Knights trample Sweets, 9-6

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CORVALLIS — The Walla Walla Sweets (19-13) rallied for three runs both in the fourth and fifth innings Friday night, but the Corvallis Knights (19-13) responded to take home a 9-6 win at Coleman Field. Right-hander Cody Poteet took his first loss of the year as the Knights notched 15 hits on the evening.

Corvallis center fielder Blake Drake was the thorn in the Sweets’ proverbial side Friday. He began the bottom of the first inning with a single to right field, moving to third on a hit-and-run. Designated hitter Dane Lund was hit by a pitch to load the bases before third baseman Cody Lenahan drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to left field. Corvallis expanded its early lead on second baseman Seth Heck’s single to left, putting the Knights ahead 2-0 after one inning.

Walla Walla responded with a three-run top of the third. Left fielder Jono Herkins reached by virtue of an error at third base to lead off the inning, and stole his first base of the year to move himself into scoring position. He scored on right fielder Kris Paulino’s double to the right-center field wall before shortstop Nick Vilter was hit with a pitch for the eighth time this season. A wild pitch to first baseman Jarod Gonzales put two runners in scoring position, setting up his clutch go-ahead single to center field to drive in two and give Walla Walla a one-run lead.

With Corvallis behind 3-2, the Knights scored again when Lenahan drew a one-out walk and came home to score on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the third inning. The home team did not record a hit in the frame as Poteet walked three and hit a batter.

Walla Walla fought back for three more runs in the fourth as Reggie Southall, Herkins and John Skrbec each singled to start the inning. All three scored, with the last two coming in on Paulino’s second hit of the game. He tried to take second base on the throw but was cut down for the second out, and Vilter grounded out to end the inning.

Drake ended Poteet’s night as he lined a three-run double down the left-field line to tie the game in the fifth, sending Poteet’s to the bench after 4 2/3rds innings. The young righty gave up six earned runs before giving way to lefty Joe Arlt out of the bullpen. Arlt pitched 2 1/3rd innings and gave up two earned runs as Corvallis scored twice in the sixth and scored a final unearned run in the eighth off right-hander Connor Lawhead to capture the 9-6 win.

Despite the loss, the Sweets remained in first place in the West Coast League North Division, one full game ahead of the Wenatchee AppleSox (17-13), who did not play Friday.

Corvallis 9, Walla Walla 6

Walla Walla 003 300 000 — 6 9 3

Corvallis 201 032 01x — 9 15 1

Poteet, Arlt (5), Lawhead (8) and Miroglio; Bloomquist, Flemer (5), Choate (9) and Rabago.

Hits — WW: Skrbec 2, Paulino 2, Vilter, Gonzales, Miroglio, Southall, Herkins; Cor: Drake 3, Van Gansen 2, Lund 2, Heck 3, Kline 2, Rabago 2, Melker.

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