WENATCHEE, Wash. – The Wenatchee AppleSox (9-8) crushed three home runs, and Evan Johnson went the opposite way twice for his fifth and sixth home runs of the season, in an 8-7 win over the Gresham GreyWolves (6-11) Father’s Day at Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium.
Adrian Damla also jumped on the home run train, in his first at bat with the AppleSox, whacking a no-doubter over the right field fence. It was Damla’s second collegiate home run (the first came on Mother’s Day, May 14).
With the two home runs, Johnson has tied Corvallis slugger Jordan Qsar for the league lead in blasts. He is running away with the RBI race, with 21; six more than the next-closest WCL hitter.
The AppleSox first score came on Damla’s solo shot in the second inning. The left-handed hitter pulled it to right in his first at bat in an AppleSox uniform. Wenatchee piled on two more runs in the inning off of starter Andrew Hansen (1-2), thanks to an RBI single for Tanner Williams and a designed delayed steal that brought a run home from third base, when the catcher offered a throw to second.
Gresham clawed back throughout game two, and scored two third-inning runs off of starting pitcher Connor McCord (1-0) in his AppleSox debut. McCord buckled down to get an inning-ending groundout and preserve the 3-2 lead.
In the third, Johnson hit the first of his two home runs, a two-run shot following a Jacob Prater double. In the fourth, two more runs scored on an error at second base.
Gresham again cut the deficit in the fifth inning, with a 2-RBI double from Alec de Watteville. The AppleSox caught a third runner at the plate, who was ruled to have not touched the plate when he came in to try and score.
With a 7-4 lead, the AppleSox surrendered another two runs in the sixth inning when Michael Spellacy entered in relief for his AppleSox debut. An RBI double and an RBI single got Gresham within a run.
The AppleSox got out of the inning on a strikeout by Cameron Kurz, who was also making his debut. In total, four AppleSox pitchers struck out 15 Gresham batters – the most since July 16, 2014 at Walla Walla (20).
Johnson’s second home run of the game came in the seventh inning, for the eighth and eventual game-winning run. For a second time on the night, Johnson hit it opposite way to right field. It was his second multi-home run game of the season.
Gresham’s final run came in a thrilling ninth inning with Hugh Smith (save) on the mound. An RBI triple trimmed the AppleSox lead to 8-7, and put the tying run at third base. Smith struck out his fourth batter of the night, a pinch hitter, to win the game for Wenatchee and strand the tying run at third base.
The AppleSox lead the series 2-0 and play for the sweep, Monday, at 7:05 p.m. Left-hander McKabe Cottrell (0-0) will get the start for Wenatchee.