Cougars Capture District 7 Baseball Championship

Cordell Bean’s three-run homer in the sixth inning highlighted his three-hit performance on Saturday as he led the Chewelah Cougars to a stunning 13-4 win over the Lakeside Eagles to bring home the district baseball championship.

Bean’s 345-foot blast put the exclamation point on Chewelah’s Cinderella finish. The Cougars, who placed third in the league standings, decidedly dominated the three teams they faced in the district playoff. In the three games, they outscored their opponents 24 runs to 5.

Caleb Wiebe threw two complete games for Chewelah, shutting out Riverside 5-0 in the tournament opener and then notching the win in the championship gave over Lakeside. Settling down after a rough first inning, Wiebe limited Lakeside to one run in the remainder of the game on his way to a 13-4 victory.

In between Wiebe’s wins, Cody Sweat threw a complete game 6-1 triumph over Chewelah’s traditional archrivals, the Colville Indians.

The district championship victory was Chewelah’s third over league champion Lakeside this year. The Cougars won the first two by 1-0 and 2-1 scores, so it was expected that this would also be a tight low-scoring game.

Instead, Chewelah blew the game wide open, scoring 10 runs in the first four innings and adding three more on Bean’s home run to leave the Eagles in the rear view mirror.

With the District 7 Baseball pennant in their pocket, the Cougars now advance as the Northeast A League’s number one seed into this weekend’s bi-district tournament in Wenatchee. They will play the winner of the Colville-Cascade game.

Lakeside will meet Okanogan in the other preliminary game. The winner of that game will advance to face Cashmere.

Chewelah 5, Riverside 0

Caleb Wiebe threw a complete game five-hitter and his teammates provided an error-free defensive stand as the Cougars opened the district tournament on Tuesday with a 5-0 shutout win over Riverside.

Wiebe allowed no Riverside runs, gave up five scattered hits, and struck out seven Ram batters.

Batting into a strong oncoming wind, Cougar hitters did not get a lot of hits, but they took advantage of the baserunners they got.

In the first inning, Calvin Connall was given a leadoff walk. He stole second base and was moved over to third by Brandon Smith. Connall was batted in by Joey Baker, and Chewelah had an early 1-0 lead.

Connall was walked again in the third inning. He immediately stole second and third bases and was quickly in scoring position. Dillon Bigler brought him home with a single into right-field for a 2-0 Cougar lead.

Joey Baker’s single up the middle moved Bigler to third base, and he came home on a wild pitch to widen the Chewelah lead to 3-0.

On a calm day, Brandon Smith’s double in the fifth inning would have flown over the left-field fence, but the strong incoming wind limited it to a two-bagger. He advanced to third base on a pitch that got past the Riverside catcher and then scored on Bigler’s sacrifice fly. So, the Cougars had a 4-0 lead going into the sixth inning.

Chewelah added one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Wiebe hit a leadoff single and was batted in by Russell Smith’s single. That run gave the Cougars a 5-0 lead with one at-bat left for Riverside. The Rams did get a couple of baserunners, but the lead runner was put out at third base and Wiebe struck out the final batter to nail down the shutout win.

Wiebe finished the game with eight strikeouts. It was his first of two pitching victories during the week. He went on to notch the pitching win in the district championship game over lakeside on Saturday.

Chewelah 6, Colville 1

Calvin Connall went four-for-four with two runs scored and three runs batted in on Wednesday evening, leading the Chewelah Cougars to a 6-1 victory over homestanding Colville in the second round of district tournament play.

Connall’s two-run triple off the fence was the highlight of the game for Chewelah, breaking up a 1-run tie and giving the Cougars a 4-1 lead over the Indians. Colville never recovered from Connall’s crushing blow. The Indians did not score in their last four at-bats, yielding the game to the visiting Cougars by a 6-1 final score.

Meanwhile, on the mound, Cody Sweat threw another complete game for the Cougars. He threw seven innings and worked his way out of a bases-loaded situation in the opening inning, giving up only one run. After that, it was all downhill for the senior right-hander.

Sweat and the Chewelah defense pulled the Cougars out of a couple of jams with timely double-plays later in the game to keep Colville off the scoreboard.

In the second inning, the Indians had runners on first and second bases with no outs. The Indians attempted to bunt the runners into scoring position, but the ball flew to Sweat, who doubled-off the runner at second base for the double-play.

With Colville runners at the corners and no outs in the third inning, the Chewelah infield came up with another timely double-play from Bigler to Wiebe to Brandon Smith.

Then, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Connall ran down a ball in deep center-field that should have gone for extra bases. He backhanded the ball for the third out of the inning.

Chewelah started the fireworks in the first inning. Connall put the flame to the fuse with his first of four hits. He was batted in by Bigler, and the Cougars had a 1-0 lead.

Connall’s second single of the game in the second inning scored Ty Curtis, and Chewelah turned a 1-all ballgame into a 2-1 lead.

The big inning for Chewelah was the fourth. With two outs and Curtis on first base, Russell Smith singled to give the Cougars a pair of baserunners. Connall then bounced the ball off the fence for a triple, scoring Curtis and Smith. The two runs widened the Cougar lead to a 5-1 split.

