Cowlitz caught a bug from outside of the Pacific Northwest. The epidemic is spreading.
“Like we always talk about, hitting is contagious,” Black Bears manager Grady Tweit said. “When one guy starts squaring up a ball, another wants to get on the bandwagon and follow that parade a little bit. That’s what we’re finally seeing, that early work paying off and guys getting against their front side and getting the barrel to the ball.”
Cowlitz (3-4) beat the Kelowna Falcons 6-2 on a rainy Friday night at David Story Field, as new arrivals Austin Bell and Andres Sosa hit home runs. Marty Maves got his second win of the season with one inning of relief.
Bell hit a dinger in his first at bat with the Bears, plating Sosa in the first inning, and Sosa put a 2-1 fastball over the left-field wall in a hurry during the fifth inning.
“We did get an injection of some new guys that helped out a lot, but I also think you see some of the early work start to pay off,” Tweit said. “I know it gets frustrating, but they’re trusting the process. Having those extra bodies there, guys can relax and not worry about trying to be the man every time, and we saw better results tonight.”
Cowlitz led 6-1 before a hard rain pounded the turf and the game was stopped for about 15 minutes for a rain delay. It didn’t pose much of a problem for the Bears, and Tweit categorized it as more of a long inning than an actual delay.
“That was the nice thing; it wasn’t prolonged too much,” Tweit said. “It is tough as a player, but that’s what they have to get used to and fight through because it’s going to happen several more times in their careers I hope.”
Zach Heaton pitched the first four innings for Cowlitz, striking out two with one earned run. Maves came in for the fifth inning, walking one with one strikeout, before giving way to Joey Morris for three innings. Morris allowed one earned run with two strikeouts, and Travis Paynter struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning.
Isaac Deveaux tripled and finished 1 for 2 with two walks and two runs, while Dalton Mitchell was 2-4 with one run and one RBI.
The Black Bears have looked much different over the last two home games, and that’s something Tweit hopes will continue.
“It always gives you optimism when you see fresh bodies and guys are hungry,” Tweit said. “That’s the curse of summer ball, right? You’re always waiting on one more and then when they get here you’re like ‘This is fun again.’ When you’re not trying to piece it together and figure out who can play what position or play a guy out of position. So it’s nice to have that extra person in your back pocket.”
The home series with Kelowna (1-3) continues through Sunday.