WALLA WALLA – The AppleSox salvaged their series with Walla Walla and remain one game back of Victoria for first in the North after rallying late to beat the Sweets 5-3 Friday night at Borleske Stadium.
Wenatchee trailed by two heading into the 8th inning but scored four runs off back-to-back 2RBI singles from Hunter Montgomery and Kody Darcy to take the lead. Walla Walla made it interesting in the ninth, with the tying run at second base, but closer Landon Schirer got Ryan Johnston to line out to Johnny Sage to end the game.
After dropping the first two games of the series, though both were close, the AppleSox were in desperate need of a win to keep pace with Victoria, who beat Ridgefield 7-3 Friday night.
The AppleSox scored first after Sweets’ starter Ben Johnson walked in a run with the bases juiced, but Wenatchee mustered just two hits over the next five innings until loading them again in the eighth.
“After walking in one run with the bases loaded early in the game I looked over at (assistant coach) Cash Ulrich and said we were overdue, just waiting to cash in,” AppleSox head coach Kyle Krustangel said to broadcaster Joel Norman postgame. “Once they made the change to (Dimick) Wood, I liked the matchup with Montgomery, knowing he is aggressive early.”
“I told him to go have some fun and he got his pitch and didn’t miss. He’s been putting some good at-bats together… and I knew he was the right guy up for us. Can’t forget about Darcy, who had the 2RBI blow to give us the lead. The moment wasn’t too big and (we) found a way to get it done.”
Hunter Montgomery led the Sox with three hits, one of which was a one-out double in the fourth, and drove in a pair.
Jake Saum was brilliant for the AppleSox again, striking out nine and allowing two runs on four hits and three walks, but he received the no-decision. Reliever Ryan Isler picks up the win after tossing a one-run seventh and Schirer gets the six-out save, his sixth of the summer.
Schirer did get into a little bit of trouble after walking two straight batters with two outs in the ninth, but Montgomery went out to calm the closer down before Johnston stepped into the box.
His message: just pound the zone, “we all believe in you, get it done right here.”
And he did.
“Landon had to respond, with the music going and one base hit from tying it up, but he plugged up the zone and got a hard lineout to Sage,” Krustangel said. “It was interesting all the way through and the tail end of games all three nights had almost the same feeling.”
The AppleSox now make the long drive back to Wenatchee, where they will remain for the better part of the next two weeks with 10-straight at home – including a non-conference game against the Cascade Collegiate League on July 31.
Wenatchee opens a three-game set against the Portland Pickles Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
“We have a shot to control our own destiny and the ball is in our court,” Krustangel said.