The Chewelah Cougars Single-A squad has gotten off to an excellent start in American Legion summer baseball, cruising to a 5-1 record in the first two weeks of league play.
The Cougars opened their season by splitting a doubleheader against Medical Lake. Then, they added four more wins over Spokane powerhouses Mead and Shadle Park.
Moreover, they did not do it by belting triples and home runs. They did it with baseball basics—singles, stolen bases, sacrifice bunts, and solid defense.
“I’m a ‘small ball’ guy,” said Coach Sawyer Bardwell. “Get ‘em on, get ‘em over, get ‘em in. When we get a player on base, we are going to steal or bunt him into scoring position.
“So far, we haven’t been a long ball team, but later in the season I think we’ll start hitting the ball harder and getting some triples and home runs.”
Chewelah 11, Medical Lake 0
At Medical Lake, the Cougars used a nine-run first inning to propel themselves to an 11-0 shutout victory. In that opening at-bat, Chewelah sent 15 batters to the plate, swatting five singles and taking advantage of four walks.
Carl Oman and Jerry Kramer both singled and scored two runs in the inning. Also hitting one-baggers were Zach Kubik, Pearson Grooms, and Dillon Davis.
Singles by Oman, Grooms, and Justin Rollis added two more runs to the Chewelah side of the scoreboard in the third inning, leading to the 11-0 Cougar triumph.
Rollis threw the first three scoreless innings, allowing two hits, to earn the pitching win. Davis threw two hitless innings to bag the save.
Medical Lake 9, Chewelah 1
In the day’s second game, however, the Cougars were handcuffed by Medical Lake pitching that limited them to only two hits. Grooms singled, stole two bases, and scored in the second inning. Zarren Nelson singled in the fourth inning, but was stranded on third base.
Medical Lake had only six hits, but the Cards prospered on 10 walks and two hit batters to secure the 9-1 win.
Chewelah 5, Mead 3
Chewelah scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 3-all tie and claim a 5-3 victory over visiting Mead.
Leadoff batter Rollis got on base on an error and scored on a passed ball to give the Cougars a 4-3 lead.
Davis then singled and was batted home by Oman’s single to give Chewelah an insurance run.
Mead loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning, but failed to score.
Chewelah scored its first three runs in the opening inning. Kramer was walked, stole second base, and went on to third on a single by Kubik. Kramer scored on a sacrifice bunt by Grooms. Kubik came home on a single by Rollis.
Nelson was walked and was batted in by a single off the bat of Davis.
Mead tied the score with three runs in the fifth inning.
Larson notched the win on the mound for the Cougars. He threw six innings and allowed only one earned run. Davis threw the final inning to earn the save.
Chewelah 12, Mead 3
In the afternoon’s second game, Chewelah took advantage of seven Mead errors and 11 walks to crush the visitors by a 12-3 final score.
The Cougars finished the game with only seven hits, but they made each one count. Oman singled twice, scored three times, and batted in two runs. Kramer hit two singles, scored a run, and batted in a run.
Grooms singled twice, scored twice, and batted in a run. Rollis singled and scored.
Rollis was the winning pitcher, throwing six innings, striking out seven Mead batters and allowing only three runs. Davis was the closer.
Chewelah 9, SP 2
Chewelah played its first two games at Shadle Park’s Jackson Field last Monday, sweeping the Highlanders 9-2 and 5-3.
Singles by Larson, Kramer, and Nelson, highlighted a three-run second inning by the Cougars.
Larson’s singled scored Nelson.
The single by Kramer brought Davis and Larson home. Davis singled and was batted in by Oman in the fourth inning for a 4-0 Chewelah lead.
Doubles by Rollis and Nelson provided the power at the plate for the Cougars in the fifth inning.
Rollis batted Kubik home. Nelson brought home Grooms and Rollis.
Larson batted in Nelson for an 8-2 Chewelah lead. Kubik singled and scored in the sixth inning to account for the final Cougar run.
Again, Larson picked up the pitching win, and Davis got the save.
Chewelah 5, SP 3
After three scoreless innings, Chewelah’s Kubik and Grooms singled and came home in the top of the fourth at-bat. Kubik was bunted to third base by Rollis and scored on a pitch that got past the Mead catcher. Nelson bunted Grooms home for a 2-0 Cougar lead.
Larson singled in the fifth inning and came home on Kubik’s third hit of the game. Kubik went 4-for-4 at the plate with two runs batted in and a run scored.
Chewelah continued to use the sacrifice bunt as an offensive weapon. In the sixth inning, Grooms got on base via an error and was bunted to second base by Rollis. Davis then hit a double into right-field to score Grooms.
Singles by Larson and Kubik accounted for the final Chewelah run as the Cougars defeated Mead 5-3 to sweep the doubleheader.
Pearson had his first start f the summer season on the mound for Chewelah and earned the win. He got help in the later innings from Nelson and Davis to seal the victory.
So, going into this week’s schedule, the Cougars are 5-1 and hungry for more wins.
By Geno Ludwig/The Independent Staff