WENATCHEE — It was a special night Monday for the Wenatchee AppleSox as they welcomed the U.S. Military All-Stars to Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium for a non-league game. Before the game, there was a special ceremony to honor a fallen local soldier.
“We’re going to honor a gold-star veteran who lost his life in the war. We’ll have what we call a walk of fame for his parents. They will be here to accept the American flag on our behalf. We’ll have the parents at midfield. We will honor their son playing Taps and the National Anthem,” said U.S. Military All-Stars Head Coach Thomas Eaton, in his interview with AppleSox Broadcaster Joel Norman pre-game. “We’re honoring all of our veterans, past, and present.”
The U.S. Military All-Stars put up a good game with the home AppleSox. Wenatchee jumped out to a four-run lead in the first inning. The All-Stars tied the game in the third 4-4. The AppleSox pushed ahead 5-4 in the bottom of third, only to see the All-Stars tie the game 5-5 in fifth.
Wenatchee would push ahead 8-5 in the sixth, then 13-6 in the eighth. The All-Stars rallied for a couple runs in the ninth to make the final 13-8. Wenatchee out-hit the U.S. Military All-Stars 14-12.
Dalton Harum was 1-for-2 with 3 RBIs and 3 walks. New catcher Justin Lutz, playing his first game with the AppleSox, went 1-for-3 with a homer and 2 RBIs.
“It was a really cool opportunity. I was glad to be able to play in this game. The ceremony before was really cool. It was fun to be a part of,” Lutz said to Norman after the game.
Wenatchee Head Coach Kyle Krustangel said it was a special game.
“After the pre-game ceremony, the guys realized it was much bigger than just a baseball game. It’s pretty special to see those guys who care so much about his country and then to honor the fallen soldiers from this area. It was just special,” Krustangel said to Norman postgame. “It was one of the coolest games I’ve been a part of. It’s not something you get to see and to have it against the Sox…that was special.”
Krustangel said he thanked every single guy for their service. He was impressed with how the All-Stars competed.
“You know you’re going to get a bunch of competitors. You know they are going to compete and play hard. That leadoff center fielder was flying everywhere. They held their own. One guy left the yard and several hits into the gaps,” Krustangel said to Norman. “It’s not their first rodeo. They are out there competing. When you can compete as a unit, you are going to stay in ball games.”
Eaton said his team is young, vibrant and energetic. The team is really coming together and jelling, he said, but they must disburse soon.
“I’m upset it is going to close out in the next seven games. Right now, these guys are really jelling together. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I hope we can get some more games next year,” Eaton told Norman.
The U.S. Military All-Star team is made of players from all five branches of the military, Eaton said. This past year, they had a huge tryout to pick the best of the best from the five branches. Next year, Eaton said they will have tryouts all across the country at various bases.
Wenatchee (4-2), fresh off a sweep of Bellingham, started a three-game series at Kelowna (1-5) on Tuesday. Results were not available before press time.