The Wenatchee AppleSox (8-12, 2-6 North), fifth place in the North Division are trying to keep the Victoria HarbourCats (16-3, 8-3 North) from coming up with a third-straight series sweep in the all-time series...Victoria set the WCL consecutive-win record two nights back with its 15th straight......the AppleSox are playing their 17th franchise season (12th in the WCL) and are led by second-year skipper, AJ Proszek (37-42) (.468), who is in his 4th season with the Sox...Proszek is assisted by Kyle Hunt and Colton Loomis, both in their first seasons.
LAST NIGHT -- APPLESOX 4, HARBOURCATS 9
WENACTHEE – The Wenatchee AppleSox (8-12), were overpowered by the Victoria HarbourCats (16-3), in a 9-4 loss Tuesday night at Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium...the HarbourCats jumped all over Luke Mattson (0-4) in the early innings of the contest...Joe Prior doubled home a run in the first, before three more scored in the second on a Cody Snider double and Jarron Silva triple...the AppleSox got to work in the third inning off of HarbourCat starter Jack Wolger (1-0)...Wolger received little help from his defense in the inning, An error at third base was the ‘Cats third of the game, and prolonged a three-run scoring inning for Wenatchee...Michael Toglia delivered the big punch on an RBI triple...the HarbourCats added two more runs in the fourth inning off of Mattson...off of the relief pitchers, one runner was brought around In the eighth, charged to Eli Thornquist. Miceal Taylor surrendered a two-run home run to Victoria’s Jake Stone...Wenatchee’s other scoring came in the seventh inning. An RBI single for Matt Fraizer brought home Ryan Kreidler to score...Good pitching by Victoria’s bullpen held the Sox out of the contest...Blake Hannah and Cameron Schneider pitched the final three innings, giving up just three hits and the one earned run...with the loss, Wenatchee is 8.5 games back of Victoria in the WCL North, with only seven first half games left to play...mathematically, they will not be able to catch Victoria for a first-half crown.
Wenatchee will look to regroup for the second half of WCL play in 2016...the new format could prove quite beneficial for the AppleSox, who started a league-worst 0-7 in 2016...they are playing 8-5 baseball since (.615).
Justin Blatner is trying to prove tonight that he is the AppleSox’ ace up on the hill...the left-hander has won each of his three outings this season (one non-league), which included a win over Corvallis to snap Wenatchee out of the season-opening 7-game losing streak...with an ERA below 1.00, a good start tonight should continue to place Blatner in the conversation for a chance at cracking the North’s All Star roster.
WHERE HE STACKS UP
Currently, Justin Blatner does not qualify for the league leaderboard (min. .8 inn. per team WCL game), but with a 5.1 inning start tonight, he would fulfill that requirement...his 0.77 ERA would be tied for third-best in the WCL, and tops amongst WCL North pitchers, while also ranking second amongst all left-handers.
HANDING ‘EM OUT
Last night, the AppleSox gave up a lot of free bases on walks...the nine walks allowed were most since giving up eight at Victoria June 7...Thornquist issued six free passes...Wenatchee has three pitchers ranking in the top-10 for most walks in the WCL, including Thornquist (10), Dobrash (13), and Mattson (13)...the only other team with three pitchers in that top-ten is Cowlitz.
The AppleSox pitching staff is in a major funk...through 20 games, Wenatchee is giving up 5.90 runs per game...the highest total allowed through the first 20 games since 2000 (6.53).
Not only has Victoria won 16-straight WCL games, they also have won 9-consecutive against Wenatchee over the last calendar year (an 11-10 loss in 11 innings at Victoria 6/28/15).
TROUBLE IN GAME THREE
So far this season, Wenatchee is 1-5 in the third and final games of series...twice the AppleSox have tried to fend off sweeps and failed this season.
A sweep for the HarbourCats tonight would mark the third-straight time they have swept the AppleSox in a series...a feat never accomplished by any AppleSox opponent.
WITH RUNNERS ON
Opponents are hitting .277 against the AppleSox this season, but once they get a man on base, they ramp it up to a .296 average with four home runs...the AppleSox are hitting .259 with runners on and only two home runs.
THE BIG THREE
After Victoria’s win last night, there are only three teams in the WCL with all-time above .500 records against the AppleSox (Bend/32-28, Yakima Valley/12-9, Victoria/12-11).