Zach Heaton set the tone early, and the Cowlitz Black Bears responded with a 13-0 drubbing of Walla Walla in West Coast League baseball on Monday at David Story Field.
Heaton scattered three hits over seven innings with four strikeouts. He threw 47 of his 67 pitches for strikes.
“Heaton was efficient,” Cowlitz coach Grady Tweit said. “He challenges hitters one after another. He works fast, and keeps the fielders engaged behind him.”
The 13 runs were the most scored by Cowlitz this season, and also marked the largest margin of the victory for the Black Bears this season.
Cowlitz broke up a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with six runs on six hits and a pair of walks, all with no outs. The big hits were a two-run double from Ryan Kim, and RBI singles by Dalton Mitchell, Kyle Sandstrom, Jonathan Hodo, and Austin Bell.
“They swung it well,” Tweit said. “They were patient and got the pitches they wanted. Their pitchers got the ball up a little bit, and they took advantage of it. I also moved some guys around a bit, and maybe that helped.”
The fourth-inning explosion chased Walla Walla starter Luke Short, who gave up seven hits, walked three batters and hit another. In the fourth inning, he was responsible for allowing four hits and two walks before yielding to Isaak Gutierrez, who allowed Kim’s double and Bell’s run-scoring single before coaxing three outs.
In the sixth, the Black Bears plated four runs on a two-run homer by Tony Boetto, a sacrifice fly from Andrew Walling, and a wild pitch. One inning later, Bell and Sosa pushed the Black Bears’ lead to 12-0 with RBI singles. In the eighth, Tanner Parker stroked a one out doubles, and later came home on a groundout from Sandstrom.
“It was nice to see them add to the lead,” Tweit said. “It’s been a long summer, and we’ve been on the other side of that quite a bit. It’s nice to see they stayed loose and positive, and kept pushing it.”
Kyler Bush allowed a hit in the eighth inning, and Marty Maves allowed a hit and a walk in the ninth inning. Bush threw six of his nine pitches for strikes, and Maves had 15 strikes in 24 pitches.
“The bullpen did what they were supposed to do by challenging hitters,” Tweit said. “Heaton set the tone for them, and it was fun to watch.”
The Black Bears had 18 hits. Bell had four singles and two RBIs, Sosa and Mitchell each had three singles, and Boetto also had two singles and scored twice. Kim was also hit by a pitch twice and scored twice, Parker walked twice and scored two runs, and Sandstrom had two hits, scored twice and two RBIs.
Cowlitz (9-16) hosts Walla Walla in the second game of the series tonight.