Walla Walla Falls Short, They Lose 3-1 to CowlitzPosted: Updated:
Walla Walla, Wash. -- Kevin Bosson pitched into the ninth inning and Andrew Lines struck out the final batter with the bases loaded as the Cowlitz Black Bears held on to win their eighth-straight game, 3-1, over the Walla Walla Sweets on Thursday night at Borleske Stadium.
Starting the ninth over the 100-pitch mark, Bosson got a fly out and a strikeout for the first two outs before Brenton Allen dropped a single to into right-center. The Black Bears went to the bullpen for Lines, a left-hander that had not allowed a run or a hit in 4.2 innings of relief coming in to the night. He preceded to hit UC-Irvine teammate Scott Gottschling with his first pitch and then hit pinch-hitter Chance Kopacz on the third pitch to load the bases. He then got ahead of Kevin Williams 0-2 before Williams worked the count full but swung and missed at a 3-2 fastball at the letters for the final out.
It capped a brilliant outing from Bosson, who pitched through the eighth inning for the second straight start. The right-hander allowed just one run on seven hits over 8.2 innings. He walked one and struck out seven, including four in the first three innings. In doing so, he made the three runs the Black Bears scratched across for him hold up.
Cowlitz grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in the first as Billy Flamion walked with one out and moved to third on a Kyle Garlick single. Garlick advanced to second as the throw from the outfield got away and Braxton Miller's ground ball to short scored Flamion. Playing short, Williams fielded the grounder and was able to nab Garlick at third for the second out and Sweets starter Trent Allianic finished the inning with a strikeout.
The right-hander from Hawaii built off the strikeout and was pitch-for-pitch with Bosson for the entire game. He struck out two in a 1-2-3 second, got a 1-2-3 third and was aided by a great defensive play in the fourth. With two-on and two out, Kirk Cunningham's drive to left-center looked destined for extra-bases but Andrew Mendenhall raced over and slide on his right leg making the catch and ending the inning.
That sliding play kept the game tied at 1-1, a game that Mendenhall himself had tied. Batting with one out in the bottom of the first, the center fielder from Oregon belted the first pitch he saw deep over the left field wall for his second home run of the summer. It would be the only run the Sweets got on the night.
Bosson struck out two in the second and third innings and received a nice defensive from Beau Didier at third to end the fourth with Sweets runners on first and third. He resumed his dominance in the fifth, setting the Sweets down in order, worked around a one-out double in the sixth, got a 1-2-3 seventh and pitched around a leadoff single in the eighth.
The Black Bears were able to break the tie in the fifth on a Brent Graham single. Mitchel Walding started the inning and his ground ball to short took a bad hop on Williams, allowing him to reach safely. He found himself at second after a ground out to third and scampered home on Graham's ground ball to third that was knocked down but not stopped by Kalani Brackenridge. The third baseman got a piece of the hot smash but the ball trickled into left field allowing Walding to score from second.
Cowlitz added an insurance run in the ninth on an RBI single from Walding and held on in the ninth. Garlick was the only Black Bear to have two hits and Miller had a hit, scored a run and drove in a run. Allen had his first two-hit game of the summer for the Sweets but Walla Walla left eight on base.
Walla Walla and Cowlitz continue their three-game series tomorrow night with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.