A soft infield at Riverside made it difficult for players to make routine defensive plays last Tuesday evening, leading to an error filled game that Chewelah finally won after 10 innings of play.
Baseballs took Nerf ball bounces off the spongy infield grass. Slow hops leading to hurried throws hampered both teams. Two Cougar errors in the seventh inning allowed Riverside to tie the score at 3-3, sending the game into extra innings. Two Riverside errors in the tenth inning allowed Chewelah to win the game, 4-3.
In the end, the Cougars brought home the 4-3 league win. Brandon Smith reached first base in the top of the tenth inning on a Riverside throwing error, and Derek Smith batted him in on a Ram fielding error.
The win boosted Chewelah to a 2-0 league record. Riverside dropped to 0-2 after an earlier loss to Lakeside.
Riverside scored first, taking a 1-0 lead in the opening inning on an infield hit that lost most of its momentum in the grass.
Chewelah scored a pair of runs in the fourth inning to take a 2-1 lead. Calvin Connall hit a lead-off single. Ty Curtis bunted him over to second base and was called safe at first base when the first-baseman was pulled off the bag by the throw. Derek Smith hit a line-drive single down the third base line to score Connall. Curtis scored on a pitch that got past the Ram catcher.
A bases-loaded single by Riverside in the fifth inning tied the score at two runs apiece. The Cougars got out of the inning, however, without further damage when Curtis caught a fly ball in rightfield and gunned down the Ram runner who had tagged up at third base and was on his way to the plate.
Connall led-off the sixth inning with a single. He was batted in by Bigler when the Riverside shortstop could not handle his grounder to the left side of the mound. Connall’s run returned the lead to Chewelah, 3-2.
When Caleb Wiebe struck out the first two Riverside batters in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Cougars had to get only one more out to bag the league win. They did not get it. Two infield errors and a base-on-balls opened the door for Riverside, and the Rams scored the tying run to knot the game at 3-3.
Three extra innings were played. Neither team got a runner past first base until the top of the tenth inning. Brandon Smith led-off the inning, being called safe at first base when the Riverside throw took the Ram first-baseman off the bag. Cordell Bean attempted to bunt Smith over to second base, but was hit by an inside pitch.
Two outs later, Derek Smith hit a ground ball to third base. The Riverside third-baseman bobbled the ball, and his throw across the infield was late at first base. On the play, Brandon Smith scored the winning run.
Connall, who came to the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning, retired Riverside batters in order in the bottom of the tenth inning on two fly balls to Ty Curtis in centerfield and a bouncer to Joey Baker at third base. Those three outs gave Connall his second pitching win of the season as the Cougars held on for the 4-3 victory.
Both teams finished the game with five hits. Riverside’s hits were all singles. Chewelah had three singles and two doubles.
Derek Smith hit a line drive double in the first inning that had the momentum to roll all the way to the fence. Instead, it died in the soft grass and he was thrown out at third base. He also hit a single in the fourth inning that scored Connall.
Brandon Smith hit a double into left field in the seventh inning, but he was left stranded on third base. Connall singled twice and scored both times.
Wiebe walked off the mound without a win for the second time. He threw seven innings, allowed five singles and two earned runs, and struck out eight Ram batters.
Again, Connall came to the mound late in the game in a relief role and posted the win. He is now 2-0.
Riverside finished the game with more errors than hits. The Rams had five hits and six errors.
Curtis’s throw to the plate from right field in the fifth inning was the defensive play of the game for Chewelah. Cordell Bean also made a couple of nice plays on bunted balls that died in the dirt in front of the plate, throwing out both batters at first base.
Again, most of the league games scheduled last week were postponed because of rain and will have to be made up later in the season.
Upcoming on the schedule for the Cougars are a doubleheader at home against Freeman this Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m., and then a trip to Lakeside on Tuesday for a 4:30 p.m. single game.
Chewelah 4, Riverside 3
Cougars: 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 = 4
Rams: 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 = 3
Cougar pitching: Caleb Wiebe, (8) Calvin Connall. Win – Connall (2-0).
Cougar batting: Derek Smith 2, Calvin Connall 2, Brandon Smith. 2B – Brandon Smith, Derek Smith.
By Geno Ludwig, The Independent Staff