(GENO LUDWIG/Chewelah Independent)
HEATING UP: Young Chewelah AA squad continues to get better as summer stretches on
Coach Tom Skok is not surprised that his Chewelah Forty-Niners are improving with every ballgame they play this summer.
“When my daughter Jaelynn first saw this team play early in the season, she immediately saw the potential of these young players and predicted that they would be much better later in the season,” recalled Skok. “Her prediction is coming true. These kids have really improved and we’re still gaining ground in the areas which were a concern at the beginning of the season.
“The kids are working hard to get better. Our pitching has improved and our bats are coming alive. We’ve been hitting the ball a lot better, but we need to become better batters with runners on base. We’ve also been playing a little small ball, using our bunting skills to advance and score baserunners, which has really paid off in our recent wins.
“Coach (Wade) Carpenter has been throwing his arm out in the batting cage, and the kids are responding to his coaching. He’s fixed a lot of the errors in their swings so they are making much better contact with the ball. Even though we are playing three or four games every week, he’s getting our players to practice on our non-game days. They enjoy his stories and his humor, and they respond in a positive way to his instruction.
“Jake Jeanneret and Sammy Triplett are two of our older kids who have become the team leaders. Even though Jake has had a sore pitching arm, he is still willing to give us a few innings on the mound when we need him. Sammy gives a lot of encouragement to the team.”
Recent wins over Ferris and Colville last week are indications of the improvement the Forty-Niners have made over the past month. Although their record is 4-6 so far this season, they have won two of their last three games.
Chewelah 11, Ferris 4
Undaunted by a 10-0 loss to Ferris in the opening game of last Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Chewelah Forty-Niners bounced back behind the pitching of James Macrae to win the second game 11-4.
Macrae started on the hill and threw a complete game for the Niners, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out seven Saxons.
Chewelah fell behind early and trailed 3-0 after one inning. The Niners then scored one run in the second inning and two more in the third to knot the score at three runs apiece. They then took the lead 7-3 in their fourth at-bat and added four more runs late in the game for the league win.
Eight Chewelah players hammered hits, batting in 10 Niner runs. Jake Jeanneret scored twice and batted in two runs with his single in the fourth inning. Jake George’s triple to the fence in deep centerfield scored Jeanneret from second base in the third inning, and he batted in another run in the next inning to again bring Jeanneret home. Nick Skok, Kade Frizzell, Josh Piepgras, Coby Rancourt, Clay Jeanneret and Macrae also contributed hits to the win.
Skok scored Chewelah’s first run. He was issued a leadoff walk to begin the second inning and was bunted over to third base by Jack Carpenter. He came home on Clay Jeanneret’s ground ball to the left side of the Ferris infield.
The Niners used a two-out rally in the third inning to tie the score. George tripled to bring Jake Jeanneret home, and then Macrae singled up the middle to score George.
Chewelah loaded the bases with its first three batters in the fourth inning. With Cole Piepgras on third, Josh Piepgras on second and Frizzell on third, Zach Bowman bunted to the right side of the mound to bring home the go-ahead run. Jake Jeanneret brought in two more runs with a line drive single into left field. George then batted Jeanneret in for a 7-3 Niner lead.
Doubles from Rancourt and Josh Piepgras highlighted a four-run fifth inning for Chewelah. Rancourt’s two-bagger into centerfield brought Skok home. Clay Jeanneret scored on the double up the middle by Piepgras. Singles from Frizzell and Jeanneret contributed to the rally that extended the Niner lead to 11-4.
Ferris 10, Chewelah 0
The Forty-Niners were the victims of a three-hit shutout in the opening game of the doubleheader. Jake George, Bowen Middlesworth and Zach Bowman were the only Chewelah batters who found an opening through the Ferris defense as the Niners were shutout by a 13-0 score.
George hit a line drive single through the left side in the first inning, Bowman hit a one-bagger into the right field gap in the first inning, and Middlesworth singled into the right field corner in the seventh inning. Everything else was vacuumed by the Saxons, who finished the game with 12 fly outs and six ground outs to keep the Niners off the bases.
Cole Piepgras started on the mound for Chewelah and threw the first four innings. He allowed three earned runs on six hits. Jake Jeanneret finished for the Niners, throwing the last two innings. He yielded one earned run off three hits.
Chewelah 4, Colville 3
Coby Rancourt had only one hit in five trips to the plate last Friday, but his single was the most important hit of the game. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Rancourt hammered a line drive single into left field that batted in the winning run as the Chewelah Forty-Niners bagged an extra-inning 4-3 victory over the visiting Colville Indians.
The score had been tied at three runs apiece after seven innings of regulation play. Neither team brought home a baserunner in the eighth, and Colville went scoreless in the top of the ninth. Chewelah got its opportunity to score the winning run in the bottom of the inning when Nick Skok got to first base on a Colville infield error. Ryan Marang took Skok’s place on the bag and was bunted into scoring position by Cole Piepgras. Rancourt then stepped into the batter’s box and hit a hard ground ball past the Indian shortstop. Marang got the green light from Coach Tom Skok at third base and sprinted home to score the winning run.
Chewelah held a 3-2 lead going into the final inning, but Colville’s Paul Skirko hit a leadoff single and was batted in by Logan Hydorn to even both sides of the scoreboard at two and two. The Indians had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the eighth inning, but Jake Jeanneret struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
Skok singled into left field in the bottom of the seventh inning for Chewelah but was left stranded on second base. The Niners had another chance to win the game in the eighth inning when James Macrae singled on a bunt down the third-base line and was sacrificed to second base by Zach Bowman’s bunt to the left side of the mound. However, Macrae was thrown out attempting to steal third base by Colville catcher Grant Michalizsyn.
Colville scored the first two runs of the game. Justin Berg singled and scored in the fourth inning. Skirko doubled and scored in the fifth.
Chewelah scored its first run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Kade Frizzell bunted his way on base and was batted in by Jeanneret’s double. Frizzell singled up the middle in the sixth inning, scoring Cole Piepgras and Macrae to give the Forty-Niners a 3-2 lead.
Colville had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the seventh inning but was unable to bring home the winning run. Chewelah’s Macrae threw Hunter True out at the plate and Kris Nussbaum hit a ground out to Rancourt to end the inning.
Chewelah hammered 12 hits. Jake Jeanneret, Zach Bowman, Clay Jeanneret, Macrae and Frizzell each had a pair of hits. The other two singles were hit by Skok and Rancourt.
Jeanneret notched the win on the mound for the Niners. He threw the last one-and-two-thirds innings, striking out three Indians and allowing no runs. Clay Jeanneret also threw an inning against the Indians, getting three outs on six pitches.