KELOWNA, B.C. — The Kelowna Falcons took advantage of seven walks to score seven times in the sixth inning and broke open a close West Coast League baseball game en route to a 9-2 victory over visiting Walla Walla here Wednesday night.
The Falcons sent 12 batters to the plate in the decisive inning as they handed the Sweets their fifth road loss of the season and claimed the three-game series 2-1. The teams split a doubleheader Tuesday after Monday’s series opener was rained out.
The loss dropped the third-place Sweets two games behind idle Victoria, B.C., in the WCL’s South Division. The HarbourCats lead the division with a 10-4 mark and Bellingham, which was also idle Wednesday, is in second place at 10-5, a half-a-game off the pace.
Walla Walla takes a 10-8 WCL record to Bellingham where it opens a three-game series tonight against the Bells. The Sweets will be idle Sunday and Monday before returning to Borleske Stadium Tuesday where they will open a six-game homestand against Kelowna.
Kelowna then took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when right fielder Grayson Porter and Johnson delivered back-to-back two-out doubles. That ended the night for Sweets starter Jonathan Harris, who allowed two earned runs on seven hits and struck out four in suffering his third loss of the year.
Left-hander Drew Christina struck out the final hitter in the fifth to get out of the frame.
But Christina ran into all kinds of trouble in the next inning. And not surprisingly it began with a walk to Kelowna third baseman Preston Gray.
After Gray advanced a base on an errant pickoff attempt, Christina walked Anthony Young and Scaggari to load the bases. Nate Goodwin, pinch running for Gray, scored the first run of the inning on Joe Robbins’ sacrifice fly.
Darryn Kolk followed suit with another sacrifice fly that scored Young. Another walk and a hit batter loaded the bases again, and yet another walk forced in the third run of the inning.
Jarred Klemm followed with a two-run single, with Porter scoring the second run on a hard slide that led to a shoving match between him at Sweets catcher Renae Martinez. Both benches emptied but order was soon restored.
Walla Walla used four different pitchers in the sixth, including Mike Paulson’s first appearance on the mound. Paulson, normally an outfielder, tossed one-third of an inning, walked two and surrendered three runs.
Kelowna recorded just two hits in the seven-run sixth.
Falcons 9, Sweets 2
Walla Walla 001 000 010 — 2 5 1
Kelowna 000 117 00x — 9 11 1
Harris, Christina (5), Lawhead (6), Poulson (6), Bornstein (6) and Martinez; Habeck, Lahman (8), Rice (9) and Young.
Hits — WW: Lindell, Skrbec, Martinez, Persico 2; Kelowna: Kolk 2, Olson, Porter, Johnson 2, Klemm, Young 2.