By Jeff Bowe / Cowlitz Black Bears
Longview, WA- The Cowlitz Black Bears (19-32) plan was to pitch by committee in the 9th and final match up of the 2015 season with the Bellingham Bells (32-19). The Bears playoff hopes were gone but bragging rights of a series win over the Western Division Champion and defending 2014 West Coast League Champion Bellingham Bells still remained up for grabs.
Kelvan Pilot (Mesa CC) received the start and struggled from the onset, on a 2-0 count he planted the ball into the back of leadoff hitter Beau Branton (Stanford), one of two times he was hit-by-pitch on the day. Branton finished 2-for-4 with two RBI’s his 11th and 12th RBI’s of the year. Pilot followed that up with a walk to KJ Brady (Washington), Brady finished 0-for-4 with a SAC fly RBI his 10th RBI of the season. Bronson Larsen (BYU) came up with runners and 2nd and 3rd after a failed pick off attempt moved both Branton and Brady into scoring position.
Larsen grounds one to short and is recorded for out number one but Branton scores putting the Bells up 1-0. Larsen advanced into 3rd and came home on a ground out to 3rd base by Patrick McGrath (WSU) making it 2-0 in the top frame.
The Bells added two more in the second and 1 more in the top of the third to grab a 5-0 lead to the bottom of the third inning. Bowen Ogata (Utah) finished his day in productive style knocking in his 12th RBI of the season in the bottom of the 3rd on a sac fly RBI and his 13th along with 14th RBI of the year in the 8th inning with a single to left field finishing his evening 2-for-4 with three RBI’s.
Lorin Archibald (LCC) already had his name permanently etched into the record books breaking the all-time home run record with four, now he has taken the all-time single season RBI record knocking in his 31st RBI of the year to pass Kyle Garlick (28th round draft pick in 2015 LAD) with his 8th inning infield single that scored Hunter Cullen (CSUF). Cullen finished 1-for-5 with an infield single and run scored.
Archibald finished 2-for-5, Dominic DeMarco (New Mexico) went 1-for-3 with two walks, Ryan Aguilar (Univ. of Arizona) checked in at 0-for-3 with one walk, Casey Henderson (UC Riverside) drove in his 22nd RBI of the season in his 1-for-5 night. Sean Sutton (Seattle Univ.) knocked 3 hits in 4 at-bats with a run scored and his 10th RBI of the season, his second three hit performance of the year (6/20 at Victoria) and Justin Hughes (LCC) was hit-by-pitch and walked finished 1-for-2 with a single in the 8th along with a stolen base (1st of the season).
The Black Bears went into the bottom of the 8th trailing 11-3. The 8th inning brought home five runs on six hits and put the Bears just three runs shy of tying the Bells with the score sitting at 11-8 through 8. Unfortunately, that is where it would finish, Riley Storedahl delivered the final frame clinching his second save of the season retiring the Bears 1-2-3 and end the comeback bid with the final, 11-8.
UP NEXT: Black Bears hit the road to finish the season at Kitsap (22-28). Layne Bruner (Washington State) gets the ball for game one, Cal Neely (Linfield) will start in game two and Chris Castellanos (Stanford) will make his final start of the season in the final game of 2015 at Gene Lobe Field in Bremerton, Washington. The Black Bears played their first road series of the season in Kitsap.
The Black Bears would like to thank the loyal and supportive fans for being such a huge part of what we do here on a day-in and day-out basis, without your support none of it would be possible. 1,545 filled the park tonight and 30,370 total for the year, averaging 1,125 putting the Bears at 7th in the West Coast League in attendance for the 2015 season!