WALLA WALLA — AppleSox reliever Michael DeFelippi got himself into a bit of a pickle Tuesday against the Walla Walla Sweets.
Filling in for starter Cole Hatton, who was dealing for five innings, the Pacific junior loaded the bases after giving up three straight singles to start the sixth. But DeFelippi worked out of the jam, fanning the next two Sweets before getting Cayden Delozier to line out to Tino Bethancourt to squash the threat and end the inning.
Walla Walla mustered just one hit the rest of the game; Skylar Hales earned the three-inning save and punched out four batters while walking one. Wenatchee scored one in the first, two in the second and then four in the ninth to win 7-1 over the Sweets at Borleske Stadium.
It was a crucial win for the AppleSox (12-19, 2-5), who are just a game back of the Sweets for second place in the division over the second half of the season.
Michael O’ Hara, who had been hitless in his last three games, led off Tuesday with a double. He would score two batters later on an RBI triple from Adam Grob, who leads the team with 23 RBIs.
The AppleSox plated two more runs in the fourth after Bethancourt and Luc Stuka both got on to lead off the inning. Two pitches into the next at-bat, Wenatchee ran a double-steal and Bethancourt scored after the catcher's throw bounced into left field. Stuka later came around on a sac-fly from Garrett Cutting.
But Wenatchee’s bats went cold for the next four innings. And Walla Walla started to build a little momentum. The Sweets cut into the AppleSox lead in the fifth, scoring their lone run of the game on an RBI triple from Chris Conniff. Walla Walla had runners on second and third with only one out and looked poised to, at the very least, level the score at 3-3. Stuka had other plans.
Walla Walla’s Seth Ryberg ripped a screamer toward the second base gap but Stuka made a diving snag before flipping the ball over to Grob to double off Paul Myro and end the inning.
The Sweets then squandered their bases-loaded opportunity in the sixth before the AppleSox put the game out of reach with a four-run ninth. Coming into the final inning, Walla Walla had retired 13-of-15 AppleSox, including nine in a row at one point. But the AppleSox came alive with five hits in the frame, scoring on a pair of two-RBI singles from John Newman Jr. and Dakota Duffalo.
Hatton (1-1) earned his first win of the season after tossing five innings, giving up five hits, three walks and striking out five. Hatton has been lights out the past two weeks after struggling to start the season. He’s allowed just three runs through 9.2 innings and struck out 12. Hales' ERA drops to 2.13 — good for second on the team behind DeFilippi’s 2.07.
The AppleSox are expected to give Logan Mercado (2-1) the ball for Wednesday’s game against the Sweets. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. Fans can follow the broadcast on Sunny FM.