(GENO LUDWIG/Chewelah Independent)
END OF THE LINE: Chewelah ends season placing fourth at districts despite strong pitching…
Three baseball teams from the Northeast 2B league will continue post-season play at the regional level this weekend, but Chewelah will not be one of them. The Cougars lost a pair of one-run games at Medical Lake last Saturday to Colfax and Northwest Christian that ended their 16-game winning streak and their 2019 season.
Chewelah southpaw Andrew Sweat threw six innings in the opening game, scattered three Colfax hits, struck out 11 Bulldog batters, and allowed no earned runs……..but lost the game. Cougar infield errors were responsible for all three Colfax runs when ground balls that should have been outs were bobbled, leading to a 3-2 loss.
In the evening game, Chewelah had no response to Gunner Keuhl’s two run homer in the bottom of the third inning as the Cougars went scoreless in their final four at-bats in a 5-4 loss to Northwest Christian. Chewelah outhit the Crusaders, but the Cougars stranded five runners on base that could have been the tying or winning runs had they been batted home.
It was a shocking and unexpected ending to an otherwise sensational season for the Cougars who finished their season with a 16-5 record.
“It was disappointing for all of us,” said Coach Sawyer Bardwell. “These were both teams I thought we should have beaten. For the most part, we beat ourselves. Andrew threw a great first game, but we didn’t give him any runs, and the errors were uncharacteristic of the way we’ve played through the season. In the second game, we couldn’t get a timely hit when we needed it.”
COLFAX 3, CHEWELAH 2
Both teams finished the first game with only four hits as the contest turned into a pitchers’ duel between Sweat and Nate Akesson from Colfax.
Chewelah used three singles to score a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jake Jeanneret hit a leadoff line drive into left field and Jake George moved him over to third base with another one-bagger. Lukas Kubik’s hard grounder through the right side of the infield scored Jeanneret. The inning ended with George and Kubik waiting to be batted in.
Johnny Larson scored the second Chewelah run. He bunted his way on base and went to third base when Akesson’s pickoff throw went astray. He tagged up and scored on Zak Kubik’s sacrifice fly to narrow the scoring gap to 3-2. The Cougars left the tying run on second base in the final inning.
Colfax scored all three of its runs in the third inning when a pair of untimely Chewelah errors extended the Bulldog at-bat. The Cougars ended the inning with a double play, but not before the Bulldogs loaded the bases and brought home three runners for a 3-0 lead. Nick Skok made the catch of a fly ball for the second out and threw out another Bulldog who was caught between bases with the tag being administered by Larson.
George, Jeanneret, Larson, and Lukas Kubik swatted Chewelah’s only hits.
NWC 5, CHEWELAH 4
The Cougars had a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the third inning against Northwest Christian, but were unable to hold onto it. Kuehl’s dinger in the bottom of the inning returned the lead to the Crusaders, and Chewelah was unable to hit with runners on base through the remainder of the game.
Zak Kubik’s sacrifice bunt to the left side of the mound brought Oman home with the first run of the ballgame. Oman opened the first inning with a single into right field and immediately stole second base. Larson’s bunt single down the third base line moved Oman to third base and Kubik used the same scenario to score Oman for a 1-0 Chewelah lead.
Northwest Christian took over the lead at 3-1 in the bottom of the second inning with a one-hit rally. Two walks, a hit batter and an error by Chewelah were responsible for the runs. A double play by the Cougars finally put out the fire when Davis fielded a ground ball, stepped on third base for one out, and then threw to first base for the second.
Chewelah quickly took back the lead with a three-run third inning. Sweat singled into centerfield to score Larson. Jeanneret singled up the middle to move Sweat to third base, and he scored on a pitch that got past the Crusader catcher to tie the score at three runs apiece. Jeanneret came home on a hard-hit ground ball to the right side of the infield by George to give the Cougars a 4-3 lead.
Kuehl’s two-run homer returned the lead to Northwest Christian in the bottom of the third inning and Chewelah was unable to get it back. The Cougars had baserunners in three of the remaining innings but could not bring them home. Zak Kubik and Jeanneret each singled in the fifth inning, but both were left on base. Lukas Kubik was stranded on third base in the sixth inning after he hit a bunt single down the third base stripe and stole two bases. Sweat and Davis were marooned on base in the seventh inning, leaving the Crusaders ahead on the scoreboard.
Jeanneret batted 3-for-4 and scored a run to lead Chewelah at the plate. Oman, Larson, Sweat and both Kubik brothers also had hits.
Justin Rollis took the loss on the mound. He threw five-and two-thirds innings, allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out three Crusader batters.