LONGVIEW, Wash. — Sweets starter Cody Poteet came into Friday night against the Cowlitz Black Bears with a perfect 2-0 record and has been a strong presence for Walla Walla since joining the club in early July.
Friday was different however, as the right-hander lost a pitchers duel in the sixth inning at Story Field in the series finale after being tagged for four earned runs and exiting after 5 1/3 innings of work. Cowlitz scored six runs in that inning and went on to pick up a 9-2 victory.
Cowlitz scored first when designated hitter Ryan Aguilar led off with a first-pitch single to left and later stole second base for the sixth time this year. An errant pickoff throw sailed into center field, allowing him to reach third before he scored on second baseman Taylor Bryant’s sacrifice fly to center, giving the Black Bears a 1-0 advantage.
Walla Walla (23-19) responded in the top of the third inning with a leadoff base hit of its own. Left fielder Mike Paulson slapped a double down the left field line and scored when right fielder Kris Paulino reached on an error. That error was a rare one for Cowlitz left fielder Derreck Salberg, who misplayed Paulino’s line drive and allowed the ball to sail over his head and reach the wall, tying the game at 1-1.
The wheels fell of for the visiting Sweets in the sixth, as Cowlitz batted around, crossing the plate six times before tallying twice more in the seventh. The line began moving with third baseman Cody Childs’s leadoff walk. Outfielder Devyn Bolasky tripled to center field on a line drive that went under a diving Sweets outfielder Luke Persico’s glove, giving the home team a 2-1 lead. Two hitters later, second baseman Taylor Bryant singled a run home and shortstop Corey Van Domelen did the same, ending Poteet’s night.
Left-hander Chris Lovejoy came in to replace Poteet with runners at first and third and induced a line drive out to shortstop in his first hitter faced. A walk loaded the bases before a second consecutive free pass scored another, with the big blow coming from first baseman Kyle Knigge.
The All-Star cleared the bases with a three-run double to give Cowlitz a commanding 7-1 edge.
Walla Walla scored a run in the next frame thanks to shortstop Nick Vilter’s leadoff double in the top of the seventh, his second hit of the game. Catcher Dom Miroglio drove him home with a single, but the home team Black Bears struck for two more runs in the bottom of the inning to end the scoring at 9-2.
Cowlitz 9, Walla Walla 2
Walla Walla 001 000 100 — 2 6 2
Cowlitz 010 006 20X — 9 13 2
Poteet, Lovejoy (6), Dillman (7), Hall (8) and Miroglio. Paddon, Wilson (7), Omana (9) and Reece.
Hits — WW: Paulino, Mendenhall, Vilter 2, Miroglio, Paulson; Cow: Knigge, Bolasky, Aguilar 2, Bryant 2, VanDomelen 2, Reece 2, Salberg 2, Grebeck.