WENATCHEE – The AppleSox couldn’t have asked for a better start to their 2019 playoffs.
Starter Jake Saum was on point, the offense scratched across five runs on eight hits and Wenatchee took a one-game lead in the series after beat the Victoria HarbourCats 5-1 Tuesday night at Paul Thomas Sr.
Wenatchee jumped on top in the first inning and that was all Saum needed. The southpaw allowed just four hits and punched out 10 in seven quality innings.
“We knew if we got him a lead early he could throw up some zeroes in a hurry and he sure did that,” head coach Kyle Krustangel said of Saum after the game. “He’s special and he is going to hear his name in the early rounds when he becomes eligible for the MLB draft as a junior. He can carry the load and I think that’s 15 straight scoreless innings. I’ve said this before, but he is the best arm in the WCL.”
After scoring in the first, the AppleSox tacked on another in the third before opening things up with a three-run fourth thanks to a 2RBI double from Tanner Smith, followed by an RBI-single from Jermaine Ducham.
Both guys drove in two apiece and collected four of the eight Wenatchee hits, which is a good sign for the AppleSox.
“With a lack of guys that have been here we’re going to need the middle of the order to shoulder the load, but we have some nice additions in Tanner, who’s played a lot at Oregon, Torin (Montgomery) and Jermaine,” Krustangel said. “If we can get the bottom of the order to get on base and set the table we’ll have some good run support for the starters, who we like going forward.”
It might have been the first playoff game in Wenatchee in the past six years, but the crowd came out in full force and made their presence known.
If might have been a Tuesday night, but it felt like a playoff atmosphere.
“The crowd was awesome tonight, hopefully, we can give us another home game here, (on Saturday),” Krustangel said.
The Sox now head up to Victoria, where they will play games two (and three if needed). If they win the series, game one in the championship series will be in Wenatchee on Saturday night.
Seth Kuykendall will get the nod Wednesday night in Victoria as the Sox look to wrap the series up on the road and get a couple of days off. If needed, Gavin Gorrell is scheduled for game three.
First pitch is at 6:30 p.m.