Time to regroup
after Spring Break
It has been a busy couple of weeks for the Chewelah Cougars baseball team, starting with a 10-0 blanking of Newport and followed by a doubleheader sweep of Riverside.
The Spring Break finished on a down note when the Cougs were swept on the road in two games by Medical Lake.
The Cougars look to re-establish their momentum and focus this week on moving up in the Northeast A League baseball standings.
“It was a hard day,” said head coach Luke Jeanneret of the losses to Medical Lake. “The boys know what to do, and we’ll just regroup and come at it again.”
There will be no NEA playoff this year. The top three teams will advance directly to the District 6/7 playoffs against the Caribou-Trail League.
The format is a departure from previous years and is significant because the Cougars are currently sitting in fourth place of the NEA.
Coach Jeanneret isn’t worried about the change in the post-season format.
“We’re sitting at 5-3 in league and we just need to go out and do the job,” he said. “If we win our games, we control our own destiny.”
pitcher/shortstop Caleb Wiebe. The senior has thrown three straight complete games and been swinging one of the hottest bats all season for the Cougars.
“He’s a tough kid; very driven,” said Jeanneret. “He’s getting it done on offense and defense.”
Back on March 27 Newport (0-7, 0-7) came to Jenkins High School and the Cougars went with starting pitcher Andrew Hansen.
The Cougars responded with a total team effort in the 10-0 victory. The Cougars pounded out 15 hits and scored in every inning, while Hansen earned his first varsity victory with a no-hitter.
Derek Smith, Cordell Bean and Hansen doubled for Chewelah,, while Wiebe tripled.
Hansen allowed no hits, struck out nine and drove in four runs in his five innings of work.
“(Hanson) had the day of his life,” said Jeanneret. “He’s a baseball kid and an absolute joy to coach.”
On March 29 the Cougars traveled to Riverside (1-5, 1-4) and handily defeated the Rams in both ends of the doubleheader.
In game one on a sunny afternoon, the Cougars jump out to an early lead with five first inning runs and didn’t look back in the 10-2 victory.
Wiebe went the distance while also collecting a pair of hits, including a double.
In the second game, the Rams scored a first inning run to take a quick lead, but Chewelah scored in the top of the second to tie the game up. The Cougars took the lead with runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Solid on the road
Wiebe added another hit, while Coleman went the distance for the victory.
“We played good baseball today--they hit the ball well, ran the bases fantastic and we just had fun,” Jeanneret said.
Last Saturday, the Cougars traveled to Medical Lake (7-1, 6-0) and played a little flat, getting swept by the Cardinals.
In game one, the Cougars played as though they were still on spring vacation, committing a season high eight errors in the fourth inning, while unable to get much accomplished on offense.
The Cougars were kept in the game by the pitching of Wiebe.
Chewelah took an early 1-0 lead in the third inning, but Medical Lake recaptured the lead with a three-run fourth and held the lead until the top of the seventh.
With the Cougars trailing 3-2, Chewelah pushed across the tying run, but in the bottom of the inning, Kasey Kelly lofted a pitch into the wind that carried the ball over the centerfield fence for a game winning, walk-off home run.
Wiebe was the hard-luck loser, but he notched his third complete game of the year, striking out nine and only giving up one earned run.
Dustin Crowell tallied two hits in the 4-3 loss.
The first game loss can be chalked up to some poor defensive work by the Cougars.
“You can’t make the errors we did and win,” Jeanneret said. They made the plays and we didn’t.”
In game two, the Cougars still could not mount a consistent offensive threat and starting pitcher Coleman was knocked around for eight runs in his five innings of work.
Brandon Smith pitched the final two innings, giving up one run, but Chewelah couldn’t put any runs up and fell 9-2.
“It was one of those days,” said Jeanneret. “We stung the ball all day right at people; it was just hard to find a hole.”
Brandon Smith had three hits, including a double, and Cordell Bean added a double and a single, in addition to catching both games.
On Wednesday, the Cougars (6-3, 5-3) host Freeman (4-4, 4-2) at 4 p.m. On Saturday, Chewelah will travel to Newport for a doubleheader that gets started at noon.