WENATCHEE — The first game of the series has not been kind to AppleSox this season and it continued Tuesday on Coyote Bobblehead night as Wenatchee fell to (3-7) in series-openers and (1-4) in games following a day off after losing 4-2 against the Bend Elks at Paul Thomas Sr Stadium.
The AppleSox were able to get runners on but could not do anything with them, finishing 2-for-11 with men on and 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position — both runs came by way of a hit-by-pitch and groundout.
Wenatchee was just trying to do too much against starter Greg Blackman, who was making his first start of the season.
“I didn’t like our approach early on,” Krustangel said. “Blackman was an average starter in the West Coast League (WCL), his fastball wasn’t anything special or moving that much, but we were trying to lift the ball out of the yard. Then going to the pen, we faced four different arms and had too many (strikeouts). We have to be satisfied with hard contact and not going for the fences.”
The only AppleSox player who really had a good day at the dish was Johnny Sage, who reached base in all four of his at-bats with a double, single and two walks.
Cole McKenzie ripped a double to the wall in the seventh and drove in the AppleSox first run of the game on an RBI hit-by-pitch in the fifth, but aside from that, there were a lot of pop flys and strikeouts — in total 11 k’s and nine fly balls.
“I think in our pre-two strike approach we were doing too much and pulling our head out — a typical sign of trying to leave the yard as opposed to line drives middle to pull or oppo(site) gap,” Krustangel said. “We have to shorten up a little bit and put contact out there and make errors work. It’s easy to catch fly balls so we need to stick to a line drive approach.”
“We saw a little less velocity than we were used to and I think guys saw that and were licking their chops, but when you do too much you can roll through innings with weak contact and strikeouts. That’s a guy (Blackman) we can hang a big number on.”
Sam Wyatt got the start for Wenatchee on the other side and was working on another decent outing before a slip up in the fifth led to a two-run home run by Brad Morgan that extended the Bend lead to 3-0.
Wyatt lasted five innings, striking out three, walking one and allowing three runs to come in.
Both Brett Gillis and Brett Garcia were solid in two innings of relief, with Gillis striking out six and Garcia allowing only one hit and punching out a pair.
But despite the pitching, the bats didn’t come through. Wenatchee had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth and runners on second and third with one out in the seventh, and both times the AppleSox pushed across only one run.
These games are going to happen in a 54-game season, it was just one of those days. Unfortunately, the AppleSox have just started to make a habit of it in series openers.
Wenatchee continues its three-game set with Bend Wednesday night at 6:35 p.m. Both teams have played each other in four straight games, with the series tied at 2-2. Ryan Long (0-2) is listed as the probable starter for Wenatchee.