Marc Garza started the inning with a double down the right field line and scored on an Alex Bonczyk single through the right side. Brett Jacobs followed with a sharp single to left to make it 2-0.
Kitsap rallied in the fourth inning to take its first lead. It all started with two outs and the bases empty as Jerad Casper's ground ball to third was bobbled. A single followed that and a walk loaded the bases. Sweets starter Kody Young then balked in the first run and Allen Hewey followed with an RBI single to tie the game at 2-2. Brian Olson followed that with a two-run double down the left field line to make it 4-2.
Walla Walla didn't wait long to respond, scoring three runs in the top of the fifth. Jacobs kept the inning alive with a two-out double and Spencer O'Neil followed with a two-run blast to right-center to tie the game. Nick Vilter then stepped up and drilled a solo home run over the wall in left to put the Sweets up, 5-4.
Kitsap came right back to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. The BlueJackets put their first two runners on against Young before the Sweets called on Luke West. A walk loaded the bases with out and a wild pitch tied the game. West buckled down though and got a strikeout to leave the lead runs on second and third.
The Sweets used that momentum to take the lead in the sixth. A pair of walks helped the Sweets load the bases in the inning with two outs and Jacobs then worked a walk to drive in the lead run. O'Neil then followed with a two-run single to right field to make it 8-5.
West and Ruff did the rest. In his best outing of the season, West tossed four shutout innings and allowed just one hit and struck out four. Ruff earned his first save as he closed out the win.
Jacobs finished with three hits and two RBI and O'Neil added two hits and four RBI.
The Sweets return home today to start a five-game homestand against Bend at 7:05 p.m.
Sweets 8, BlueJackets 6
Sweets 002 033 000 - 8 14 2
BlueJackets 000 410 001 - 6 7 1
Young, West (5), Ruff (9) and Turner. Amundson, Nease (6), Thomson (6), Staples (7), Gaynor (9) and Olson.
HR - WW: O'Neil, Vilter.
Hits - WW: Paulino 2, Bonczyk, Jacobs 3, O'Neil 2, Vilter 2, Kopacz, Turner, Cooper, Garza. Kit: Burcham, Casper, Baumgartner, Hewey 2, Olson 2.