Closer Joe Reta induced a bases loaded, game ending double play to secure a 3-2 victory for the Cowlitz Black Bears (14-18) over the Kitsap Blue Jackets (12-19) on Tuesday night from the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. The win evens the three game set at one game apiece, and the season series at four wins each.
Reta and teammates Corey VanDomelen, Shane Bieber and Billy Sahlinger were officially named to the West Coast League All Star team Tuesday morning, representing the South.
The Black Bears were on the board early with Taylor Bryant reaching base on a walk and scoring on a sacrifice fly from Brennan Salgado to give Cowlitz the 1-0 lead.
Kort Perterson added another run for the Black Bears with an RBI double to score Jonathan Serven, who led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second.
Cowlitz starter Chris Castellanos did not factor in the decision, exiting the game with the game tied at 2-2 after six innings. Castellanos allowed the two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five.
Henry Omana pitched two scoreless innings to send the game to the ninth still tied. Omana improved to 2-0 on the season with the win.
Kitsap reliever Tanner Howell walked three batters while recording just one out in the ninth, setting the Black Bears up for late inning heroics with VanDomelen on third, Bryant at second and Daniel Orr at first with just one out.
After Rystin Sveum replaced Howell on the mound for Kitspap, VanDomelen got caught in a rundown attempting to score on a pitch that briefly got away from catcher Corbin Duffy. The throw from third baseman Dylan LaVelle back to Duffy at the plate came off the catchers glove, allowing VanDomelen to score the winning run. Sveum retired the two batters he faced, but the damage was done.
Things got interesting in the bottom of the ninth, as Reta he hit the first two batters he faced. A sacrifice bunt put the tying run at third base and game winner at second with just one out. A walk loaded the based to set up the game ending double play -- executed by Bryant at short, VanDomelen and Orr -- for Reta's fourth save of the season.
Peterson, Serven and Elliott Cary led the Black Bears with two hits each.
First pitch for the rubber match of the series will take place Wednesday night from the Kitsap Fairgrounds and Event Center at 6:35. All Star Billy Sahlinger (3-0, 2.53) will take the mound for the Black Bears opposite Ryan Smith, who will be making his debut for the Blue Jackets. Tune in to Shane Downey for all the action beginning with the Black Bears pregame show at 6:20 on KEDO AM 1400 and streaming live on cowlitzblackbears.com.