Wenatchee AppleSox Host WCL Playoff Game on Tuesday
Joel Norman AppleSox Media Playoff Preview
The Wenatchee AppleSox begin the postseason Tuesday, August 8th with the best-of-three games North Division Series against the Victoria HarbourCats.
This is the 15th time in franchise history that the AppleSox have made it to the postseason and the third time in the last four years after missing the playoffs from 2014-18. Head coach Mitch Darlington has qualified for the postseason for the second time in as many years at the helm, becoming the first AppleSox head coach in AppleSox history to make the postseason in each of his first two seasons.
Wenatchee finished the regular season with a 37-17 record. Its 19-8 record in the first half was the team's best mark in either half since the West Coast League adopted the two-halves playoff format in 2016. The AppleSox also broke single-season franchise records for home victories (21), home game winning streak in league play (12), three-game series sweeps (eight), most home runs hit in a league game (four on July 13), players used in a single summer (56) and walks drawn (299).
Second baseman Frankie Carney finished the regular season with a .356 average in 42 games, the second-best in the WCL. It’s also tied with 2015 alum and fellow UC Irvine product Keston Hiura for the third-best mark by an AppleSox hitter to play at least 40 regular-season games. Carney ended the summer on a 16-game hitting streak, the longest by an AppleSox player this summer and the third-longest in the entire WCL.
Victoria won the second-half title by going 19-7 in it and finished 38-15 overall. The HarbourCats' 25-2 record at home broke their franchise's and the WCL's single-season record. They also shattered the league record for stolen bases with 150 steals, breaking their record of 149 a year ago. The HarbourCats also led the WCL in runs (359), hits (510), RBI (296), total bases (685), batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.388) and slugging percentage (.379). Gonzaga commit Hudson Shupe led the team with a .353 batting average, third-best in the WCL.
The AppleSox and the HarbourCats have met in the postseason once before in 2019. Victoria won the final two games of the series to take the series. Wenatchee won Game 1 behind seven shutout innings, 10 strikeouts, four hits and no walks from Jake Saum. The HarbourCats broke open Game 2 with a three-run fifth inning to earn a 7-2 win to even the series. Game 3 was an instant classic as the AppleSox, down to their final out, scored four runs in the top of the ninth to turn a 5-3 deficit into a 7-5 lead. Wenatchee failed to record an out in the bottom of the inning as Victoria walked it off to clinch the series and earn a berth in the West Coast League Championship Series. Current AppleSox pitching coach Mike Callia pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in Game 1 against Wenatchee.
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Game 1 will be at Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium on Tuesday night. Tickets are available starting at $5 and can be purchased at applesox.com/2023-schedule. The series shifts to Victoria for Game 2 on Wednesday night and Game 3 will be played on Thursday at Royal Athletic Park, if necessary.