WENATCHEE, Wash. – The Wenatchee AppleSox (26-21, 11-9 second half) came back from two deficits to take down the Walla Walla Sweets (23-24, 8-12), 7-6 to draw even in the three-game series at Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium, Saturday night.
The Walla Walla Sweets jumped to the early lead on Alek Jacob (1-0) in his collegiate debut. The Sweets scored three runs on two AppleSox errors and RBI singles for Nick Nyquist and Jake Suddleson.
Wenatchee came right back with four runs of its own in the bottom half of the first inning off of Scott Parker (2-4). The AppleSox rattled off four-straight hits to start the game, including RBI singles for Evan Johnson and Jalen Garcia.
The RBI for Johnson was the first of two on the night, which tied him with Mitchell Gunsolus (2012) for the most RBI in an individual’s single season for the AppleSox.
The Sweets regained control of the contest in the third inning on an error at second base that scored two more runs. Walla Walla brought one of the runs all the way home from first base for a 5-4 lead.
Wenatchee grabbed the lead for good in the fourth inning when Dugan Shirer delivered an RBI walk with the bases loaded, and Johnson grounded out for his second RBI of the night and a 6-5 lead.
Shirer extended the lead to two on Matt Amrhein in the sixth inning with a solo home run to right field. The home run was the first of Shirer’s collegiate career, and the team’s 30th of the season. Shirer also became the 17th different AppleSox player to hit a home run this season.
Walla Walla inched a run closer against Hugh Smith in the seventh inning, on an RBI single.
Connor Leedholm took over in the eighth inning with a 7-6 lead and struck out the Sweets’ side. In the ninth, he faced some adversity after an error at third base and a single. With runners at first and second, Leedholm fielded a comebacker for out number two, and won the game on a fly ball to center field, which stranded runners at second and third base.
It was Leedholm’s fifth save of the season, and the win evened the series for the AppleSox, who are still 1.5 games behind the Victoria HarbourCats, who won Saturday night over Cowlitz. Bellingham also defeated Kelowna and remains 1.5 games behind the HarbourCats, tied with the AppleSox.
The series finale between the Sweets and AppleSox is Sunday night at 6:05 p.m. Mike Townsend will get the start for the Wenatchee AppleSox.