Cougars stumble in final week of NEA play

Chewelah faces loser out gameThe Jenkins High School Cougars stumbled to the finish of the Northeast A League regular season, losing three of four to finish third in the baseball standings. Chewelah played a loser out game in the first round of the NEA playoffs that started on Tuesday at the home of the higher seeded team.Chewelah hosted Riverside on Tuesday. The survivor will advance to Colville on Wednesday to play in the Indians in the double elimination round of the District 7 1A Tournament. The tournament moves on to league champion Lakeside on Saturday. A seeding game is scheduled at 11 a.m., with the championship at approximately 3 p.m.Chewelah loses late to Colville comebackBack on April 24, the Colville Indians came to play in Chewelah in the game that would go a long way in deciding which team would finish second in the NEA. Dylan Bigler was on the mound for the Cougars and opposing him on the mound was Colville’s Cody Boggs. Boggs would work his way out of jams in each of the first three innings before Chewelah finally pushed across a run in the bottom of the fourth. Leadoff hitter Caleb Wiebe reached first on an error and was advanced to second on a groundout by Cody Sweat. Joey Baker came to bat and delivered a RBI double to deep left to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead. Bigler, on the other hand, cruised through the first four innings, only allowing two walks and no hits. In the top of the fifth inning, a single and double put runners on second and third with nobody out and Kyle Baker drove in one run with a sacrifice fly to center that tied the game at one. Bigler managed to get out of the inning without any more runs scoring, and the Cougars got the lead back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Chewelah takes lead in fifth inningLukyn Holling replaced Boggs to start the inning and was greeted by a long double by Calvin Connell. After a wild pitch put him on third, Derek Smith scored him on a fly ball to center to give Chewelah a 2-1 lead. The top of the sixth inning proved to be the pivotal inning of the game--two hits, an intentional walk, a balk and an error allowed the Indians to score three runs off Bigler and take a 4-2 lead. “We had a couple mental mistakes in that inning that kind of cost us the game,” said head coach Luke Jeanneret. From there, Holling shut the Cougars down in order in the sixth and seventh, and Colville had an important victory, locking up a tiebreaker over Chewelah for second place.The Cougars played well the rest of week, but big innings proved to be their downfall. Against Freeman, Chewelah gave up five runs early, including a windblown home run to Mitchell Vander Linden. “That was a tough break,” Jeanneret said. “That ball was a pop fly in any other park we play in.” The Cougars scored two in the seventh to close the gap, but couldn’t score the tying run and fell 5-4.On Saturday, the Cougars traveled to Newport to take on the Grizzlies in a doubleheader. In game one, the Cougars led 2-0 early before Newport tied it in the fifth at two. But in the top of the seventh, the Cougars scored five runs to break the game open and win 7-2. Cody Sweat pitched a complete game, giving up six hits and two runs to run his record to 4-0 on the season. “Cody pitched a fantastic game,” his coach said. “He has been lights out all year and has put together a great senior season.” Cougars save their staff in the second game with NewportIn game two, Chewelah did not pitch Caleb Wiebe or Calvin Connell with Tuesday’s playoff game in mind. “I didn’t want to pitch anybody I thought they might have a chance to see the next game,” said coach Jeanneret. “So I gave a couple of the younger guys a chance to pitch; they did a pretty good job.” Starter Joey Baker and reliever Carson Coleman were touched up for seven runs in the second inning and that was all the runs the Grizzlies would need to cruise to a 7-3 win.