Chewelah added one more insurance run in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded by Wiebe, Sweat, and Curtis, and with one out, Coach Luke Jeanneret signaled for the double-squeeze play. Bean bunted the ball, scoring Wiebe. Sweat also attempted to score on the throw to first base, but was put out at the plate. Wiebe’s run gave the Cougars a 6-1 lead with three at-bats remaining for Colville.

The Cougars did not allow a run in the final three innings and savored the five-run victory over their traditional rivals.

The L…o…n…g Wait

After Chewelah’s win at Colville on Wednesday, the question was: Who will the Cougars play in the district championship game? And, no one knew the answer.

Newport was supposed to play Freeman in the opening round loser-out game on Tuesday, and the winner was scheduled to play at Lakeside on Wednesday. Tuesday’s game was rained out. It was not played on Wednesday or Thursday either, because of rain. Finally, on Friday, Newport beat Freeman 2-1 in the loser-out game. That left the Lakeside-Newport game still to be played before the Cougars knew who they would face in the district championship game.

So, it came down to a four-game event at Lakeside on Saturday.

Chewelah 13, Lakeside 4

Twelve Chewelah hits produced thirteen runs in the district championship game as the Cougars pounced on Lakeside pitchers for their 13-4 conquest.

Lakeside did have a good start. The Eagles scored three of their four runs in the opening inning and took a quick 3-0 lead.

Over the next three innings, however, Chewelah put 10 runs on the scoreboard and left Lakeside breathing exhaust fumes.

In the top of the second inning, Chewelah loaded the bases with its first three batters. Cody Sweat singled, Dustin Olson drew a walk, and Ty Curtis was hit by a pitch. Russell Smith batted in a run with a single. Calvin Connall and Dillon Bigler both walked with the bases loaded to score two more runs to tie the score at three runs apiece.

Later in the inning, Caleb Wiebe batted in two more runs to give the Cougars a 5-3 lead.

Singles by Cordell Bean and Curtis gave Chewelah two baserunners in the third inning. One scored on a double by Connall. The other scored on a single by Brandon Smith, and the Cougars had a 7-3 lead.

Wiebe, Sweat, and Curtis singled to begin the fifth inning, loading the bases. Singles by Bean and Russell Smith batted in two runs. A sacrifice fly to right-field by Connall brought home the third for a 10-3 Cougar lead.

Bean’s home run in the sixth inning with Olson and Joey Baker aboard provided the final fireworks for Chewelah. The four-bagger was Bean’s third hit of the game. He scored two runs and batted in five runs.

The bottom third of the Cougar batting order—Curtis, Bean, and Russell Smith—came up with half of the team’s hits and scored more than half of the team’s runs.

Lakeside did pick up one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Eagles were never a threat to get back into the ballgame.

In the end, the Chewelah Cougars completed a clean sweep at the district tournament, winning all three of their games to bring home the championship trophy and a bus full of smiles.

Chewelah 5, Riverside 0

Cougars: 1 0 2 0 1 1 x = 5 6 0

Rams: 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 = 0 5 2

Cougar pitching: Caleb Wiebe and Cordell Bean. W – Wiebe (4-2).

Cougar hitting: Brandon Smith, Dillon Bigler, Joey Baker, Caleb Wiebe, Russell Smith. 2B – B. Smith.

Chewelah 6, Colville 1

Cougars: 1 1 0 3 1 0 0 = 6 8 3

Indians: 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 = 1 5 4

Cougar pitching: Cody Sweat and Cordell Bean. W – Sweat.

Cougar hitting: Calvin Connall 4, Brandon Smith, Dillon Bigler, Cody Sweat, Russell Smith. 3B – Connall.

Chewelah 13, Lakeside 4

Cougars: 0 5 2 3 0 3 0 = 13 12 2

Eagles: 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 = 4 9 3

Cougar pitching: Caleb Wiebe and Cordell Bean. W – Wiebe.

Cougar hitting: Cordell Bean 3, Calvin Connall 2, Cody Sweat 2, Russell Smith 2, Brandon Smith, Caleb Wiebe, Ty Curtis. 2B – Connall. HR – Bean.

District 7 Tournament

Game one: Chewelah 5, Riverside 0 (loser out).

Game 2: Newport 2, Freeman 1 (loser out).

Game 3: Chewelah 6, Colville 1

Game 4: Lakeside 4, Newport 2

Game 5: Colville 7, Newport 4 (third and fourth places).

Game 6: Chewelah 13, Lakeside 4 (first and second places).

By Geno Ludwig

The Independent Staff

In this Photo: The Chewelah Cougars celebrate their district baseball championship on Saturday, May 5. The Cougars finished the tournament with a 13-4 win over the Lakeside Eagles. Next up for the team is the Bi-District tournament in Wenatchee this weekend. Pictured (l-r) is Cody Sweat, Dillon Bigler, Taylor Nichols, Joey Baker, Russell Smith, Cordell Bean, Calvin Connall, Brandon Smith, Caleb Wiebe, Dustin Olson, Carson Coleman, and Ty Curtis.

Angie Sweat photo