WENATCHEE — There’s really no other way to say it… the Sox are hot.
On Fire actually. Scorching.
After earning an 8-4 victory over Yakima Valley Sunday night, completing their fifth sweep of the season, the AppleSox (27-21, 15-6) have won seven games in-a-row and their last 12 at Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium — including two non-league games against Cascade Collegiate League and the US Military All-Stars. Right now, they’re the hottest team in the WCL, having won eight of their last 10.
As a result, the AppleSox are looking pretty heading into the final weeks of the regular season, tied atop the North in the second-half standings with a four-game cushion over Bellingham on overall record.
Even if Victoria sweeps Port Angeles twice over the next week, if Wenatchee can take two-of-three from Ridgefield, the AppleSox are playoff-bound for the first time in six years.
And considering the myriad of ways the Sox have found to win of late — which again were on display this weekend — they deserve it.
Wenatchee won with a walk-off walk Friday night, plated five over the final two frames to get Saturday’s win and then used a pair of homers and quality pitching to polish off the Pippins on Sunday.
Even with a portion of Wenatchee’s position players either gone or on their way out — to home or back to college — the Sox haven’t skipped a beat. Torin Montgomery, who arrived on this weekend, already has four hits, a home run and three RBIs in eight at-bats and Cody Simmons drove in a pair with a crucial two-out double on Saturday.
A few more position guys are expected to trickle in this week, but the one constant — at least in the second half — has been pitching.
Regardless of who gets the nod, Wenatchee’s starters keep turning in quality outings, which has given the Sox a chance once they turn it over to the pen. With Landon Shirer, Ryan Isler, Alex Jemal and Brett Gillis waiting in wings, the Sox just need five good innings to close out a game, and that’s essentially what they’ve gotten from their starters the past month.
Over their last 15 league games, AppleSox starters have posted a paltry 2.63 ERA in 82 innings and Wenatchee has won 11 times.
With a pitching staff that is largely going to remain intact over the final two weeks, the AppleSox have as good a shot as any to make a postseason run.
But that’s all just water-cooler chatter at this point. The focus is Ridgefield. Take care of them and it’s playoff time.