Late Runs Break Tie, Prevent Sweep Over Cowlitz

Offense scores just one run to back up Johnson's 10 K's

The Cowlitz Black Bears prevented a sweep with a two-run ninth inning to defeat the Yakima Valley Pippins 3-1 Thursday night.

The Black Bears loaded the bases to start the ninth after two walks issued by Landon Schirer and a well-placed attempted sacrifice bunt by Matthew Schwarz that turned into a single.

Schirer then walked and hit the next two batters, giving Cowlitz a 3-1 lead and ending Schirer’s outing without recording an out.

Case Matter relieved him, striking out Jacob Stinson to start his appearance. Sam Brown then flew out to shallow left field, appearing to score Schwarz on a sacrifice fly, but the Pippins appealed to third base and the umpires ruled that Schwarz left early. 

That decision ended the inning with just a two-run lead for Cowlitz, but it proved all they would need as former Pippin Mark Woinarowicz earned the save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Kenny Johnson (4-3, 4.98 ERA) started on the mound and turned in a terrific start, with one run against him in the third inning his only blemish. He walked just one over six innings while striking out a season-high 10 batters.

His offense scored just one run in the seventh inning after scoring 19 runs in the first and second games of the series. Chaz Myers led off the ninth with a walk and moved to second base when James Bradwell’s pickoff attempt was thrown wild. Myers moved to third base on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Carpentier Jr.

Peysen Sweeney (0-1, 6.54 ERA) pitched a scoreless seventh inning, striking out three with a single sandwiched in the middle.

In the eighth with the game tied 1-1, the Pippins wanted to turn to Seth Kuykendall. Kuykendall emerged from the bullpen and started warming up, but the umpires discovered that Kuykendall had been left off the lineup card and he was not permitted to enter the game.

Instead, Owen Wild (2-0, 2.70 ERA) was forced to get warm in a hurry to enter the game. Still, he preserved the tie despite walking a batter in the inning.

Schirer (0-1, 2.76 ERA) wound up with his first loss of the season while Matter (0-0, 7.56 ERA) did not receive a decision.

The Pippins conclude their homestand with a two-game set against the Highline Bears Friday and Saturday. Both games will get started at 7:05 p.m. with players signing autographs after the games.

By Chris Rosato Jr.

July 30, 2021