Longview, WA- Once again Cowlitz had to come from behind, but a big four-run fifth inning gave the Black Bears the lead for good as they beat the Kitsap BlueJackets 5-4 in the West Coast League opener for both teams.
Cowlitz trailed 1-0 going into the bottom of the fifth. Ryan Enquist led off the inning reaching on an error. Enquist then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Justin Wakem got aboard on an infield single and then stole second to put two runners in scoring position. After Michael Forgione walked to load the bases, a Toby Johnson grounder induced a throw home, which was in the dirt and skipped away from catcher Benny Kaleiwahea, allowing two runs to score. Colin Winn and Lorin Archibald got an RBI groundout and an RBI single respectively to put Cowlitz up 4-1.
Kitsap wasn’t done, however. In the top of the seventh Taylor Adams drove in Kaleiwahea and Austin Hicks hit an RBI infield single to narrow the gap to 4-3.
The Black Bears answered right away in the bottom of the inning. Winn picked up his second RBI of the game on a sacrifice bunt to score Justin Hughes and increase the lead to 5-3.
Things became very interesting in the top of the eighth. After getting Marten Pauwels to ground out right back to the mound, Black Bear’s reliever Akaash Agarwal walked Luke Stampfl with the bases loaded to bring the game to 5-4. Parker McFadden was brought in as the fourth Black Bears pitcher and got out of the inning with a groundout and strikeout.
The game became tense again in the top of the ninth with two runners on, but McFadden earned the five-out save by getting Gavin Blodgett to fly out to center field.
Cowlitz starter Damon Jones picked up the win, pitching six quality innings only allowing one run on two hits. Kitsap starter Jake Brewer received the loss pitching 4.2, giving up four runs, none of which were earned.
The Black Bears won despite walking 11 total BlueJacket batters.
Cowlitz will try and win the three game series against Kitsap tomorrow at 6:35 PM.