Chewelah lost just one game in the Legion Single A District Tournament, a 4-3 setback to Whitman County in the championship game on Tuesday, and punched their ticket to the state tournament next weekend in Spokane.
On Monday, the eight surviving tournament teams met at Mead to determine which two would, in the end, play in the championship game. For the Chewelah Cougars, their two encounters were a pair of opposites.
Johnny Larson and Pearson Grooms combined to throw a no-hitter in the first game as the Cougars destroyed Mead 14-0 in a five-inning shutout.
The second game, however, was a donnybrook, with Chewelah scoring the winning runs in the seventh inning to edge Shadle Park 15-13 in its semifinal pairing of the afternoon.
A double by Tayeb Wilson, followed by a single off the bat of Jerry Kramer manufactured the winning runs for the Cougars. With one out, Grooms singled, stole second base, and scored on Wilson’s double. Kramer then singled to bring home Wilson. The two wins secured a berth for the Cougars into the state American Legion tournament.
“We took care of business the first game and locked down our seed to state,” said Coach Sawyer Bardwell. “The second game was a little rougher, but we grinded it out and won.”
Grooms was the day’s spark plug for Chewelah. He swatted six hits in Monday’s two games. He went 3-for-3 in the shutout win over Mead with three runs scored and a run batted in. He then batted 3-for-5 with a run batted in and two runs scored in the war against Shadle Park.
Chewelah 14, Mead 0
While Larson and Grooms were working their magic on the mound, the rest of the team was making good use of their swings in the batter’s box. The Cougars swatted 11 hits and scored in every inning except the first.
Zarren Nelson scored the first Chewelah run when he got on base via an error and came home on a pitch that got past the Mead catcher.
Singles by Larson, Nelson, and Grooms highlighted a four-run third inning for the Cougars, increasing their lead to 5-0. Six more runners came home in the fourth inning on singles by Dylon Davis and Kramer, followed by a double from Zach Kubik, boosting the score to 11-0.
Grooms, Wilson, and Kramer hit one-baggers in the fifth Cougar at-bat, adding three more runs to the Chewelah side of the scoreboard for the 14-0 quarterfinal victory. Larson threw the first three innings, facing 10 batters, allowing no hits, and striking out three. Grooms pitched the last two innings, striking out three of the six batters he faced and yielding no hits.
Chewelah 15, Shadle Park 13
It took a while for Chewelah bats to get heated up in the second game of the day. The Cougars scored 13 of their 15 runs in the last three innings. Carl Oman and Kramer both walked and scored in a no-hit third inning, fueled by three walks and two hit batters.
Two singles by Grooms, another by Justin Rollis, and a double from Kubik powered an eight-run fifth inning for Chewelah.
The Cougars were again aided by Shadle Park pitchers, who threw three walks and hit two batters, all of whom scored.
Four consecutive two-out singles by Kramer, Oman, Larson, and Kubik manufactured three Chewelah runs in the sixth inning.
The hits by Grooms, Wilson, and Kramer in the seventh inning provided the winning runs for the 15-13 semifinal victory.
Chewelah opens up tournament with three wins
Chewelah scored four runs in the third inning and held on to defeat Northern Lakes by a 4-3 score on Sunday to remain undefeated in the American Legion Baseball District Tournament being held in Spokane.
The Cougars opened play on Friday with a 13-3 win over Lewis and Clark. On Saturday, they defeated Gonzaga Prep 12-2. Both games ended by the 10-run rule after five innings.
“We’re hitting the ball really well, playing clean defense, and having a lot of fun,” said Coach Sawyer Bardwell.
Chewelah is one of only three teams out of 16 competing that have remained unbeaten in class-A play. The other two are Medical Lake and Whitman County. They are all 3-0 after the weekend.
The tournament continued on Monday with the top teams in the standings competing for the district title. Other teams still in contention are Ferris, University, Shadle Park, Mead, and Northern Lakes, all with 2-1 records. Teams with two or more losses have been eliminated.
“From now on, it’s loser-out,” said Coach Bardwell. “If a team loses, they’re done.”
Chewelah survived a threatening seventh inning to remain undefeated on Sunday. Northern Lakes had runners on second and third bases with two outs, but the Cougars kept both of them from scoring. A ground out ended the danger, and Chewelah held on for the 4-3 victory.
Justin Rollis threw all seven innings and notched the pitching win. He allowed three runs on eight hits, and he struck out eight Northern Lakes batters.
Zarren Nelson and Pearson Grooms batted 2-for-4, and each had a run batted in and a stolen base. Tayeb Wilson went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.
On Friday, Johnny Larson yielded six hits and three runs as he pitched Chewelah to its 13-3 triumph over Lewis and Clark. He finished the five-inning game with four strikeouts.
Ethan Rowe and Wilson led the Cougars at the plate, with both batting 2-for- 3.
Dylan Davis threw a four-hitter on Saturday to lead Chewelah to its 12-2 win over Gonzaga Prep. He tossed five innings, surrendering only two runs.
Jerry Kramer carried the big bat, going 3-for-3, including a two-run triple. Davis and Rowe both had two hits.
All three games were played at Mead High School in Spokane.
American Legion “A” District Tournament
Chewelah 13, Lewis & Clark 3
Chewelah 12, Gonzaga Prep 2
Chewelah 4, Northern Lakes 3