KELOWNA, British Columbia — The Wenatchee AppleSox’ pitching staff may not be what is was just weeks ago for the, but the hitters and closer Tyler Kane are picking up the slack on the team’s final road trip.
The AppleSox smacked 14 hits to help out their injury-riddled pitching staff, and Kane notched a West Coast League-record 12th save to close out a tense 7-6 win over the Kelowna Falcons on Monday night.
The win, which followed up an offensive onslaught by the Sox in a 17-8 Sox victory on Sunday, puts the WCL-leading Sox at 30-15, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Bellingham Bells for first place in the East Division with nine games to go.
“Boy, that’s a really big win,” Wenatchee manager Ed Knaggs said after Monday’s game on KPQ Radio. “We had to do some things to get that. … We had some clutch hitting, and a big, big hit by Ryan Howell late.”
Howell, who was also a big part of Sunday’s win, hit a two-out, two-run double off Kelowna’s David Cagle in the top of the eighth inning to erase a one-run Sox deficit and put them ahead for good.
AppleSox reliever K.J. Edson, who earned the win to improve to 5-0, recorded two outs in the bottom of the eighth but left with two runners on. Kane recorded the final out of the frame, however, then struck out one in a perfect ninth inning to get his record-setting save.
“I couldn’t be more excited for Tyler getting the save record for the league,” Knaggs said. “It says a lot about that guy, how he prepares himself to pitch on back-to-back days and stay healthy. He’s kind of our leader on the mound. He’s a good guy and works hard so congratulations to him.”
Ty Moore (3-4, two RBI, one run) gave Wenatchee a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single, but the Falcons tied it with an unearned run in the fourth inning off AppleSox starter Beau Kerns.
Kerns allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits and three walks in five innings to take a no decision.
Wenatchee countered with three runs, including RBI singles by Jeff Stephens and Ty Moore, to take the lead in the fifth inning, but the Falcons plated one in the fifth, one in the sixth and three in the seventh to take a 6-5 advantage.
The newest AppleSox, catcher Curtis Wildung, was 1 for 3 in his debut with the team.
“We really like what we saw. We’re just lucky that he was available,” Knaggs said of Wildung, a rising sophomore for Pacific Lutheran University.
AppleSox 17, Falcons 8 (Sunday)
A nine-run AppleSox outburst in the fifth inning broke a 4-4 tie and propelled them to victory in Kelowna.
Wenatchee took advantage of six walks and a hit batter during the rally, and every player in the batting order plated in the frame.
Howell had three hits to lead the AppleSox in the victory, including a double, his third home run of the year, four RBI and three runs scored.
Five other Wenatchee players drove in two runs apiece, and leadoff man Stephen Ventimilia scored four runs and stole his team-leading 15th base.
Kelowna scored four runs in the fourth inning to crawl back from an initial 4-0 hole.