Chewelah, league-leading Lakeside next
One bad half inning—that’s all that stood in the way of Colville sweeping four Northeast A League baseball games last week instead of going 3-1.
With the NEA schedule heading down the homestretch and its final week, the Indians (7-5) will face league-leading Lakeside (7-3) and second place Chewelah (6-4) this week.
CHS traveled to Chewelah on Tuesday for a single game and will head to Nine Mile Falls on Friday for a pivotal doubleheader with Lakeside (2 p.m. start).
“It’s a big week for us,” CHS head coach Boo Morrison said of three games with the NEA front-runners. “We’re starting to hit the ball and we’re playing good defense…finally. I hope we continue to do that this week.”
A sweep and Indians win the league
The three games mark the final NEA games of the regular season for the Indians. A sweep will earn Colville the league championship and some bragging rights into next week’s District playoffs.
In a doubleheader last Tuesday, the Indians were productive offensively and played solid defense in sweeping visiting Riverside, 10-8, 12-3.
On Saturday, the Indians got a complete game three-hitter from senior right-hander Sam Sprague in a 4-1 win at Freeman (5-6).
In the second game, Colville and junior right-hander Austin Hegney were cruising along with a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh before Hegney simply lost command and couldn’t find the plate. Freeman plated five runs to win 5-4 and pull out a split with CHS.
After the game, Morrison could only blame himself for leaving Hegney in too long.
“I take complete blame for that loss,” Morrison said. “I should have gotten Austin out.”
The meltdown was inexplicable. Hegney was clearly in the zone for six strong innings. He had scattered three hits and hadn’t walked anyone through six before the wheels fell off in the FHS seventh. And even more impressive was Hegney’s pitch count (72 pitches through six innings).
But for whatever reason, Hegney couldn’t find the strike zone in the seventh, walking two and hitting a pair of batters during the Freeman Rally Cap Special.
“I felt really bad for Austin,” Morrison said. “He was cruising…looked like one of the league’s best pitchers for six innings.”
‘Never out ‘till the fat…’
Morrison figured that when his son, Jessie, stroked a two RBI single to right-centerfield in the CHS sixth inning, that was all the insurance Hegney would need.
But baseball isn’t over…till it’s over.
“Austin just couldn’t finish it and I didn’t come out and get him,” Morrison said.
In game two at Freeman, CHS scored single runs in the first and third innings before plating two more in the sixth on Morrison’s two-RBI single.
Colville totaled eight hits in the game and committed three errors.
In the first inning, Lukyn Holling laced an RBI single for Colville after Zach Thompson had drawn a walk and catcher JR Henry had singled.
In the third inning, Kyle Baker singled and came around to score on a fielder’s choice.
In the first game, Sprague was in command, though the senior was fashionably wild early-on (five walks in the first two innings). But Sprague settled down and didn’t issue a walk past the second inning.
Sprague fanned nine, scattered three hits and issued those five early walks.
“Sam pitched well and we played good defense behind him,” Morrison said. “We’re playing better defense because we’re finally getting people in the right places.”
Baker (double), Thompson, Henry, Colton Davis, Streibeck, Peterson, Morrison and Holling all hit safely for Colville.
The hottest Colville hitter of the bunch was and is Daulton Streibeck (seven for 10 and three doubles). The second baseman didn’t commit an error on the day and is hitting over .400.
In the 10-8 win over Riverside back on April 17, Henry got the start and went two innings before retiring (sore arm). He gave way to Hegney, who surrendered three runs on three hits.
Colville had to come from behind to win this one.
Riverside led 5-0 before Colville got back into it in the third with two runs and in the fourth inning with five more. Key hits included Streibeck’s double, and RBI singles from Baker, Davis, Austin Peterson and a two RBI single from Chris Boggs.
Colville collected 10 hits in the game.
Davis crashed a two-run home run (his first) in the sixth inning. Streibeck had a pair of doubles.
Tevyn Holling picked up the win in relief (three innings one run allowed).
In the second game, Colville pounded Riverside pitching for a season-high 14 hits and 12 runs. And for the first time this season, the Indians played errorless baseball.
Colville trailed 3-2 into the bottom of the fifth inning before erupting for eight runs on six hits. Big hit in the big inning was Sprague’s three-run home run (his first of the season) over the left-centerfield fence.
Hitting safely for Colville were Baker, Thompson (two hits), Sprague (two hits), Henry, Peterson, Cody Boggs, Streibeck (three hits), and Morrison (three hits).
In games on April 17, Chewelah edged Lakeside 1-0 behind Dylan Bigler.
In the other game on April 17, Newport beat Freeman 9-2.
Freeman blasted Newport 16-4 last Thursday.
On Saturday, Chewelah swept Riverside 6-2, 6-2.
Kettle Falls transfer Ryan Hartinger may be eligible to pitch for the CHS varsity this week. The sophomore right-hander has been dominating in his stints on the mound for the Colville junior varsity (two no-hitters and two one-hitters).