What a series. Shutouts were traded in a series for just the second time in Sweets history, and it ends with a walk-off from Clayten Ayres, the hero from WWCC's Super Regional final in May. Let's walk it back first, though, and go to Wednesday night, when things weren't so great after a one-hit shutout. Frank Mutz talked about changing the approaches of his hitters but also spent a lot of time praising the efforts of his pitching staff, like Chris Tate, who threw a season-high eight strikeouts in three innings out of the bullpen.
Several players have joined the Sweets over the last 72 hours, starting with Moe Handcox on Tuesday, then Paul Heywood and Matt Whitney before Wednesday's game, and Joe DeMers, Willie MacIver, Trevin Hazeltine, and returner Kyle Nixon yesterday afternoon. Mutz said the extra depth will be valuable, particularly in the outfield.
Hechtner did get the night off, although he came in as a pinch runner when Skipper cleared the bench late in Thursday's game. So let's move forward a night to another tenth inning game that went much differently. Take it away, Frank!
Wenatchee only brought seven pitchers on the road trip, and Colton Loomis, who came in for the excellent C.J. Gettman in the eighth, was the seventh. Cooper Powell was pretty outstanding on the mound for the Sweets, too, and handed in the first quality start for a Sweets pitcher this year after his start last Saturday broke down in the fourth. The Nevada lefty says he's shaking off the rust.
He also kept his team in the contest. Then Alex Fisher came in and threw two very impressive innings, and Cam Richman shut the door in the tenth after giving up a run in the ninth and pitched very well overall. The staff is getting better, and Mutz says it's not just the talent coming in, but also the pitching coach, Jim Ozella.
The pitchers are no doubt excited for him to be here, too, considering he has this guy and this guy on his coaching C.V., just to name a couple. (It's also his birthday
Clayten Ayres was the big hero of the night Thursday, and the Kennewick native said dramatic wins like that keep the juices flowing.
Ayres also said the staff has approached him about sticking around for the long haul, along with Walla Walla CC teammates Jake Simmons and Dylan Wilbert. Mutz confirmed the move.
There it is, straight from the proverbial horse's mouth.
Walla Walla travels to Yakima tomorrow for a 7:05 contest. The Pippins just dropped their first game of the season, a 6-5 defeat in Kelowna at the hands of the Falcons. Micah Gorman gets the start.