Wenatchee Blasts 4 Homers To Sweep Nanaimo
JOEL NORMAN APPLESOX MEDIA
For the first time in their 23-year franchise history the Wenatchee AppleSox hit four home runs in a league game and defeated the Nanaimo NightOwls, 18-1, on Thursday night at Serauxmen Stadium.
Nick Putnam Frankie Carney, Josh Williams and Izzy Lopez all went deep as the AppleSox earned their fifth series sweep. Wenatchee (25-8) also won its sixth consecutive game to set a new high for the 2023 season. The AppleSox still hold the best winning percentage (.758) in the West Coast League while improving to 6-0 in the second half.
Wenatchee scored three-or-more runs in an inning four times on Thursday night and tallied at least one run in each of the final five innings to mark the third time in the last four games that they have scored double-digit runs and the ninth time overall this summer. The AppleSox’ 17-run victory was also their largest margin of victory this summer and since defeating the NightOwls by the same amount on July 10, 2022.
With their four-homer night the AppleSox have now surpassed last summer’s output in 21 fewer games. Wenatchee hit 18 home runs in 54 games last year but is now tied with Victoria for first in the WCL with 19 home runs. They hit six home runs in the three-game sweep of Nanaimo with all of them coming in the final two games.
The AppleSox also drew 13 walks, two away from matching their season-high on June 10 against the HarbourCats. Thursday’s game was the third time in the last four days that the AppleSox drew 10-or-more walks and their 187 free passes are third-most in the WCL.
Toby Haarer (4-1) earned the win for a third straight start by only allowing one unearned run in 5.1 innings. His only blemish came after a leadoff error eventually scored with two outs in the fifth but he stranded six men on the basepaths.
Putnam opened the scoring with a two-out solo shot on an 0-2 pitch in the second inning. The next five hitters also reached base and two more runs scored thanks to a Lopez RBI single and a bases-loaded walk drawn by Mason Strong to take a 3-0 lead after an inning-and-a-half.
Carney hit Wenatchee’s second home run of the game with another two-out blast in the seventh over the left-center field fence. Williams also hit a two-out shot an inning later but with the bases loaded to give the AppleSox their first grand slam of the summer. His third of the season was his third in the last two days and drove in 10 runs in the three-game series. Lopez launched a no-doubter two batters into the top of the ninth for the final long ball of the night.
The AppleSox scored a combined eight runs in the fifth and sixth innings without any home runs. Four consecutive walks to open the fifth inning plated a run before Austin Ohland hit a sacrifice fly and Lopez and Kyle Henington delivered back-to-back RBI singles. Ohland hit an RBI single in the sixth and two consecutive Nanaimo throwing errors later allowed for the sixth inning to continue and two more runs to score.
Joseph Rajo delivered 2.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen after Haarer departed, only allowing one walk while striking one batter out. Jake Putnam retired the side in order in the ninth, ending the game with a strikeout.
Wenatchee travels to Victoria to continue the road trip on Friday night. The AppleSox swept the HarbourCats June 9-11 at Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium and just need one victory to earn the season-series victory. The AppleSox and HarbourCats would meet in the North Division Series to open the 2023 postseason if the season ended today. Victoria is a half-a-game back of Wenatchee in the second half standings and a game-and-a-half back in overall record.