WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Joe Arlt was masterful over eight innings and the Sweets scratched across two runs in the seventh to earn a 3-1 victory over the Gems on Sunday night at Borleske Stadium.
The win is the first in six tries for the Sweets (16-24) against the Gems (20-20), and snaps the Gems' 11-game winning streak.
Making just his third start of the summer, and second against the Gems, Arlt tossed a season-high eight innings, allowing just one run on six hits. He walked three and struck out five to earn his second win of the season. The only blemish for the left-hander was a solo home run from Josh Wong in the sixth that put the Gems up 1-0.
He retired the first two batters of the game before allowing three consecutive singles, but got a strikeout to end the frame. Arlt received an excellent diving play from Shane Zeile at third to start the second and then picked off Jake Whisler in the third. He left runners on first and second in the fourth and tossed a 1-2-3 fifth before Wong's home run broke a scoreless tie in the sixth. The lefty came back to strike out the next batter and get a ground ball to second to end the inning. A caught stealing helped record a scoreless seventh and Arlt capped his night with a scoreless eighth.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh, the Sweets were finally able to break through against the Gems. Jarrod Turner started the rally as his spinning ground ball was thrown away at first with one out. Ryan Cooper followed with a walk and Alex Bonczyk then laced a single to right field that was bobbled by Greg Velazquez, allowing Turner to score from second and tie the game. The Sweets then took the lead as Brett Jacobs's apparent inning-ending double play turned into an RBI as the throw back to first pulled the Wong off the bag.
Walla Walla added to their lead in the eighth with a crucial insurance run. Nick Vilter struck out to start the inning but reached first as the ball got away from the catcher. Beau Fraser followed with his third hit of the ballgame, a flare to center, and Kalani Brackenridge advanced both with a sac bunt. Kris Paulino then made it 3-1 with an infield ground ball.
Making his second appearance against the Gems this week, Simon Anderson closed out the game in the ninth to pick up his third save. He struck out two batters and left a runner on first. Fraser led the offense with three hits and Bonczyk added two from the leadoff spot in the order. Arlt has now allowed just five runs over his last 36.1 innings.
The Sweets will enjoy two days off for the All-Star break before returning to Borleske Stadium on Wednesday, July 25 to face Wenatchee. Three Sweets, Hunter Virant, Arturo Reyes and Spencer O'Neil, will represent the Sweets in Tuesday's WCL All-Star Game presented by NAPA Auto Parts. First pitch is at 7:35 p.m.