VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA — The Walla Walla Sweets came into Victoria for their first game ever against the HarbourCats, and walked away as winners in a 6-1 victory at Royal Athletic Park Monday evening.
The long ball helped the Sweets as second baseman John Skrbec hit a home run to give Walla Walla the lead in the fourth inning, and left fielder Kramer Lindell followed the next inning with a two-run shot in the fifth.
Lindell reached in the top of the first when a ground ball to shortstop was dropped to begin the ball game.
Starting HarbourCats pitcher Ty Provencher, who had tossed back-to-back nine-inning starts, worked out of the jam by retiring the next three Sweets batters.
He then sat down the side in the second frame before allowing a lead-off double to designated hitter Spencer O’Neil, but the Sweets’ offense waited until the fourth to get on the board.
Skrbec drove his second home run of the season over the left-field wall to give the Sweets the lead, as Lindell expanded it with a two-run shot to the same part of the ball park in the fifth inning. With shortstop Nick Vilter aboard via a one-out walk, Lindell’s third homer of the year was over the scoreboard in left field, one of the deepest homers hit by a Sweets player this season.
Provencher struck out seven hitters on the night, but could not hold the Sweets down over eight innings of work. The right-hander collected his first loss of the season after allowing three earned runs on six hits.
Right-hander Joe Record came on to relieve Provencher, but only lasted one-third of an inning as he surrendered three earned runs on three hits.
Four errors in the top of the ninth gave the Sweets three insurance runs as third baseman Jarod Gonzales reached to start the inning on a catching error by the pitcher covering first base. First baseman Alex Real made a sensational diving stop, but Record could not make the catch.
First baseman Matt Mendenhall singled and scored, as O’Neil doubled and eventually scored as well. Vilter reached on a base hit and came across the plate with Lindell’s third RBI hit of the game.
Sweets starting pitcher Sean Silva collected the win to stay perfect at 3-0 over 6 2/3 innings of work, his longest outing of the year.
The win moves Walla Walla (17-11) into a tie for first place in the WCL Northern Division with the Wenatchee AppleSox (17-11) ,who lost their ball game Monday night.
The Sweets continue the series in game two today as left-hander Matt Hall will throw out the 7:05 p.m first pitch.
Walla Walla 6, Victoria 1
Walla Walla 000 120 003 — 6 12 2
Victoria 000 001 000 — 1 9 4
Silva, Arlt (7), Dillman (8), Brija (9) and Martinez. Provencher, Record (9), Lombana (9) and Schuknecht.
HRs: WW — Lindell, Skrbec.
Hits — WW: Lindell 2, Paulino, Skrbec 2, Paulson 2, Mendenhall, O’Neil 3, Vilter; Vic: Richards, Real, Russell 2, DeGoti, Ellis, Lewis 2, LaVelle.