LONGVIEW, Wash. – The Wenatchee AppleSox (15-19, 12-18) took the final game of a three game set with the Cowlitz Black Bears (16-19, 13-17), by a score of 8-3, Saturday night at Story Field.
The win ended a stretch of 12 AppleSox games played without an off day. The Sox had highs and lows during that span, but emerged with a confidence building win, to lead into an important upcoming six-game home and home set with the Kelowna Falcons.
Chris Carns (1-3), settled down very nicely for Wenatchee after allowing two Cowlitz runs in the first inning of the contest. Carns threw six innings, giving up just the two runs. His start was potentially cut short after six innings, because he was hit by a line drive in the AppleSox dugout in the top half of the sixth inning. He immediately was removed from action, and received care in Longview.
He was backed by a five-run fifth inning attack from the AppleSox offense, which included three of the team’s nine steals – a new single game team record.
Evan Douglas and Keston Hiura each provided sacrifice flys in the inning, and Nick Nyquist and Drew Helmstadter each chipped-in with two-out RBI. A balk also forced home a run.
Hiura finished going 4-for-4. His only half inning without a hit was in the fifth when he sacrificed. Hiura joins four AppleSox players atop the all-time single game hit records with four, after his performance Saturday. He also hit his third triple of the season in the eighth inning, now placing him one three-bagger shy of tying the team’s single season record.
Wenatchee added two insurance runs in the sixth on a two-RBI single from Sheldon Liikala. He scored Hiura and Mitchell Holland, who got aboard via a single and hit by pitch.
In the seventh, Jake Hirabayashi singled, took second on an error in left field, and stole third base before a errant throw from Cowlitz’s cather went down the third base line. He scored on the play, moving himself around the base paths. It was the fifth error of the night for Cowlitz’s defense, which entered play with a league-low .937 fielding percentage.
Dustin Hamilton, from nearby Castle Rock, Wash. got to pitch the final three innings in front of friends and family. He earned a save for his three-inning effort, giving up one run in the eighth on an RBI single for Bowen Ogata.
Hamilton struck out a new single game high seven batters, including his last man, who was down looking at the game’s final strike.
Wenatchee returns home for a day off Sunday, and returns to the diamond for six-straight against the WCL East leading Kelowna Falcons. The first three game set is at Paul Thomas Sr. Field, Monday-Wednesday this week, and the home and home pairing concludes in Kelowna, Thursday-Saturday before the All Star Break.
WP: Chris Carns (1-3)
LP: Jake Nelson (2-1)
S: Dustin Hamilton (2)