Longview, Wash.- It was do-or-die at Story Field Thursday for Fan Appreciation Night and Cowlitz delivered beating Yakima Valley 8-1 to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Black Bears (14-10, 25-26) were in control of the get away game from start to finish. After Nyles Nygaard (SR Western Oregon) doubled in the first inning Cory Voss (SR Lewis & Clark State) drove him in with an RBI ground out.
Cowlitz quadrupled their lead in the second sending eight batters to the plate. Marco Valenzuela (SO Nevada) hit an RBI ground out to make it 2-0. Two batters later Ryan Kim (SO University of Portland) hit an RBI single. Kim then scored from third on a wild pitch to make it 4-0.
Preston Jones (SO Oregon State) brought another run home in the third with an RBI single. The Black Bears put the game out of reach in the fifth. Jones picked up his second and third runs batted in with a two out two-run single to increase the lead to 7-0. Lastly Kim picked up his second RBI with another single.
The Pippins (14-10, 27-24) scored their only run in the seventh with an RBI ground rule double into the left corner.
But Joey Morris (SO University of Portland) and closer Kragen Kechely (SO Dallas Baptist) shut out Yakima Valley the rest of the way. Morris just allowed a double in the eighth and Kechely retired the Pippins in order with two strikeouts in the ninth.
CJ Blowers (R-SO Edmonds College) made his best start of the summer earning his first victory to improve his record to 1-2. Blowers pitched a single game high 6.1 innings giving up the only run on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
Cobi Johnson (SR Northwest Nazarene) was the first arm out of the bullpen. Johnson pitched two-thirds of an inning and didn't give up a hit.
The Black Bears finished the regular season with a 15-12 record at home.
Corvallis finally started their series against Wenatchee and split the doubleheader with the AppleSox. The Knights lead the South Division by a half game over Cowlitz and Yakima Valley with one game in hand. Corvallis hosts the Pippins for both teams final series starting tomorrow.
The Black Bears travel to Bend Friday for their final series of the season. The Elks are still alive as well trailing Corvallis by one and a half games. Nico Tellache (LHP SO Oregon) gets the start in game one with the first pitch scheduled for 6:35 PM.
Photo credit: Pat Jordan