WENATCHEE, Wash. - The Wenatchee AppleSox (29-25, 14-13) finished the 2017 season in a 12-1 loss at home to the Corvallis Knights. More importantly, they were able to pay special tribute to teammate Tommy Watanabe, who passed away unexpectedly this past weekend, after playing with the AppleSox through July 22.
Watanabe was the starting pitcher in the team’s final game, and his teammates took his jersey to the mound one final time for a moment of silence and pregame Anthem.
The AppleSox organization sends its deepest condolences to Tommy’s family. They, and all who know him, will stay in the team’s hearts forever.
Wenatchee also honored each of its host families in the pregame, and would like to extend a warm ‘thank you’ to all who housed the players and staff this year. Without their willingness to make AppleSox team members part of their families each summer, 18 seasons of AppleSox Baseball wouldn’t be possible.
First and Second-Half South-Champion Corvallis, played to its WCL-leading record, Monday. The AppleSox converted late for their final run, following a single for Wenatchee product, Cody Simmons, and an RBI double for fellow former Wenatchee High School graduate, Jacob Prater.
In total, 42 young men donned the red, white, and blue, for the AppleSox this summer, and earned the team’s best finish since 2014.
Evan Johnson finished tied with Kelowna’s Taylor Wright for the new West Coast League record in Runs Batted In, with 54. They passed the old record of 51, held by Vince Fernandez (2014) of the Yakima Valley Pippins.
Collin Maier tied for the WCL lead with six wins, and the team finished with its best home run total, clubbing 32.
The team’s 16 home league wins (19 overall) were the most since the 2013 squad won 20 games in WCL play at Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium. The AppleSox also set a league single-game scoring record, when they plated 25 at home, back in June against Yakima Valley.
Monday, fans had the opportunity to bid on the replica Wenatchee Chiefs uniforms that they players wore throughout the 2017 season, in honor of the 80th Anniversary of the establishment of the old Wenatchee Chiefs minor league baseball franchise in Wenatchee. A portion of the proceeds went to the Wenatchee High School Interact Club’s Habitat for Humanity Project.
Over 25,000 fans saw the AppleSox play in 2017, and the team couldn’t be more grateful for the support of the local community, sponsors, players, and coaching staff. The AppleSox say ‘thank you’ for a tremendous season, and can’t wait to continue the tradition next June, in the team’s 19th season.
Photos by Alyssa Taylor