WENATCHEE — Forget the first few innings, the AppleSox just need to be within striking distance by the fifth and they’re golden.
That’s when they hit their stride.
Trailing 6-4, the AppleSox put up a 12 spot in the fifth inning Friday night against the Cowlitz Black Bears and won 19-9, securing their fourth straight league win.
The fifth inning fiesta was, in reality, a walk-fest; Wenatchee drew seven walks in the inning and three batters got plunked. Cowlitz made a pair of pitching changes in the inning, but all three guys (Eli Takalo, Dale Takalo and Matty Fung) couldn’t locate their pitches. After walking in four runs, Michael O’Hara connected on an (0-1) fastball and hammered it over the right-field fence for a Grand Slam. Adam Grob followed up two batters later with a two-run home run, his fourth of the summer, punctuating the 12-run rally.
Wenatchee padded its lead with three more runs in the sixth, scoring off an RBI double from Aidan Selfridge and a triple from Garrett Cutting.
Over the last four games, the AppleSox has scored 43 of their 51 total runs in the fifth inning or later. They’ve dominated relief pitching and punished the guys who can’t spot up consistently.
Combined with last week’s non-league two-game sweep over the NW Star Academy, Wenatchee has won its last six games. Still two games back of Bellingham — who are currently playing the Highline Bears in a three-game set — Wenatchee looks like a playoff team. This has been their best stretch of the summer.
It was fairly back-and-forth early on Friday night with both teams plating a run in the first inning. Cowlitz took a 5-1 lead in the second after Wenatchee’s Jack Lee gave up back-to-back doubles to Sam Brown and Wilson Weber. The Australian native settled down after the second inning and pitched well over his final three frames, finishing with seven strikeouts and the decision.
Tyler Chipman pitched two innings of relief, allowing three runs to come in before Jadon Williamson and Cole Bertram closed out the eighth and ninth.
O’Hara led the team with four RBIs and finished (3-for-4) with a home run, walk and a hit-by-pitch. Grob drove in three and finished (2-for-3) with a home run, two walks and a hit-by-pitch. Cutting was (2-for-3) with three RBIs and Selfridge finished (1-for-5) with three runs and two RBIs.
The AppleSox will look to make it five in-a-row Saturday night to take their second straight series. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m.