WENATCHEE, Wash. – The Wenatchee AppleSox (5-2, 3-2) were led by outstanding pitching Tuesday afternoon. While the defense struggled at times, once the AppleSox bats got going in the eighth and ninth innings, the Kitsap BlueJackets (4-1, 4-1) couldn’t hold on to a 4-0 lead.
For the first six innings of Tuesday’s game, the AppleSox and BlueJackets were locked in a classic pitchers’ battle. Starting with a limited pitch count, Brandon Bailey gave the socks three and two thirds innings of solid zero run baseball. The BlueJackets starter Sam Sheehan dueled back and forth with Bailey. Both pitchers worked out of jams with runners in scoring position.
By the fifth inning, both teams turned to their bullpen and each starter was tabbed with a no decision. The score stayed tied at zero until the top of the seventh inning.
While it looked as though the AppleSox would retire the BlueJackets one-two-three in the seventh, a two out error by Nick Valaika gave the BlueJackets new life. They ended up knocking around three runs off Calvin LeBrun in the inning, although all three were unearned. Calvin essentially pitched lights-out for the Sox and was later relieved by Tyler Frost, who joined the team Monday night.
The Sox couldn’t score in their half of the seventh and Kitsap added another run in the top of the eighth.
Headed to the bottom of the eighth, third baseman Mike Livingston said he just tried to clear his mind and have a good at bat.
With Cooper Elliott on base following a lead off walk, Livingston drove a Ryan Taylor pitch over the wall in right field. It was his first home run of the season and it provided a jolt of energy to the Sox batting order.
Tyler Frost returned to the mound in the top of the ninth and retired the BlueJackets one-two-three, while hurling the AppleSox tenth team strikeout to move things to the bottom half of the inning.
The table was finally set for the AppleSox best frame of the season. Trenton Brooks led off the inning with a double. Nick Brooks then laced in a single for Wenatchee. With two runners already on base and nobody out, Ty Jackson drove a double off the wall in right field, scoring T. Brooks and moving N. Brooks to third.
The BlueJackets intentionally walked Cooper Elliott to load up the bases and create a force out at any base.
Still trailing by one, Livingston came back to the plate and was struck in the shoulder by a pitch that bounced in the dirt. This miscue brought home Tanner Nishioka from third, who was pinch running for Nick Brooks.
With the game tied, the bases loaded and nobody out, temporary catcher Taylor Johnson stepped up to the plate with a chance to win it for the Sox. He knocked a pitch from Bryon Baker back up the middle of the box to walk it off for Wenatchee.
The single scored Tyler Frost, who stepped in as the runner for Jackson.
After the game, Johnson joked that the walk off single might’ve been a bit better than posing for a picture with Ms. East Cascades, following the ceremonial first pitch in game one of the series.
Certainly, Tuesday’s win will be one the AppleSox will remember as the temporary catcher cemented a permanent mark on the AppleSox season.
The rubber match of the series is set for Wednesday night at 7:05pm as right-hander Colton Loomis (1-0) will take to the mound to face off with left handed Ryan Mose of the BlueJackets.
KIT 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 4 7 0
WEN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 5 10 3
WP – Tyler Frost
LP – Bryon Baker