Black Bears finish off nine game road trip in Portland.
If there’s one thing about the 2022 Cowlitz Black Bears, they never give up.
In Game Two against the Kamloops NorthPaws on Saturday night at Norbrock Stadium, the Black Bears found themselves in another dog fight. Cowlitz brought the go ahead run to the plate but dropped a game in Kamloops after winning two straight. The rubber match scheduled for Sunday afternoon was cancelled due to rain, leaving the Black Bears wanting more.
Cowlitz finished their six-game trip to Canada, 2-3, after dropping the first two against the Victoria HarbourCats, losing by a run in each. But for the first time since the second weekend of June, the Black Bears picked up two consecutive wins.
Thursday night in Victoria in front of over 3,000 fans celebrating Canada Day, the Black Bears we’re able to find life in the middle innings, and the bullpen was able to close it down, securing the Game Three win, 7-5.
Alec Arnone and Nick Hovland sparked the offense for the Black Bears smacking back-to-back jack’s, igniting a four run sixth inning that would be enough for Cowlitz to pick up the win to salvage a game in Victoria.
Then on Friday in Kamloops, everything was clicking. Cowlitz starter Raul Herrada set the tone for the Black Bears early on, keeping the NorthPaws offense off balance through six innings. The bats followed suit.
Once the Black Bears got to the Kamloops bullpen, the Black Bears were able to take control. Cowlitz built its lead to four in the top of the eighth inning and ended up running away with Game One in Kamloops, thanks to the bat of Cowlitz outfielder, Austin Smith.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth, the San Diego transfer rocketed a ball off the right field wall, clearing the bases, and sealing the deal for the Black Bears.
But he wasn’t done.
An inning later in the top of the ninth, he was put in the same situation, and delivered once again.
Smith ripped a ball down the line, knocking in another three runs, icing the season series against Kamloops.
The San Diego native finished the two games in Kamloops with seven RBI, and now has six multi-hit games over his first thirteen.
The starting pitching for Cowlitz also thrived north of the border. The Black Bears got at least five innings from their starting pitching in four of the five games, getting the bullpen some much needed rest.
And now after a travel day and Monday off for the Fourth of July, the Black Bears new season starts Tuesday at Walker Stadium against the Pickles.
Portland is in the race for the first half, and have a doubleheader Monday against the Corvallis Knights, the leaders in the South Division.
Cowlitz will look for its fourth series win on the year in the midweek series. First pitch for all three games is at 7:05 p.m. from Portland, wrapping up the 10-day road trip before returning back to Story Field Friday evening against the Springfield Drifters.
Fans can listen live to each game by clicking the ‘Listen Live Online’ tab on cowlitzblackbears.com, where the Voice of the Black Bears, Brendan Reilly, will have coverage from Portland.