WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla Sweets were behind again here early Sunday against the Medford Rogues, trailing 3-1 after two innings.
It was the third consecutive game that they fell behind the Rogues at home, but unlike the previous two nights, this time the Sweets weren’t able to battle back as Walla Walla fell, 5-2, Sunday evening at Borleske Stadium in front of an attendance of 1,402.
The Sweets were able to get three base runners on due to walks in the ninth inning, one of which was picked off, and bring the tying run to the plate on a couple different ocassions.
It was about all you could ask out of the ninth inning, but Walla Walla skipper J.C. Biagi expected more of his team throughout the game.
“The ninth inning is the ninth inning and those are always exciting,” Biagi said. “You know having the ability to come back. But really, you have that every inning. Innings one through eight were pretty poor offensively today.
“You make a few mistakes early in the game and get us down,” he said. “You gotta climb back in it. At some point, somebody is going to stop you. So you can’t rely on ninth-inning and late-game rallies every day to comeback. You gotta play baseball and that is something we didn’t do today.”
The Rogues put up three runs in the top of the second inning on some mental mistakes by the Sweets.
Rogues hitter Connor George walked to start the frame and Corey Wynant layed down a bunt.
Sweets starter Matt Hall fielded the bunt cleanly and attempted to get George at second base. A high throw pulled shortstop Ben Silva off the bag and both runners were safe.
Brody Weiss then laid down a nice bunt single to fill the bases.
With the bases loaded, Gregory Feinberg hit a dribbler to Sweets first basemen Mike Paulson, who fielded it nicely, but no one covered first base for an out, and Feinberg had an RBI single. The bases were still loaded with nobody out and the score 1-0.
Ray McIntire next popped out to Walla Walla second baseman Kris Paulino. A ground ball to Silva started the potential 6-4-3 double play to end the inning, but Silva’s relay to first was offline and sailed past Paulson.
Two runs scored on the play, with an error tagged on Silva.
It was 3-0 Rogues before a hit-by-pitch of Ryan Degner and the final out, a 4-3 groundout by Daniel McNabb to end the inning.
The Sweets clawed back with a single run in the bottom of the inning. Spencer O’Neil doubled and Paulino singled him into score to make it 3-1 after two innings.
In the Walla Walla fifth, Kramer Lindell doubled and a swinging bunt by John Skrbec was thrown away by Rogues starter Mac Acker. The error allowed Lindell to score to bring the score to 3-2 after five.
Medford tacked on single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to grow the final lead to 5-2. In the top of the sixth, Rogues designated hitter Kevin Davidson hit a home run over the left-field scoreboard.
In the seventh, McIntire was hit by a pitch and a sacrifice bunt by Parker Miles moved him to second. Colin Sowers followed with an RBI-double.
The Sweets suffered 15 strikeouts in the outing.
“That (the strikeouts) was totally unexpected,” Biagi said. “I was pretty disappointed in that. That is a combination of bad at-bats, no plan at the plate and no fight. It wasn’t good.”
Rogues starter Acker went six innings and struck out 11, giving up the two Sweets runs on five hits and two walks.
Reliever Jeff Hardy went two strong innings of scoreless ball and struck out three.
Chad Hockin started the Medford ninth on the hill and got an out, but was lifted for Brandon Williams after walking two in a row. Williams walked one but got the final two outs, striking out one.
Walla Walla (9-6) now takes to the road to play a three-game series at the Kelowna Falcons and three with the Bellingham Bells.
The Sweets will return home for a seven game series beginning July 1st.
Medford 5, Walla Walla 2
Medford 030 001 100 — 5 6 1
Walla Walla 010 010 000 — 2 5 2
Acker, Hardy (7), Hockin (9), Williams (9) and Feinberg. Hall, Jones (7), Zandaona (8), Lawhead (9) and Miroglio.
HR – Med: Davidson.
Hits – Med: Degner, Sowers, Davidson, Wynant, Weiss, Feinberg. WW: Lindell 2, Paulson, O’Neil, Paulino.