The Cowlitz Black Bears hit the road to visit the seven-time West Coast League defending champion Corvallis Knights. The Black Bears look to respond after suffering back-to-back home losses to the Knights on May 31 and June 1.

It has been a roller coaster three weeks for Cowlitz since they last faced the Knights. The Black Bears have not lost a game at David Story Field since they were trounced 14-1 by the Knights on June 1st. Cowlitz has struggled on the road so far dropping series against Nanaimo, Springfield, and Portland. In each road loss, the Black Bears have dropped a game they had a chance in late. The Black Bears blew late leads against the NightOwls (up 5-3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning in game two) and Drifters (up 6-4 going into the bottom of the seventh inning in the finale). Last week in Portland, the Black Bears loaded up the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat and the Pickles held on to take the series opener.

On the contrary, the Black Bears are rock solid at home with a 6-2 record and they come into this series riding a six-game home win streak and fresh off a sweep of the Yakima Valley Pippins. The keys to victory this weekend were the solid bullpen production and the continued awakening of the bats. Justin Parrish’s (Pitching coach) relievers gave up only two runs and struck out fourteen batters in fourteen innings of work this weekend. 

Sergio DeCello (Purdue) was one of the top performers at the plate this weekend, driving in three runs and getting in base in 9-14 plate appearances. Other standouts this weekend were incoming freshmen Noah Malone (Loyola Marymount) and Rowan Kelly (UC Santa Barbara). Malone was a force in left field robbing the Pippins of four runs in Friday’s game on two outstanding catches and throwing out a runner tagging up from third base, to go along with three RBIs, including his first home run as a Black Bear. Kelly could not be put away on Saturday night, going 3-3 with a double, two singles, a walk, and a run scored.

The Black Bears are putting things together nicely but will face a big test this week against the Knights in what is sure to be a hostile environment at Goss Stadium. Coming up at the midway point in the first half of the season, the Black Bears are bracing for a heavyweight fight with the top-seeded team in the WCL South Division. The Knights are a perennial power in this league, and the Black Bears know that the road to the WCL crown runs through Corvallis. The Knights come into this series with the best record in the entire league at 17-3 and currently own a four-game lead over the two-seeded Pickles.

The Black Bears-Knights series will begin on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. at Goss Stadium in Corvallis, OR. Games 2 and 3 (rescheduled from June 2) will be on Wednesday scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and 7:35 p.m. The series finale will start at 6:35 p.m. on Thursday. For more information about upcoming games, stats, or tickets, follow us on social media: X (Twitter) (@CowlitzBBears), Facebook, and Instagram (@cowlitzblackbears). To watch, listen live, or view the 2024 promotional schedule, go to our website