Sweets rebound, beat Cowlitz, 8-4

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LONGVIEW, Wash. — Sean Silva took the loss over one inning on the mound at the 2013 West Coast League All-Star Game on Tuesday. On Thursday, he would not be denied.

After a double-digit defeat Wednesday, Silva guided the Walla Walla Sweets (23-18) to an 8-4 victory at Story Field, hurling 5 1/3rd innings and striking out five Cowlitz Black Bears en route to his fourth win of the year. Silva was charged for two earned runs

Cowlitz’s Derrick Salberg scored the first after he walked in the first inning and later stole second base. Catcher Danny Recio drove Salberg in with a sharp single to left field, giving the home team a 1-0 lead.

Silva settled in after a 21-pitch opening frame, retiring nine of the next 10 hitters he faced. Designated hitter Kyle Knigge was the only hitter to reach in that span, but by virtue of an error at second base. Sean’s younger brother Scott ranged all the way onto the outfield grass at second to make a nice play on a ground ball off Knigge’s bat, but threw the ball away.

Scott scored twice in the ballgame to give his older brother early run support, and said playing alongside Sean is a cherished opportunity.

“It was like a dream as a kid that me and my brother would get to play together,” Scott said. “But being two-and-a-half years apart, we never thought we’d get a chance to play together. So we wanted to take advantage of the once in a lifetime opportunity this summer.”

The youngest Silva was one of three Sweets to score in the third inning after catcher Dominic Miroglio started the frame with a double down the left field line. Center fielder Beau Bozett bunted a ground ball back to the mound, but starting pitcher Cody Rogina’s throwing error to third base got past the bag, allowing Miroglio to score. Silva followed with a walk and pinch hitter Luke Persico drove each man in with a double to the right-center field wall to give the Sweets a 3-1 advantage.

An even bigger five-run fifth inning expanded Walla Walla’s lead. Bozett walked to start the rally as Silva reached on the second Cowlitz error of the night. A fielding error at third base in the next at-bat put Persico on to load the bases, as third baseman John Skrbec walked a run in.

That ended Rogina’s night, as only two of the seven runs scored with the left-hander on the mound were earned. Miroglio notched his second hit of the night, a two-run single to left field, putting Walla Walla on top 6-1. Shortstop Nick Vilter singled in another pair of runs before Bozett struck out looking to end the frame with the Sweets ahead 8-1.

Cowlitz first baseman Tanner Pinkston singled a run home in the sixth inning before Silva exited in favor of right-hander Bret Helton. Helton, celebrating his 20th birthday, walked his first hitter before inducing a double play to end the inning.

The Black Bears rallied in the bottom of the ninth for a pair of runs off reliever Josh Wagner, but the right-hander was able to strand a man at third base with a fly out to end the game at 8-4.

Game three against the Cowlitz Black Bears (19-19) starts Friday with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.

SWEETS 8, BLACK BEARS 4

Walla Walla 003 050 000 — 8 7 2

Cowlitz 100 001 002 — 4 10 3

Silva, Helton (6), Wagner (9) and Miroglio. Rogina, Sahlinger (5), Sullivan (6), Merlo (9) and Recio.

Hits — Walla Walla: Persico 2, Mendenhall, Vilter 2, Miroglio 2; Cowlitz: Knigge 2, Bolasky, Recio 2, Pinkston, Martinez, Childs, VanDomelen 2.

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