In about two weeks, Cowlitz Black Bears manager Grady Tweit will be kicking himself, the result of a long season and a relatively short decompression period.
Cowlitz hosts its season finale Wednesday after losing 5-3 to the Walla Walla Sweets at Story Field on Tuesday. The wrap, Tweit said, will be bittersweet since he loves baseball but hasn’t had many free moments over the roller coaster season he’s managed.
“It’s been a weird season from the get-go,” Tweit said. “It’s always bittersweet, I’m probably going to start kicking myself after this question. As you finally get your down time, you start asking yourself ‘why didn’t I do that? Why did I do that?’ The bitter part is going to sink in, and the sweet part will come back in the spring.”
Cowlitz’s second to last game of the year epitomized its season: after falling behind two runs early, the Black Bears tied the score, before surrendering three more runs and taking a loss.
The Bears registered only four hits, while giving up 12 to Walla Walla, and each team committed four errors apiece.
The better part of the Bears’ pitching staff hurled fastballs, six pitchers combined to allow only two earned runs while striking out nine and didn’t allow a single walk.
Mitch Lines allowed two hits with one strikeout over two innings, Joe Solomon pitched the next two frames, with one earned run on four hits and two punchouts, while Cody Turner struck out one over 1-⅓ innings. Jay Edwards and Christian Peters combined for two innings and three strikeouts, while Isaac Mullins threw the final 1-⅔ innings, striking out two and not allowing a single baserunner.
As has been the case for much of the season, the solid pitching lines weren’t enough and Cowlitz was unable to do enough in the face of serious adversity.
The big thing for the players who come to Longview and play summer ball in the West Coast League is improvement, and Tweit has seen plenty of that.
“Zach Heaton, there’s a guy who redshirted down at Dallas Baptist and there was good stuff when he got here and they knew there was going to be even better stuff,” Tweit said. “From where he went at the start, to finally getting the arm built up and showing what he could do at the end, he proved why he’s at Dallas Baptist and should be key for their team next year.”
It didn’t stop there.
“As you go down the list, Ryan Kim is still growing and he’s still fun to watch,” Tweit said. “(Andres) Sosa has made some huge strides and is starting feel his swing even more. I can do down the whole list and talk about every single guy from day one until now.”
Bears players stayed to enjoy each other’s company following the last meet-and-greet of the season, and will take their final at bats of the summer Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at home, against Walla Walla.