By, Zack Smolen
Longview, WA — After coming back from their first road trip of the season, the Cowlitz Black Bears (3-3) are returning home for a five-game homestead, kicking off with a two-game set against the NorthWest Nighthawks. The Nighthawks are a non-league team traveling throughout the WCL to help flesh out the schedule in the wake of the Canadian teams dropping out of the 2021 season. So far, NorthWest are off to a great start, sweeping the Wenatchee AppleSox (3-3) in a two-game series while suffering a loss to the Bend Elks (1-5).
Onward and Upward
Heavy rains in the desert weren’t enough to bog down the Black Bear bats at Vince Genna Stadium, as they put up a season-high seven runs against Bend in the rubber match. Brock Bozett (Spokane Falls) knocked in a pair of runs on 2 for 3 hitting while Jacob Stinson (Nevada) had himself an excellent series going 2 for 4 with a triple and a duo of runs scored. On the mound, the pitching remained a major strength of the team as Carson Angeroth (South Umpqua) earned his first win of the season with five strong innings, while the team as a whole held Bend to just nine runs in the series. This team has gelled incredibly well in the young season and are certainly trending in the right direction.
Walking a Tightrope
All of Cowlitz’s 2021 WCL games have been decided by exactly one run. This has given this team some exciting moments and critical high-pressure experience in the first portion of the season. With the offense starting to heat up and the pitching holding steady (2.98 staff ERA), expect this team to pick up some victories by a more decisive margin moving forward.
Players to Watch
Stinson and Dawson Martin (Nevada) joined the team this series and have made an immediate impact. Their up-the-middle defense and excellent approaches at the plate have been welcome additions to the team and should only get better moving forward. Additionally Jaden Sheppard (Ohlone), has been a major threat at the plate and can easily end up being one of the most dangerous bats in the league. And as always, the entire pitching staff for Cowlitz are a treat to watch, and Kelly Austin (Orange Coast) is expected to take the bump this series to keep that trend going.