Wins over Kettle Falls and Lakeside last week gave the Cougar baseball team the boost it needed to climb back into the Northeast A league pennant race.
The Cougars started the week with an 8-4 win at Kettle Falls on Tuesday. Then, they won both ends of a doubleheader against visiting Lakeside, 10-6 and 6-3, on Saturday. The three victories lifted Chewelah into second place in the current league standings with only four games remaining on their spring schedule prior to the bi-district tournament.
“I consider last week the big turning point in our season,” said Coach Luke Jeanneret. “I’m really happy with the way we played last week. I keep telling the guys that I think they’re one of the best baseball teams in the state, and that it’s their job to prove me right.”
“We’ve been hitting the ball pretty well and we’ve been scoring runs. All we have to do now is continue to not make costly errors and we win.”
Cougar bats went to work at Kettle Falls on Tuesday, hammering 13 hits that scored eight runs, seven of which came in the last three innings.
“We were behind 3-1 after four innings,” said Jeanneret. “Then, we started pounding the ball.”
In the top of the fifth inning, singles off the bats of Derek Smith, Brandon Smith, and Caleb Wiebe set the stage for a base-clearing triple off the fence by Dustin Olson. The four runs scored in the inning put Chewelah on top, 5-3.
Singles by Ty Curtis, Derek Smith produced a Chewelah run in the sixth inning. A single by Wiebe, followed by Cordell Bean’s double provided the power for the Cougars in the seventh inning as they put two more runs on the scoreboard.
Wiebe threw the entire game, allowing only three hits.
Chewelah 10, Lakeside 6
On Saturday, the Cougars took two big steps in the right direction when they swept both games of a doubleheader against the visiting Lakeside Eagles. With those two wins, Chewelah climbed up two giant steps up the league ladder, bypassing both Freeman and the Eagles. The Cougars are now in second place, with only Medical Lake ahead of them.
After a scoreless opening inning, Chewelah brought home two baserunners in its second time at bat. Cordell Bean was hit by a pitch and went to first base. Dustin Olson sent him to second base with a single. Carson Coleman’s sacrifice fly scored Bean. Ty Curtis batted in Olson, and the Cougars had a 2-0 lead.
Bean opened the fourth inning with a double into the leftfield corner. Crowell followed with a double of his own into centerfield, bringing Bean around third base to score. Coleman bunted Crowell to third base and Curtis batted him in. Andrew Hansen then singled down the third base line, scoring Crowell for a 5-0 Cougar lead.
Two more Chewelah runs were scored in the fifth inning. Coleman’s double into the rightfield corner moved Bean, who had walked, around to third base. Both Cougars scored on a double by Curtis. So, after five innings, the Chewelah lead had grown to 7-1.
Lakeside suddenly closed the gap in the top of the sixth inning, scoring five runs to make it a one-run game, 7-6.
However, in the bottom of the inning, Chewelah quickly loaded the bases without a hit and with no outs. The Cougars had Derek Smith on third base, Brandon Smith on second base, and Wiebe on first. Derek Smith scored when Olson was hit by a pitch. Brandon Smith scored when Bean was issued a base on balls. Finally, Crowell got the only Cougar hit of the inning, scoring Wiebe.
Going into the top of the final inning, Chewelah held a 10-6 lead. Coleman came to the mound as the closer for the Cougars, replacing starter Wiebe. He got the last three Lakeside outs on consecutive fly balls to end the game.
Wiebe earned the pitching win. He threw six innings, allowing six runs. Colman was awarded the save.
Chewelah 6, Lakeside 3
Chewelah jumped on Lakeside early in the second game, scoring six runs in the first four innings and then playing good defense to secure the 6-3 victory.
The Smith Cousins got Chewelah off to a good start in the first inning. Derek singled and was batted home by Brandon for an early 1-0 Cougar lead.
Chewelah did not swat a hit in the second inning, but the Cougars scored three more runs. With the bases loaded on two walks and a fielder’s choice, the Lakeside catcher attempted to throw out Derek Smith at first base. His bad throw allowed Curtis and Hansen to score. Smith later scored on a wild pitch, giving the Cougars a 4-0 lead.
Wiebe walked and scored in the third inning. Brandon Smith’s single scored Hansen in the fourth inning, keeping the Cougars on top, 6-2.
Lakeside scored one more run in the fifth inning, and the Cougars did not allow another run through the rest of the game for the 6-3 win.
Coleman threw all seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits.
This is a full week for the Cougars. They hosted Riverside here on Tuesday and traveled to Newport on Wednesday to make up a doubleheader that was rained out. On Friday, they drive down to Freeman for two games. Then, the following Tuesday, they return home to face league-leading Medical Lake in a single game at 4:00.
Chewelah 8, KF 4
Cougars: 0 0 1 0 4 1 2 = 8 13 0
Bulldogs: 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 = 4 3 3
Cougar pitching: Caleb Wiebe and Cordell Bean; Win – Wiebe (3-2).
Cougar hitting: Brandon Smith 3, Derek Smith 2, Dustin Olson 2, Caleb Wiebe 2, Dustin Crowell 2, Ty Curtis, Cordell Bean. 2B – Dustin Olson, Brandon Smith, Derek Smith, Dustin Crowell. 3B – Olson
Chewelah 10, Lakeside 6
Cougars: 0 2 0 3 2 3 x = 10 10 0
Eagles: 0 0 0 0 1 5 0 = 6 11 1
Cougar pitching: Caleb Wiebe, Carson Coleman (7) and Cordell Bean. Win – Wiebe (4-2). Save – Coleman (2).
Cougar hitting: Dustin Crowell 3, Ty Curtis 2, Carson Derrick Smith, Caleb Wiebe, Cordell Bean, Coleman, Andrew Hansen, 2B – Bean, Crowell, Coleman, Curtis.
Chewelah 6, Lakeside 3
Cougars: 1 3 1 1 0 0 0 = 6 6 2
Eagles: 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 = 3 6 2
Cougar pitching: Carson Coleman and Cordell Bean. Win – Coleman (2-2).
Cougar hitting: Derek Smith 2, Brandon Smith, Caleb Wiebe, Dustin Olson, Andrew Hansen.
By Geno Ludwig, The Independent Staff
In this photo: Andrew Hansen sliding back after they try to pick him off at 1st. Mickey Olson photo