The Black Bears fell 4-3 to the Walla Walla Sweets on Monday night, in game two of the one and only series between the teams. The loss is the Black Bears' sixth in a row, with five of the six losses decided by two or fewer runs.
The Black Bears came out swinging in the top of the first. Seaver Whalen and Austin Baker singled, and Joey Greco followed with a walk to load the bases before Whalen scored on a wild pitch. The Sweets responded with an Andrew Mendenhal solo home run in the bottom of the first, tying the score 1-1.
The long ball theme would be the theme of the night.
A Joey Greco solo blast gave Cowlitz a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the third, but Mendenhall's second home run of the night in the bottom of the inning tied the score at 2-2.
The Black Bears threatened throughout, but were unable to break the deadlock. Meanwhile, Cowlitz starter Chris Castellanos faced the minimum -- 15 batters -- from Mendenhall's home run in the third until one out in the eighth. However, a third solo home run for the Sweets, this time by Aldo Ferrante, gave the Sweets a 3-2 lead heading to the ninth.
In the ninth, Corey Van Domelen led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second, and scored on a two-out, two-strike single by Whalen, tying the game at 3-3 and quieting the Borleske Stadium crowd.
However, in the bottom of the ninth, a two-out single scored the game winner from third, giving the Sweets the walk-off victory.
Castellanos was sharp in his second start as a Black Bear, allowing six hits and three runs while striking out eight in seven and a third innings. Connor Cuse and Joe Reta combined for one and two-thirds innings, allowing one hit, one run and striking out two.
Whalen led the Black Bears with two hits, including the game tying RBI single in the ninth.
The Black Bears wrap up this road series on Tuesday night against Walla Walla Sweets, with Billy Salinger on the mound opposite the Sweets' RHP Cody Caroll. Tune in on KEDO AM 1400, or online at www.cowlitzblackbears.com, where our very own Shane Downey will have all the action.