Knights pitching trio dominates Kelowna to secure series win

Kaleb Woltz, #21 of the Knights, pitches in the Knights vs. Redmond Dudes game on July 17. The Knights earned a 6-1 victory over the Kelowna Falcons
Kaleb Woltz, #21 of the Knights, pitches in the Knights vs. Redmond Dudes game on July 17. The Knights earned a 6-1 victory over the Kelowna Falcons
Morgan Berryman

The Corvallis Knights defeated the Kelowna Falcons 6-1 on Wednesday night at Goss Stadium to clinch their series victory with less than three weeks left in the West Coast League regular season. 

With a difficult seven-run loss in game one against the Knights, the Falcons looked to focus on their defense more coming into tonight’s game. However, not only did the Knights break through that defense, but Corvallis’ own defense stymied the offense of the Falcons. 

Both teams started efficiently in the first inning, both retiring the first three batters that stepped up to the plate.  

Left-handed pitcher Jaxon Byrd started for the Falcons. He faced off against Knights left-handed pitcher Jakob Wright, and after the first inning, it looked like it was going to be a grueling competition between the two throughout the game.  

Fortunately for Kelowna, Wright made a mistake that was quickly capitalized upon in the top of the second inning. Wright walked outfielder Kyle Corso, and then outfielder Trey Duffield hit a single up the middle to put two runners on with one out. 

 With Kelowna starting to gain some momentum, outfielder Trevor Wilson came up to bat for the Falcons. Wright and Knights catcher Tyler Howard had a miscommunication in pitch location, resulting in the pitch getting past Howard.  

This was labeled a wild pitch, allowing Duffield and Corso to advance to second and third, with only one out. Wilson sent a sharp ground ball to the second baseman, resulting in an easy out and scoring a run for Kelowna. 

Byrd continued to find success on the mound in the second inning, only pitching 11 pitches, and once again retiring the side in three at-bats. Wright responded to his early mistake in the top of the third inning as he struck out all three batters to get his team back on offense. 

As both teams were used to taking early leads, the Knights scored in the bottom of the third to put up their first runs of the game. A quick leadoff single from infielder Ty Yukumoto paired with a four-pitch walk from outfielder JC Ng gave Corvallis an early lead.  

Infielder Tyler Quinn hit a ground ball towards the second baseman, which Kelowna tried to roll into a double play, but they only got Ng out at second. Outfielder Sam Stem stepped to the plate following the force-out of Ng at second base.  

With runners at first and third base, this incited some trickery from the Knight’s offense, and Quinn attempted to steal second, which led to a panic move from Byrd, resulting in a balk. This sent Yukumoto to score for free and sent Quinn safely to second base. Stem then ripped a single into right field to advance another runner to third base with only one out.  

After Stem stole second, infielder Ethan Hedges sent a line drive directly down the left field line, scoring Quinn and Stem for a two-RBI double.  

This extended the Knights lead again, and outfielder Ethan Hott further extended the lead with a base hit to center field. After the conclusion of the third inning, the Knights led the Falcons 4-1 through the third inning. 

After no hits and no runs scored through the fourth and the top of the fifth, Kelowna swapped in left-handed pitcher Nolan Patterson for Byrd. Patterson then had a rocky start to his outing in which he walked the next three batters, which consequently led to an RBI single from Hott to make the score 5-1 Knights. 

The top of the sixth inning brought in the first pitching substitution for Corvallis. Right-handed pitcher Nathan Marshall subbed in for Wright and allowed zero hits and zero walks for the next two innings. 

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Knights punished more pitching mistakes from Patterson. Patterson hit Ng with a pitch and then walked Quinn, giving Corvallis two free baserunners. Hedges secured his third RBI of the game with a base hit to center field, extending the Knight lead to 6-1. 

Only one hit was recorded by either side in the seventh inning. As the eighth inning began, the Knights made their final pitching substitution, bringing in right-handed pitcher Frank Camarillo otherwise known as “Big Frank.” 

Camarillo went on to pick up one strikeout in the eighth, followed by a groundout and a flyout. Then to close out the game in the ninth, he reversed the order, picking up a flyout, a groundout, and then a three-pitch strikeout. 

In nine innings, Wright, Marshall, and Camarillo only allowed one run, two hits, and a combined eight strikeouts. The trio and the swift hitting of Hedges and Hott, who had a combined batting average of .857 with 5 RBIs, secured the series win for Corvallis and the team’s ninth win in a row. 

Game three against the Falcons is scheduled for tomorrow, with a first pitch time set for 6:35 pm at Goss Stadium.  

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