VICTORIA, Canada — The Wenatchee AppleSox are starting to get hot. The team has reeled off six wins in a row over the past week against Walla Walla, Port Angeles, and Highline.
On June 16, Wenatchee beat Walla Walla 11-10 at home. The AppleSox beat Port Angels 7-3 on June 18, 9-5 on June 19 and 12-2 on June 20, all on the road. Wenatchee beat Highline 11-2 last Saturday and 14-6 on Sunday at home.
“We finally have the guys in the correct positions. The guys have been jelling. I really like our squad. We have good pitching and defense. When we have that, usually good things are going to happen,” said Wenatchee Head Coach Kyle Krustangel. “We have been scoring at will. We’ve just had the whole package.”
With the wins, the AppleSox have climbed back into the race in the West Coast League’s North Division. Wenatchee is now in fourth place at 7-8.
Krustangel the biggest reason for the turnaround has been consistency.
“We’ve been really consistent in all three phases of the game. Before, I felt like there was one phase that was hindering us. With pitching, defense and offense, we’ve been extremely consistent in the past week. It’s led to six straight wins,” he said.
The streak has not been against inferior teams, he said, but rather the AppleSox have just played really well. In most of the games, Wenatchee has jumped out to a big lead.
“When you get up big in the first three innings, it’s tough to rebound,” he said. “Our starting pitchers were dynamite. The pitchers out of the pen were also tough. It was a combination of getting leads early, then pitching and playing defense.”
Most of the AppleSox team is now in place, Krustangel said. They are still waiting for one more player. Seven new players have arrived in the past week. Krustangel the timing was good since they played two non-conference games against Highline.
“It gave us a chance to see all the new arms. We saw half the position guys play a game or two. We were able to evaluate in a couple of games that really don’t matter for the West Coast League,” he said. “That was nice, getting those game to get a look and take a peak. I think those guys are really going to add to the team we have.”
Next up for the AppleSox, a three-game series at Victoria. Bellingham currently leads the North standings with a 12-6 record. Victoria is in second at 11-7. The Harbourcats beat the AppleSox two-of-three games at home to open the season.
Krustangel is expecting three tough games up north.
“You have to go out there and get game one. I think they are like us. They are consistent in all phases and have quality arms and good bats. I look forward to the test. I think whoever wins game one probably takes the series,” he said.
Having won six in a row does give his team the edge, Krustangel feels.
“Winning is contagious. Losing is contagious. When you are riding a six-game win streak, guys have an expectation to win. When you get down early, guys trust the process. There is something to be said about coming off a nice win streak. You want to just keep rattling them off,” he said.
After Victoria, Wenatchee stays on the road to play three games at Cowlitz. The Black Bears, at 5-13, are currently in last place in the WCL South Division. The Sox return home on Tuesday, July 2 for a three-game series with Kelowna, the last place team in the WCL North.