Knights loseAugust 19, 2012 - West Coast League (WCL) Corvallis Knights
Host Wenatchee erupted for 14 hits and parlayed some uncharacteristically- poor defense and pitching by the Knights into an 8-3 victory on Saturday in the decisive Game 3 of the West Coast League Championship Series.
A Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium crowd of 1,070 celebrated as the Knights (40-24) lost three fly balls in the lights, threw four wild pitches, ended a potential rally with a baserunning error, had only three hits in the final seven innings and made things far too easy for the AppleSox in the first Game 3 in team history.
It was the fifth WCL title for the AppleSox, who also were champions in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010. It was also the second time they'd defeated the Knights in the finals; they prevailed in 2009 after losing to Corvallis in 2008.
Outfielder Nate Blackham had two hits, an RBI and threw a runner out at home but that could not overcome the Knights' litany of mistakes. Second baseman Chris Rabago added two hits and an RBI; Nate Roberts and Marc Gallegos had two hits each.
Corvallis fell in a big first-inning hole for the second time in the series when the AppleSox roughed up starter Trevor Frank for three hits and three runs, aided by two walks and a wild pitch, to surge ahead.
The Knights rallied for three themselves in the second, on RBI singles by Rabago and Blackham and Connor Hofmann's sacrifice fly. But Frank - who entered the game with a 0.47 ERA - was not sharp and the AppleSox went back ahead with single runs in the second and third.
The Knights totally disintegrated in the fourth. With one out, the Knights lost three routine popups or fly balls in the lights and all fell for hits. The third came with two runners on, landed behind Hofmann in center field and became a gift 3-run inside-the-park homer for Taylor Sparks to give Wenatchee an insurmountable 8-3 advantage.
Knights' three-year veteran pitcher Max Beatty completed his remarkable recovery from off-season cancer by throwing 3.1 innings of scoreless relief. He struck out three and kept the deficit from growing any larger.
The Knights lost for the third time in five Championship Series appearances. They swept Wenatchee in 2008 and Walla Walla in 2011l and were swept by Moses Lake in 2007 and Wenatchee in 2010 in their other finals.
West Coast League Stories from August 19, 2012
- Knights lose - Corvallis Knights
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