06/20/2017 12:30 PM
Wenatchee, Wash. -- After losing the first two games of the three-game series in Wenatchee and four of the first five of a six-game road trip, the Gresham GreyWolves got a much-needed, come-from-behind win over the AppleSox in Wenatchee, Washington on Monday night.
Gresham fell behind early in both of the first two games of the series but struck first in the finale with two runs in the fourth inning after Ross Puskarich and Drew Curtis led off the inning with consecutive doubles and Alec de Watteville and Ryan Novis followed up with consecutive singles. The runs that scored that inning constituted the first lead the GreyWolves had all series.
The lead would not last long, though. In the bottom of the fourth inning, the AppleSox scored five runs on four hits, but were also helped out by a throwing error committed by third baseman Ross Puskarich. With two outs, he fielded a ground ball but his throw to first was too wide and allowed the batter to reach and the inning to continue. The next four batters would reach and the inning was capped off by a two-out, three-run home run off the bat of Tanner Williams, his first big fly of the season.
All five runs (despite being unearned) were charged to Gresham starter Alex Roth, who made his season debut on Monday. He went five innings, allowed the aforementioned five unearned runs on six hits while walking and striking out three AppleSox. He took a no-decision in his first appearance of the year.
Wenatchee would add another run in the bottom of the sixth inning via another two-out hit, this time by Dugan Shirer to make it a 6-2 AppleSox lead. The GreyWolves would not go away, though. Gresham struck for three runs in the seventh inning off Wenatchee starter McKabe Cottrell after the first two outs were recorded.
Outfielder Mike Peabody tripled (his first hit of the season) with two outs and no runners on base to start the rally. Consecutive walks then loaded the bases and ushered in a new pitcher, Jalen Garcia. With the bases loaded and two outs, Puskarich stepped into the batter's box representing the tying run. Garcia threw a pitch to the backstop, allowing Peabody to score from third and the other two runners to move up. On a 2-1 count, Puskarich ripped a two-out, two-run single to left field to cut the deficit to just one.
All three runs in the inning were charged to Cottrell, who threw 6 2/3 innings, allowed five runs (all earned) on seven hits while striking out seven and walking three.
Jarrod Billig pitched a scoreless seventh inning and got the first two outs in the eighth inning after allowing a lead-off walk. Then Gresham head coach Justin Barchus brought in reliever Daniel Caruso for the final out of the eighth. He struck out Williams (who homered earlier) on three pitches to set the stage for a dramatic ninth inning.
Again, it was the ninth-place hitter Peabody who sparked the GreyWolves offensively. He led off the inning with a single through the right side of the infield. Then, Jake Palmer hit a slow chopper to first base but the ball rolled underneath the glove of Adrian Damla and into right field. Damla was charged with an error, the first and last of the night on Wenatchee. Peabody advanced to third on the error. Jake Cosgrove then struck out to set the stage, once again, for Puskarich, who committed the error way back in the fourth inning that cost Gresham five runs.
The AppleSox brought in a new pitcher, Cameron Kurz, who did not allow a run in his appearance on Sunday versus the GreyWolves. With runners on the corners and one out, the first two pitches thrown by Kurz to Puskarich found the backstop. The first, a passed ball, allowed Peabody to score from third to tie the game at six runs apiece. The second, a wild pitch, moved Palmer to third base with still only one out in the inning.
On the eighth pitch of the at bat, Puskarich lifted a fly ball to shallow right field. The second baseman Parker Price ran back and towards the foul line in shallow right to make the catch. His momentum took him away from the infield. Realizing this, Palmer tagged from third and slid just underneath the tag of the catcher Jack Reseinger to score the go-ahead run in the ninth inning for the GreyWolves.
The bottom of the ninth was not without its drama, though. Caruso recorded the first two outs of the inning and it looked like a ground ball to short would end it, but de Watteville's throw pulled Puskarich off the base at first allowing the runner to reach base. The runner then stole second before Caruso struck out Damla swinging the end the game.
The win is just Gresham's second in the past 10 games. The GreyWolves improve to 7-11 on the year and avoid a sweep versus the AppleSox in Wenatchee. Monday night's win marks the first time all season that Gresham has won a game in which they trailed through six innings. Monday also constitues the first time that Gresham has won a one-run game as well as when the opponent hits a home run.
The South Division-leading Corvallis Knights won on Monday, so Gresham stays 4.5 games behind in the division standings with nine first-half games remaining.
The GreyWolves are off on Tuesday before starting a six-game home stand on Wednesday when Gresham welcomes in Wenatchee for another three-game series.