Wentz Powers Sweets past Toros, 7-1
Walla Walla-- Powered by Zach Wentz's third inning two-run double and fifth inning two-run home run, the Walla Walla Sweets completed a mini-sweep of the Portland Toros, 7-1, Wednesday night at Borleske Stadium.
Struggling at the plate to start the summer, Wentz broke out in a big way on Wednesday. With the score tied at 1-1 in the third and Portland starter Vince Schuetz nearly out of a jam, Wentz ripped a 1-1 offering off the top of the left-center field wall, scoring Alex Stanford (double) and Goose Kallunki (BB). The scored remained 3-1 until the fifth when Wentz crushed a 2-0 pitch from Schuetz over the left field wall, pushing the Sweets lead to four.
The offensive outburst was all the Sweets pitchers really needed. Making his first start since high school, lefty Tyler Billen gave up a run in the first inning but settled down to pitch five scoreless innings afterwards. He allowed one run (unearned) on three hits and struck out one over six innings, picking up his first win of the summer.
Walla Walla's defense did its part as well. Billen retired the leadoff batter in the fourth but a single and a walk had the Toros in business. The first pitch to Devin Higgins was lined to center and Alex Bonczyk got a great jump on the ball and made a sliding catch on his side, hopped to his feet and doubled the runner off of second to end the inning. The Sweets helped out Billen with another double play in the sixth. Back-to-back singles had runners on the corners with one out and Billen's 2-1 pitch was chopped to third. Kallunki charged, fielded and started a 5-4-3 double play that ended the inning and Billen's night on a high note.
The Sweets bullpen did the rest. Simon Anderson, making his first appearance of the summer, Drew Fittry and Tim Culligan tossed three hitless and scoreless innings of relief to close the door. Anderson got three ground outs in the seventh, Fittry walked one and struck out one in the eighth and Culligan set the Toros down 1-2-3 in the ninth with two ground outs and a game-ending strikeout via a split-finger.
Walla Walla erased a 1-0 Portland lead immediately with a run in the bottom of the first. Bonczyk started the game with a single, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Chance Kopacz's RBI single to left. After Wentz's two-run shot in the fifth, the Sweets tacked on another run on a bases-loaded walk and closed out their scoring in the seventh on an infield throwing error.
W2's offense was working all night, putting a baserunner on in each of the first seven innings. The only innings the Sweets didn't record a hit were the fourth and eighth innings. In all, the Sweets left 11 men on base but collected 11 hits. Bonczyk, Wentz and Campbell all had two hits, Kallunki scored twice and Michael Leach reached base three times with a double and two walks. Four different Toros had hits and Will Koenig scored the only Portland run in the top of the first on an infield error.
The win is the third straight for the Sweets and they finish their season-opening five-game homestand with a 4-1 record. After an off day on Thursday, Walla Walla hits the road for the first time this season when they travel to Longview for a three-game weekend series with the Cowlitz Black Bears. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6:35.
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West Coast League Stories from June 9, 2011
- Bells Set for Second Series - Bellingham Bells
- Dave Valle to be Honored at Bells Game - Bellingham Bells
- Black Bears Lose 4-2 - Cowlitz Black Bears
- Wentz Powers Sweets past Toros, 7-1 - Walla Walla Sweets
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