Carl Oman stood on third base with no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. He had gotten to second base on an error, had stolen third, and was waiting to be batted in to score the winning run.
Oman was still on third base at the end of the inning. He was one of seven Cougars left on base Wednesday night, eventually leading to a 4-3 extra-inning loss to Whitman County in the semifinals of the state championships.
In the eighth inning, a Whitman County player walked and was batted in with two outs to secure the win and advance his team to the championship game.
It was a disappointing loss for the Cougars, who had battled their way to the final four and had high expectations of playing for the state pennant. Along the way, they had beaten some highly-regarded teams, but now, their lengthened season had come to an end. They won their division in league play, won their pool in district play, but came up one run short in state semifinals.
The Cinderella season came to an end, but not before the small town boys surprised some big city kids.
“I am extremely proud of these kids and of the way they played,” said Coach Sawyer Bardwell.
“They always played hard. They never gave up.
“The teams we beat came from schools of maybe 1200 to 1500 students. I was especially proud of the way our kids came back to beat Lake Stevens after we lost to Elma. They continually found ways to get on base and to win.
“Our pitchers—Johnny Larson, Dylan Davis, and Justin Rollis—did a great job through the entire season, but especially in the post season tournaments.”
Whitman Co. 4, Chewelah 3
July 27, 2016
Chewelah scored first against Whitman County. Johnny Larson doubled in the bottom of the first inning and was batted in by Pearson Grooms.
Whitman County went ahead 3-1 in the top of the third inning, taking advantage of a walk and hitting three singles.
The Cougars used a double-steal to put runners in scoring position in the bottom of the third. Larson was walked and had stolen second base.
Zach Kubik followed with another base on balls. They both advanced on the double-steal. A single off the bat of Grooms scored Larson, whittling the Whitman County lead to 3-2.
Grooms notched another run batted in to tie the score in Chewelah’s fifth at-bat. With Oman on second base, Grooms swatted a double for his second RBI of the game. The run tied the score at 3-3.
A couple of timely Chewelah defensive plays kept Whitman County off the scoreboard in the later innings. A double play from Larson, to Kubik, to Justin Rollis squelched a sixth inning rally.
Oman gunned down a runner headed for third base in the seventh inning.
However, Chewelah was unable to produce the winning run in those same two innings. Zarren Nelson singled to lead off the sixth inning, but was forced out at second base.
Ethan Rowe was stranded on first base after the fielder’s choice targeted Nelson.
Then, Oman was marooned on third base in the seventh inning.
The Cougars failed to generate a base runner in the eighth inning after Whitman County took a 4-3 lead, thus, ending their season. Nelson had two of Chewelah’s five hits. Larson, Grooms, and Wilson had the other hits.
Dylan Davis threw all eight innings, allowing seven hits and four runs, while striking out two.
Chewelah had eight stolen bases, three by Larson, two each by Oman and Kubik, and one by Nelson.
Chewelah 4, Woodinville 2
July 26, 2016
By Tuesday, only eight teams remained in the hunt for the Washington State American Legion A Tournament, and they were the best teams in the competition. They had survived the first three days of pool play, winning at least two of their three games.
Among these survivors was the Chewelah Cougars, who had beaten west-siders Eastmont and Lake Stevens to advance into the quarterfinals. On Tuesday, they added another team from west of the Cascades to their list of conquests, defeating Woodinville, 4-2. They were in the final four!
When the bats are not working as good as expected, a team has to find other ways to win games.
Often, taking advantage of an opponent’s mistakes enters into the formula. With the game still undecided going into the last three innings, the Cougars used their bats and their opponent’s untimely errors to pull out a win.
Hitless going into the fourth inning and on the short end of a 2-0 score, Chewelah went to work.
With Dylan Davis on base via a fielder’s choice, Tayeb Wilson connected for the first Cougar hit.
Jerry Kramer then doubled to bring Davis home. Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Larson was walked, scoring Kramer with the game-tying run.
Chewelah took the lead in the fifth inning. Grooms hit a single.
He stole second base, moved over to third on a Woodinville error, and scored on another defensive blunder. His run took advantage of the two infield miscues and gave the Cougars a 3-2 lead.
A Woodinville outfield bungle provided the opportunity for an additional Chewelah run. In the sixth inning, with two outs, Larson was walked and went on to steal second base. Kubik’s fly ball into center-field was then muffed, allowing Larson to score for a 4-2 Cougar lead.
Woodinville had two more at- bats. In each, they put a runner aboard, but neither got past first base as the Chewelah infield gobbled-up every ball hit. Thus, the Cougars held on for the 4-2 victory and joined the final four.
Larson threw all seven innings, allowing only two hits and one earned run to earn the pitching win.
Chewelah had only five hits, two by Wilson, along with one apiece by Grooms, Rollis, and Kramer.
Rollis and Kramer each had a double.
Chewelah 4, Woodinville 2
Sedro Woolley 13, Lower Columbia 3
Walla Walla 10, Capital 0
Whitman County 11, Eastmont 9
Whitman County 4, Chewelah 3
Walla Walla 4, Sedro Woolley 1
Walla Walla 7, Whitman Co. 4