The Sweets played their shortest nine-inning game of the year in Monday’s series finale in Cowlitz. Both sides pitched exceedingly well but the Sweets came up on the wrong end of a 2-1 final score at David Story Field.
LHP Haydn King (San Francisco) set the tone for the Sweets. The young left-hander turned in one of his best performances, working five innings, allowing one run on five hits while striking out six and walking just one.
But on the other side of the ledger, RHP Cobi Johnson (Northwest Nazarene) was even more effective for the Black Bears. Johnson, making his first start of the summer, lasted seven innings. He surrendered just one run on three hits, pitching efficiently and effectively to contact. He walked one and struck out three.
The Sweets got on the board in the fourth inning. RF J.J. Hancock (Washington State) doubled with one out, moved to third on a ground ball, and scored on a two-out hit from DH Cameron Deere (Brown).
But Cowlitz answered back with a run off King in the fifth. DH Derek Scott (Abilene Christian) singled with one out before taking second on an errant pickoff throw and sliding to third on a single by LF Preston Jones (Oregon State).
With first and third, 2B Dane Stankiewicz (Grand Canyon) plated Scott with a base hit into right field.
Although King wriggled out of the inning without any further damage, Cowlitz had rallied to tie the score.
After King, RHP Ryan Johnston (UC-Irvine) entered in relief and hurled three solid innings. But in the eighth, he allowed the decisive run.
RF Ryan Kim (Portland) doubled to lead off. Utilizing small ball, Cowlitz moved Kim to third on a sac bunt by 3B Andy Armstrong (Oregon State). Then, 1B Nyles Nygaard (Western Oregon) gave the home team the lead with a sacrifice fly to the warning track in straightway right field.
RHP Kragen Kechely (Dallas Baptist) worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to lock down the series sweep for Cowlitz.
Former Sweet RHP Cole Henderson (Nevada) earned the win (2-2) by firing a scoreless eighth inning. Johnston (1-1) was hit with the loss. Kechely (3) recorded the save.
The Sweets, losers of three in a row, fall to 6-11 in the second half (21-23 overall). Meanwhile, first-place Cowlitz improved to 11-3 (22-19 overall).
The Sweets travel to Gresham for a single game against the GreyWolves at Oslund Field on Tuesday night. RHP Chris Lincoln (UC Santa Barbara), fresh off being named WCL Pitcher of the Week, will start for the Sweets. He will oppose All-Star LHP Zak Baayoun (Long Beach State).
by Ben Farber
Audio Highlights -- Deere RBI Single