WENATCHEE — A game after being held to just one hit, the AppleSox submitted one of their most complete performances of the still young season, opening up their series against the Kitsap BlueJackets with a 3-0 win.
Starting pitcher Vaughn Berberet made fast work of the BlueJackets despite throwing 8 complete innings. Berberet allowed only three hits and six baserunners total.
“Vaughn got in a little bit of trouble in the first, got out of it, and then he wasn’t in any trouble,” AppleSox head coach Ed Knaggs said after the game. “He worked fast and he was impressive. Mixed things up and his changeup is a pretty good pitch. In the middle of the game, it seemed like he said, ‘Alright, I’m going to throw my fastball a little faster.’ I would love to see the chart on that.”
Berberet had 1-2-3 frames in five of the eight innings he took the mound. He struck out the side in the seventh and needed only 92 pitches despite eating up so many innings.
“I used the golden rule: Get ahead early and once you do you’re in control and that makes it that much easier,” Berberet said. “My stuff was on point. I was working the black on the outside corner and that was really beneficial today for helping me succeed.”
Berberet also got help from his defense, which didn’t commit an error the entire game and from his closer, West Coast League single-season record holder, Tyler Kane. Kane entered the game in the ninth, allowed a leadoff hit, and then recorded three straight outs, stranding the runner on third when he struck out pinch hitter Connor Jones on three pitches.
“That’s pretty standard for him,” Knaggs said.
The Sox offense finally supplied some run support for their pitchers Friday. Second baseman Grant Palmer started the scoring when he hit a single through the infield in the bottom of the third. Palmer eventually reached third by advancing on a single and stealing a base. He was plated by an Andre Real sacrifice fly. Real is leading the team in RBIs with 9.
“Six (hits) felt like an absolute slugfest for us the way we’ve been swinging the bats lately,” Knaggs said.
Berberet received some insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh when right fielder Ryan Barr led off with a walk. Catcher Joey Harris scored the speedy Portland Pilot two hitters later.
“Neat to see Joey get a big hit,” Knaggs said.
Fans got their first look at Washington State standout Jason Monda on Friday, who went 3-for-3 with a walk. The left-handed Monda led off the eighth with a single down the left field line, and scored when first baseman Connor Spencer — of UC Irvine — hit a double into the left-center power alley.
Monda looked like the sixth-round pick that he was Friday, hitting balls to all fields and making it look easy covering a lot of ground in center field.
“You can just tell by his swing, he’s able to drive the ball that is away,” Knaggs said about Monda. “His bat is in the zone longer than other guys. The ball just shoots down the line. The the ball he hits to right is a ball that he’s out in front of, but his bat is able to stay in that zone and he keeps it fair where a lot of guys would hit it over the (Wenatchee Valley College) gym or on to the tennis courts.”
The two-way powerhouse will take the mound Saturday against Kitsap and Knaggs said he will most likely stay in the lineup as well.
“He is a special player,” Knaggs said. “It’s going to be neat to see him pitch (Saturday), it’ll be fun.”
For live updates from games, follow AppleSox beat writer, Jacob Palmer, on Twitter — @JPalmWW.