PRESS RELEASE: Longview, Wa.
The 2012 season for the Cowlitz Black Bears was a memorable one. Eerily similar to the end of the 2011 season, it all came down to the final night of the regular season. First, the Black Bears had to win their game against Bend on Fan Appreciation Night and get help from the Western Division Champion Corvallis Knights, who were playing the Klamath Falls Gems. In front of a huge crowd, the Black Bears did their part, defeating Bend 5-0. Then, in a scene to remember, Black Bear players, coaches, fans, and staff all gathered on the infield turf as the Knights vs. Gems game was transferred to the PA system. The game took many swerves, but in the end Corvallis' win at Klamath Falls, coupled with the Black Bears win at home, launched Cowlitz into the WCL Playoffs for the first time in the club's short three year existence.
The Western Division Playoffs began in Longview at Story Field as the #2 seed Black Bears hosted the #1 seed Corvallis Knights. University of Oregon pitcher Cole Irvin was handed the ball by Head Coach Tim Matz in Game #1. In front of another large crowd, the Cowlitz bats would not warm up, as the Knights prevailed 3-1. " Irvin threw a heck of a game, but didn't get much run support" said Head Coach Tim Matz.
Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) would be at Goss Stadium in Corvallis. Matz turned to Hawaii Pacific left hander Mikey Murray in Game #2. Murray, from Castle Rock, Wa., would give another stellar performance on the mound in what would turn out to be his final Black Bears appearance. The Knights pitching continued to stay hot, as the Knights eliminated the Black Bears 3-0. Corvallis moved on to the WCL Championship Series, where they eventually succumbed to the Wenatchee AppleSox in 3 games.
The Black Bears season ended that night; but not the memories and friendships that the 2012 Summer produced. "It got really emotional after the game, both down in the dugout and with the guys getting on the bus" , remembers Black Bears Director of Baseball Operations Jim Appleby. "We got to experience a taste of the post season this year; and we will continue to work hard to get back there next year. This leaves us wanting more", added Appleby. "We'll get there"!!