Errors have been the undoing of Chewelah baseball throughout the spring sports season. That was especially true toward the end of the season when every out counted.
Last week, the Cougars needed to defeat Medical Lake to make it into this year’s bi-district tournament, but they bobbled away their opportunities.
Medical Lake received new life after the game-winning catch fell through the glove of a Chewelah infielder on Tuesday evening. The error allowed the tying Cardinal run to score, sending the game into extra innings, and eventually led to a 9-6 Cougar loss.
The error was just one of eight made by Chewelah on Tuesday as the Cougars again beat themselves. Medical Lake finished the game with only four earned runs. The other five Cardinal runs were all the result of Cougars failing to make routine defensive plays.
Tuesday’s loss to Medical Lake, combined with last week’s losses to Riverside and Freeman, eliminated Chewelah from post-season play. Only the top three teams in the league standings will advance to the regional tournament against the Caribou Trail League. Those teams will be Medical Lake, Freeman, and Lakeside. Chewelah finished fourth in the final league standings.
Chewelah led Medical Lake through the first six innings of play. The Cougars went into the top of the seventh inning with a 5-3 lead. They needed only three outs and the victory was theirs.
Instead, Medical Lake scored two runs—one earned and one unearned—to come from behind for the win. The earned run resulted from a Cardinal triple into the right field corner, scoring a base runner from first base.
With the go-ahead run now on third base, the Cougars kept him from scoring with a ground out to shortstop and a fly ball to left field. Now, Chewelah needed only one more out to preserve their lead. The opportunity for that third out came on a blooper off the end of the bat of the next Medical Lake batter that barely made it off the infield grass. When it was bobbled, the tying run scored.
Chewelah did not score in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the game was extended all the way into the tenth inning when Medical Lake scored three runs to win it, 9-6.
The Cougars took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. An infield single by Ty Curtis scored Taylor Nicholas from third base.
Medical Lake scored three runs on only one hit in the third inning to take over the lead, 3-1. With two outs and the bases loaded, a Chewelah infield error allowed all three Cardinals to score.
The Cougars responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Andrew Hansen triggered the rally with a bunt single and scored on a wild pitch.
Dustin Crowell got on base when the Medical Lake pitcher could not handle his bunted ball. He scored when the Cardinal catcher tried to throw him out attempting to steal third base. His run tied the score at 3-3.
Dustin Olson doubled later in the inning, scoring Caleb Wiebe and returning the lead to Chewelah, 4-3.
Hansen made it a two-run ballgame in the fourth inning. He hit a Texas League single that dropped in front of the Medical Lake outfield and was moved to second base on a single by Derek Smith. He was then batted in by Dustin Crowell, giving the Cougars a 5-3 lead.
That 5-3 Chewelah lead held on until the fatal fifth inning when Medical Lake tied up the score at 5 runs apiece and went on to win it, 9-6.
The Cougars did finish the season with a pair of wins. They traveled to Newport on Wednesday, where they won both games of a doubleheader against the Grizzlies. They won the first game, 9-5, and came out on top of the second game, 21-6.
Altogether, the Cougars had 33 hits at Newport, producing 30 runs in 12 innings. This was a good way to end the season.
Cordell Bean, Derek Smith, and Dustin Olson each swatted three hits in the first game of the doubleheader. Bean had a single, a double, and a triple. Dustin Crowell also hit a three-bagger. Smith, Olson, and Ty Curtis each had a double.
Still, Chewelah had to come from behind for the win. The Cougars trailed 5-4 after five innings. It took a five-run sixth inning to finally put away the pesky Grizzlies.
Back to back doubles by Smith and Curtis manufactured Chewelah’s first run in the second inning. Olson’s double, followed by a triple off the bat of Bean, scored two more runs in the third inning. Singles by Smith, Olson, and Bean brought home one more Cougar run in the fourth inning.
Singles by Curtis and Olson combined with a double by Bean provided the power at the plate in the sixth inning as the Cougars scored five more runs for the come from behind victory.
Wiebe went a perfect five-for-five in the second game to lead Chewelah at the plate. He hit three singles and a pair of doubles, stole four bases, and scored four runs.
Curtis and freshman outfielder Ahron Wuesthoff each batted three-for-four. Curtis scored four runs. Wuesthoff hit a triple.
The Cougars had four innings in which they scored five runs. The game ended after the sixth inning on the 10-run rule.
Dustin Crowell notched the pitching win for Chewelah in the first game. Cordell Bean was the winner on the mound for the Cougars in the second game.
With the two wins at Newport, the Cougars concluded their league season at 11 wins and 7 losses.
Chewelah 9, Newport 5
Cougars: 0 1 2 1 0 5 0 = 9 15 3
Grizzlies: 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 = 5 5 2
Cougar pitching: Dustin Crowell and Cordell Bean. Win – Crowell.
Cougar hitting: Derek Smith 3, Dustin Olson 3, Cordell Bean 3, Dustin Crowell 2, Ty Curtis 2, Carson Coleman, Caleb Wiebe. 3B – Crowell, Bean. 2B – Smith, Olson, Bean, Curtis.
Chewelah 21, Newport 6
Cougars: 5 1 5 5 0 5 = 21 18 4
Grizzlies: 2 3 0 0 1 0 = 6 6 1
Cougar pitching: Cordell Bean and Josh Hanley. Win – Bean.
Cougar hitting: Caleb Wiebe 5, Ty Curtis 3, Ahron Wuesthoff 3, Derek Smith 2, Cordell Bean 2, Dustin Crowell 2, Dustin Olson. 2B – Wiebe 2. 3B – Wuesthoff.
ML 9, Chewelah 6
Cougars: 0 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 = 6
Cards: 0 0 3 0 0 0 2 0 1 3 = 9
Cougar pitching: Caleb Wiebe, Taylor Nicholas (7), Derek Smith (10) and Cordell Bean Loss -Nicholas.
Cougar hitting: Andrew Hansen 2, Derek Smith, Dustin Crowell, Caleb Wiebe, Dustin Olson, Cordell Bean, Taylor Nicholas. 2B – Olson.
Final league standings
Medical Lake 16 – 2
Lakeside 12 – 6
Freeman 11 – 7
Chewelah 11 – 7
Riverside 8 – 7
Kettle Falls 5 – 13
Newport 0 – 18
By Geno Ludwig, The Independent Staff
In This Photo: Seniors Ty Curtis, Derek Smith, Cordell Bean, Caleb Weibe, Carson Coleman and Dustin Crowell (with niece Harper). Not Pictured: Brandon Smith. Mickey Olson photo