PORT ANGELES, Wash. – The Wenatchee AppleSox (25-20, 10-8 second half) slammed the door on the Port Angeles Lefties (16-30, 6-13) in a 5-0 series-sweeping, complete-game shutout by freshman McKabe Cottrell, Thursday night at Civic Field at Port Angeles.
Cottrell (1-2) tossed Wenatchee’s first complete-game shutout since June 9, 2011, when Owen Jones (Portland) shutout the Kelowna Falcons over nine innings at Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium.
The Gonzaga freshman, Cottrell, struck out 10 batters, and joined Hunter Boyd and Jarrod Molnaa as the only other AppleSox players to strike out 10 in a game this season.
Wenatchee moved just a half a game out of first place in the WCL North Second Half, following Victoria’s loss to Kelowna, 9-7 across the Strait of Juan De Fuca at Royal Athletic Park.
The night started with McKabe Cottrell retiring the first 17 batters to face him. He was successful on 14-of-17 first-pitch strikes from the git-go.
Cottrell struck out two batters in each of the first and second innings, and received some tremendous plays behind him in the third inning, on a sliding catch in right field by Jalen Garcia, and an in-between chopper played in front of second base by Jacob Prater.
Prater also put the AppleSox in front in the third inning, with an RBI single, following a single and an error. Evan Johnson drove in the AppleSox second run of the night in the same inning, on an RBI groundout.
For Johnson, it was his 46th RBI of the year. It placed him in sole possession of the WCL lead, ahead of Bellingham’s Chase Illig and also places him two shy of tying Mitchell Gunsolus’ 2012 team record 48 runs batted in. Johnson needs an additional 5 RBI to tie Vince Fernandez (2014, Yakima Valley) for the most RBI in WCL history.
Adrian Vela padded Cottrells lead in the fourth, with a no-doubt solo home run over the left field fence. It was the only home run of the series to either side at Civic Field.
Cottrell had a perfect game going through 5.2 innings, and Port Angeles broke up the bid with a bunt single from Aki Buckson. Cottrell was unable to cover first, as his momentum after the pitch took him towards the third base line. First baseman Adrian Damla lunged to try to apply a tag to the runner, but it was too late.
Wenatchee but a couple more runs on the board in the seventh for a 5-0 lead on a sacrifice fly RBI from Prater into shallow right field. Jack Reisinger also drove in a runner on a single, with men at the corners. The AppleSox chewed through three Port Angeles relievers in the inning, after starter Aaron Charles (0-2) was lifted after his nine-strikeout outing.
Cottrell continued to frustrate the Lefties into the ninth inning. He allowed one more hit on a two-out double to Austyn Tengan, but got his final man of the night to pop out to right field, to complete the series sweep and season sweep (6-0) of the Port Angeles Lefties.
The win was Cottrell’s first at the collegiate level, and team’s second shutout of the year.
Wenatchee improved to 10-1 when not committing an error this season. In total, Cottrell retired 27 of 29 batters to face him, and did not issue a walk.
Wenatchee returns home to open a six-game homestand, Friday night. The first team into town is the Walla Walla Sweets, who swept the AppleSox to open the season. Wenatchee is looking for revenge at 7:05 p.m. with Steen Fredrickson on the mound.