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Black Bears get Bieber Fever

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Cowlitz Black Bears fans can catch a dose of Bieber Fever this summer at David Story Field.

No, the Canadian pop singer won’t be holding a concert in the Longview-Kelso metroplex, but a Southern California standout with an identical surname will perform regularly on the pitcher’s mound.

Shane Bieber, along with teammate Derrick Rustich at UC-Santa Barbara, UCLA outfielder Kort Peterson and pitcher Grant Dyer, and first baseman Chris Iriart from Orange Coast College are the latest collegiates agreeing to play for the Black Bears in the West Coast League this summer.

Bieber, a native of Laguna Hills, Calif., has made two starts for the Gauchos this season and is 1-0 with a 1.50 earned-run average. In 12 innings, he’s struck out eight batters.

A three-year high school starter, Bieber also played third base and outfield and had an 8-4 record with a 1.40 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 80 innings as a senior. He played in the Orange County All-Star Game, and was named to the Rawlings All-American California Region honorable mention team.

Rustitch, a first baseman, played in the Area Code games. According to a scouting report on the perfectgame.org website, Rustitch has a “big, strong, athletic build and is physically mature. He has a long and strong swing, good bat speed and looks to pull and lift. A polished fielder with soft hands and good balance, he’s accurate on line throws.”

Dyer, a right-handed pitcher, is 1-2 with a 3.78 ERA this season for the defending national champions. In 17 innings spanning five appearances, he’s scattered 11 hits and struck out 10.

“Grant had one of the better breaking balls in Southern California last year coming out of high school,” UCLA coach John Savage said on the school’s website. “He has been constantly improving over the last 18 months, with his velocity making a jump along with his secondary pitches continuing to get better. We’re very excited for what the future holds for him.”

A graduate of Dana Hills High, Dyer had a 1.24 ERA with 54 strikeouts as a senior to earn all-Sea View League honors.

Peterson was the third-ranked outfielder in California, and the 155th-ranked player on perfectgame.org among the top 300 prospects eligible for the 2013 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. A Rawlings All-American second-team pick, Peterson competed for the Oakland A’s in the 2012 Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif.

“Kort is another talented young outfielder coming into our program,” Savage said on the school’s website. “He played for a tremendous program at St. Francis High School in the Bay Area, and will bring athleticism and a strong left-handed presence to our team.”

The perfectgame.org scouting report claims Peterson has “very good arm strength from an over the top release with accurate, on line throws. A left-handed hitter, he has a short, compact swing, plus bat speed and has showed power and ability to drive the ball.”

Iriart is a utility player who can also play the outfield and pitch. In 20 games this season, he’s hitting .358 with four home runs and 23 RBIs in 81 at-bats.

He has a “very strong, well-proportioned build,” according to the perfectgame.org scouting report. “He has bat speed, the ball jumps off the barrel and he makes consistent hard contact.” On the mound he has a “strong arm with good accuracy and has thrown 85 miles per hour. He works fast and is a strike thrower, and his curve ball has hard downer bite at times.”

The Black Bears kickoff their season with the Portland Ports at David Story Field on June 5.

Rick McCorkle is a sports reporter for The Daily News. Reach him at 360-577-2529 or rmccorkle@tdn.com.

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