Ryan Kaser and four relievers combined to toss a two-hitter as the Cowlitz Black Bears wrapped-up their season with a 3-0 victory over Walla Walla in West Coast League baseball on Wednesday at David Story Field.
Cowlitz finished its season 20-34, with identical 10-17 records in each half of the season.
Kaser started and went three innings, allowing a hit and striking out two. Joey Morris threw three innings of hitless relief, with Cody Turner and Isaac Mullins each tossing a hitless inning of relief. Marty Maves gave up a double to open the ninth inning, but settled in to strike out the next three batters with 12 pitches.
“Great job by every one of the pitchers,” Cowlitz coach Grady Tweit said. “They’ve been like this all season except for a few blips.”
The five Cowlitz pitchers combined to throw 119 pitches, 75 for strikes.
“They worked hard,” Tweit said. “What we saw from them tonight with them pounding the strike zone, they built confidence to go back to their programs and do that.”
Cowlitz broke a scoreless tie in the third inning when Dutton Elske slapped a two-out single, and scored on a double from Andrew Walling.
“They got the ball up a little bit and we were able to get the runners moving,” Tweit said. “We scattered our hits well enough with timely hitting.”
The Black Bears added two insurance runs in the fourth when Tanner Parker and Kyle Sandstrom coaxed back-to-back walks. Parker scored on a base hit from Jonathan Hodo, and Sandstrom scored on a throwing error by the Walla Walla catcher.
Tweit admits he’ll miss the players and what they’ve accomplished.
“I look back at when they arrived and were preparing for the first game,” he said. “Where they were at when they arrived to what they’ve accomplished is great. The record didn’t show it, but they worked their butts off and made some big improvements.”
The Black Bears finished with eight hits. Hodo had a pair of singles, Tony Boetto had two hits including a double, and Sandstrom added a double.
Walla Walla’s Ryan Johnston managed to play every position on the field during the game.