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Aloha's season comes to a screeching halt

Wenatchee sweeps doubleheader to take final playoff spot
by: David Ball, Aloha's Brent Morel hustles down the first-base line after making a sacrifice bunt in the third inning of the Knights' 2-1 loss to Wenatchee on Sunday.

Wenatchee reached the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League finals by doing something that no one else could Sunday, Aug. 6, in Gresham, Ore.

The AppleSox became the first team this summer to hand the Aloha Knights back-to-back losses on their home field, using the doubleheader sweep to earn the final spot into this week's league championship series vs. Spokane.

'We've played well at home all year,' Knights' manager Dale Stebbins said. 'I didn't think we could lose both games on our field.'

Aloha held a 17-3 home record coming into the regular-season finale.

Wenatchee completed Sunday's sweep with a 2-1 win in Game 2 of the doubleheader, as starting pitcher Clayton Mortensen shut out Aloha through the final eight innings.

Aloha put the tying run at third base in the seventh and eighth, but came up short each time. Tyler McCallum ended the first threat with a routine catch in left field, and Mortensen maintained the lead in the eighth by chasing down a high bouncer on the third-base line.

The Knights season came to an end when they couldn't muster a base runner in the ninth inning.

Aloha took a brief 1-0 lead when Matt Hibbitts and Brent Morel drove back-to-back hits into center field in the first inning.

Wenatchee tied the game in the third inning and added the winning run in the fourth when Tommy Milone hit a sacrifice fly to left field. Aloha tried to make a play at the plate, but a wide throw forced catcher Erik Ammon out of position and allowed Colcough to slide in safely.

The AppleSox (27-15) take on Spokane (28-14) in the West Coast title series, starting Tuesday in Wenatchee.

Wenatchee kept its season alive with a 3-1 win in Game One of Sunday's doubleheader.

The AppleSox broke a 1-1 deadlock in the sixth inning when Tyler McCallum connected for an RBI-double that dropped between outfielders and rolled to the warning track in center field, allowing teammate Justin Whitehall to score the winning run from first base.

'I was just hoping that Justin would score on the play and give us the lead,' McCallum said. 'We knew we had to win, and we just wanted to score enough runs to get it done.'

Wenatchee pitcher Tommy Milone did the rest, not allowing an Aloha runner past first base through the last two innings.

The Knights won the first game of the series 10-5 late Saturday night. Aloha struck first with a six-run burst in the third inning -- all of the runs scoring with two outs. Shawn Wayt started the spurt with a two-run single, and Zach Borba followed with a bases-clearing double.

The AppleSox pulled close with a four-run rally in the fourth inning, only to see Aloha answer the challenge with three runs in the bottom of the inning.

Aloha pitcher Marc Rzepczynski ran his summer record to 6-0, while Wayt came on in relief and surrendered only one hit through the last three innings.

Spokane clinched the No. 1 seed with a 9-2 win against Bellingham on Saturday, while Bend was eliminated from contention after a loss to Kitsap on Friday night.