(Bend, OR) - The Cowlitz Black Bears (16-29-1, 13-28) continue to roll as they defeated the Bend Elks 6-1 on Saturday at Vince Genna Stadium. The Bears have won three in a row, two against the Elks, and ensured the series victory over Bend.
Bears’ starter Jeff Gold (1-6) tossed his second consecutive complete game, this time getting the run support he needed to earn the win. Gold allowed just one earned run and three hits. He walked two and struck out a team record 10 batters in 9.0 innings. In his last start at Kitsap (7/25), Gold threw a complete game, giving up just one run, but the Bears dropped the 1-0 decision.
“Jeff has pitched so well in his last two starts,” said head coach Bryson LeBlanc. “In the last 18 innings, he’s given up just five hits and two runs. He had command of his fastball and threw his curve in any situation and any count.”
The offense did it’s job at the plate this time, scoring twice in the first and four times in the third to take the early 6-0 lead. Two consecutive doubles by first baseman Jordan Fox (UC Irvine, So.) and right fielder Ryan Sheeks (Concordia, Jr.) gave the Bears’ their first run of the contest. Fox’s double extended his hitting streak to 10 games, longest for any Bear this summer. Two batters later, Sheeks scored on second baseman Spencer Ofelt’s (Western Nevada, So.) RBI single.
In the third, catcher Stefan Sabol (Oregon, Fr. to be) walked and designated hitter Braxton Miller (Lewis Clark State, Jr.) singled, before a double steal put them on second and third. Both runners scored on Ofelt’s second RBI single of the contest. An error by Bend’s third baseman Tommy Richards allowed shortstop Michael Hoo (Cal Poly, Fr.) to reach first. Another double steal put Ofelt on third and Hoo on second . Left fielder Casey Watkins (Cal State Fullerton, Fr.) singled home Ofelt and pushed Hoo to third. Hoo then scored on a passed ball by reliever Nick Stiltner.
“We did what we had to do and scored six runs and were able to put the pressure on them early,” LeBlanc said. “They scored one in the fourth, but with the way Jeff was pitching, we were able to cruise a little at the end.”
The Bears scored their six runs off just eight hits. Ofelt led the way on a 2-for-4 night and drove in three runs and Watkins also added two hits . Fox and Sheeks doubled, while Miller and center fielder Jamison Rowe (Nevada, Fr.) each singled.
Ben Guidos (3-2) took the loss for Bend, six runs (four earned) off seven hits and a walk, and struck out two in 2.2 innings.
The Bears and Elks meet for the final time this season on Sunday, August 1. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PM. Cowlitz returns home for the last series at David Story Field on Monday and will host the WCL Portland All-Stars at 6:35 PM. Walla Walla comes in on Tuesday for a three-game set to close out the home schedule.