Port Angeles, Wash. -- A night after falling 6-1 (and recording just three hits) on the Fourth of July, the Gresham GreyWolves defeated the Port Angeles Lefties 9-3 to even the series on Wednesday night in Port Angeles, Washington.
The scoring started from the beginning for Gresham, who scored a run without a hit in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Mike Peabody reached second on a two-base throwing error by Port Angeles second baseman Kevin Kendall. The next pitch found the backstop and Peabody advanced to third base with no outs. Two pitches later, Jake Cosgrove grounded out to second base to score Peabody to give Gresham an early 1-0 lead.
Gresham would not stop there. After a scoreless second inning for both teams, Gresham struck for two more runs in the third inning. After two walks and a single, the bases were loaded with two outs for Jackson Thoreson, who was looking to start a new hit streak after his nine-game streak came to an end on Tuesday. On a 1-2 pitch, Thoreson lifted a fly ball down the left field line. It fell about a foot fair right in between three different Lefties' defenders. Tony Gudino and Peabody scored to give Gresham a 3-0 lead.
Port Angeles had difficulty solving Gresham starting pitcher Andrew Hansen, who had a no-hitter going through four innings. The Lefties finally broke through in both the hit and run columns in the fifth inning. A one-out double followed by consecutive singles scored Port Angeles' first run and put runners on first and second base with one out.
Taylor Adams tried to move both runners over with a sacrifice bunt, but he popped the bunt right to Hansen in front of the mound. With the runners frozen and home-plate umpire Josh Marshall unwilling to call the infield fly rule, Hansen keenly let the ball drop, quickly picked it up and fired to second where Cosgrove then flipped to first to complete the double play and retire the side.
Gresham responded to Port Angeles' run with two in the top of the sixth inning to increase the lead to 5-1. It would not last long, though, as the Lefties got to Hansen again in the sixth. A leadoff double forced head coach Justin Barchus to go to the bullpen. Carter Buuck entered for Gresham and despite allowing a few base runners, he stranded the bases loaded and only one run scored. Hansen (3-2) earned the win for his efforts after going 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out five and walking one.
Gresham would score three more runs in the eighth inning and another in the ninth while the Lefties pushed one across in the eighth, but that was it. Port Angeles left 14 runners on base on Wednesday night and left 10 on base in the final four frames (including leaving the bases loaded in the sixth, eighth, and ninth innings).
The Lefties out-hit the GreyWolves 10-8 on Wednesday but were only able to push three runs across the plate. Lefties starter Keiran Shaw was a tough-luck loser on Wednesday, dropping to 0-3 on the season after allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits in five innings of work. He struck out seven and walked three.
The win snaps Gresham's five-game losing streak, which was tied for the longest losing streak the GreyWolves have suffered through in 2017. The win also gives Gresham its first second-half win, as the team improves to 1-4. With West Coast League South Division-leading Corvallis winning on Wednesday, the GreyWolves stay three games behind in the race for the second-half crown.
The third and final game of the series is scheduled for Thursday, July 6 with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch. Gresham goes for the series win on Thursday, something the team has not done since June 9-10, when the GreyWolves took two of three against the Kelowna Falcons. The game will be broadcast on mixlr.com/greywolves and the pregame show will start at 6:20 p.m.