Surviving the pick-off, Walla Walla's Renae Martinez goes over the tag of Medford 1st baseman Conner George to make it back to the pink bag during 2nd inning action Saturday night at Borleske. It was "Tough Enough To Wear Pink Night" for the Sweets presented by Povidence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center.
Photo by Jeff Horner.
WALLA WALLA — Walla Walla was tough enough to wear pink here Saturday in West Coast League baseball action.
And they were tough enough to come back from a four-run hole.
The Sweets spotted Medford a 4-0 lead after two innings, but roared back to post a 9-5 win.
“We didn’t get the start we wanted,” Sweets manager J.C. Biagi said. “We showed some resilience. Our bullpen came in and had a few hiccups and put some guys on we don’t need to put on, but they locked it down a little bit and allowed our offense to get back in it.”
A two-run single by Kevin Davidson sparked a four-run Rogues second inning as Medford grabbed a 4-0 lead.
The Sweets started the road back in the home third. Kramer Lindell reached on an error, Nick Vilter singled, and Jarod Gonzales jerked a double off the right field wall to chase Lindell and Vilter home, cutting the Rogue lead to 4-2 after three.
“You can’t give up, especially that early in the game as anything is possible in the game of baseball,” Kennewick and WWCC product Gonzales said. “I was looking for a fastball in and I got most of it.”
A Rogue error opened the gates for the Sweets in the home fifth. Down 4-2, Beau Bozett reached on an error to start the Sweets fifth. Lindell and John Skrbec produced consecutive singles to load the bases for Vilter. Vilter singled home Bozett and Gonzales stepped up with WW down a run and the bases juiced.
“I tell myself to calm down, nothing too big, don’t try to overdue, get a good pitch and take a swing at it,” Gonzales said.
Rogue starting pitcher Bret DeRooy and Gonzales battled to a full count, and Gonzales won the war. Gonzales ripped a base hit into right field and Lindell and Skrbec scored as the Sweets grabbed a 5-4 lead.
“It (the pressure) is a mixture of being on both (hitter and pitcher),” Gonzales said. “Full count, (you) don’t want to strike out. The main thing is to put the ball in play.”
Matt Mendenhall’s groundout completed the Sweets fifth as the Sweets had the lead for good at 6-4 after five.
After the Rogues got within one at 6-5 following a RBI single by A.J. Balta in the Medford sixth, the Sweets put this one away with a run in the seventh and two more in the eighth on Lindell’s third hit of the game.
The Sweets bullpen of Josh Wagner, Joe Arlt, and Sean-Luke Brija blanked the Rogues over the last three innings, although Arlt had to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh.
It wasn’t the most efficient effort, as the Sweets committed three errors, but the offense responded with 11 hits to send the 1,714 ‘Tough Enough to Wear Pink’ crowd home with a victory. The win was the fifth consecutive victory over the Rogues this season and improved Walla Walla to 9-5 in WCL play.
“Our offense got back in it and eventually took the lead, it was good to see,” Biagi said. “Right now, we are not playing our best baseball with three errors up on the board. Cleaning stuff up defensively — not giving away free bases, and collecting outs when we need to — we have to do a better job. From an offensive standpoint, we strung some hits together and were able to tack on — not bad.”
The Sweets and Rogues complete their three-game set tonight at 5 p.m. at Borleske.
Walla Walla 9, Medford 5
Medford 040 001 000 — 5 10 2
WW 002 040 12x — 9 11 3
DeRooy, Morrison (7), Lujan (8) and Pacheco, Teel (7); Se. Silva, Dillman (3), Bornstein (6), Wagner (7), Arlt (7), Brija (9) and Martinez.
Hits — Med: Wynant, McIntire, Miles, Davidson 2, McNabb 3, Degner, Balta; WW: Martinez 2, Vilter 2, Gonzales 2, Lindell 3, Skrbec 2.