WENATCHEE — The Wenatchee AppleSox had won six games in a row before heading out on their six-game road trip to Victoria and Cowlitz last week. The AppleSox were swept in the three-game series by the Victoria Habourcats.
They lost 14-5 in game one, 5-4 in 10 innings in game two and 13-12 in 11 innings in game three. Wenatchee Head Coach Kyle Krustangel said games two and three were two of the best offensive games he’s seen in a couple of years in the West Coast League.
“Both teams have stacked lineups. They were back and forth ball games. A fan could not ask for anymore,” Krustangel said. “We fell on the short end of both games. I was really happy with the fight of the guys and how we played. There was really one break in each game that led to those two loses. They have a good squad over there and played well.”
Krustangel said the Victoria series was really the first where they had their whole team together. There were four pitchers he had not seen, but they were thrown into the fire. A couple did well and a couple did not.
“We know what those guys are like and they can get put in their proper roles, which will help. I really liked the road trip. Our guys jelled and were close,” he said.
The offense exploded against Cowlitz, winning the first two games 10-2 and 10-1. They lost the final game of the series 10-5.
Krustangel likes where the offense is now, averaging about 10 runs per game.
“The defense is a lot better. We’re looking to take off quickly and build off the Cowlitz series. We were really two plays away from being 4-2 and winning both series on the road,” he said.
In game three against the Black Bears, the AppleSox fell into a hole early but battled back to tie the game at 5-5 late.
“We got the ball to the right guys on the mound and both gave up a couple of runs. That was a well-earned game from Cowlitz. They earned it. They played as good of baseball as they have in a while,” Krustangel said.
Wenatchee fell to 9-12 on the season, fourth place in the WCL’s North Division. Victoria currently leads the North with a 17-7 record. Cowlitz is last in the WCL South Division with a 6-15 record.
Coming to town for a three-game series, starting on Tuesday is the Kelowna Falcons, which are bringing up the rear the North with a 6-14 record.
“I’m excited. I feel like we got the right three arms against them. We’re a whole new team in the past week than we were in the first 10-15 games. I feel like we have the right group of guys here. We have guys in the right spots,” Krustangel said. “We knew once we got everyone in, we would be a very offensive team. We’re leading in a lot of categories. I look for those numbers to keep going up.”
Wenatchee is third in team batting in the WCL behind Victoria and Corvallis. The AppleSox are near the bottom of the league for pitching and fielding.
Krustangel said he does not know much about Kelowna. He feels like you can’t really know a team until you have played them since they are picking up players from all over the country.
The Wenatchee coach is especially looking forward to the big crowd on July 3, which is the annual fireworks night.
“Last year’s fireworks night was absolutely packed. It was awesome. There were 2,000 plus fans. We had a crazy game. Having the fans is huge, especially knowing they’ll be there the whole game due to the fireworks. I look forward to giving the fans a show,” Krustangel said.
After the Kelowna series, the AppleSox hit the road again on Friday to start a three-game series at Bend. The Elks are currently 10-11, fourth place, in the WCL South.