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Pitching meltdown cost Cougars split of DH

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By Michael Hicks

 

LAKEWOOD — Things certainly looked promising for Evergreen’s baseball team on June 5 in the second game of a doubleheader at Bear Creek. 

First, James Maroney led off with a second-inning single and four hits later — all infield base hits — had the Cougars staring at a four-run lead. Evergreen had every reason to feel comfortable with its cushion.

“A little bit. It wasn’t really like we had a major lead. We knew they’re tough. They’re a good hitting team. They’re probably going to come back from that,” said Maroney, who scored twice in the second game. 

Boy, did they.

Bear Creek didn’t blink an eye, scoring three runs in the third inning and eight times in a 14-batter fourth inning to score a 16-6 victory in Game 2, sweeping the doubleheader to give Evergreen its first two losses of the season. The Bears won the opener 6-0 behind a combined five-hitter from Ryan Reno and Corky Patton.

Whereas in the opener when Evergreen failed to get a runner past second base, the Cougars (1-2) were aggressive at the plate and on the basepaths against Bear Creek starter Tyler Rayburn in Game 2. Cody Jess scored twice and had the third of four consecutive infield singles in the second inning as Evergreen went up 5-1.

“Early in the game we were aggressive at the plate, we put the ball in play and we made them make mistakes,” Evergreen head coach Terry Hensley said. “With good base runners we were able to manufacturer some runs.”

But that mentality was lost once Bear Creek got ahead of the count on Cougars starter Jake Murphy and a trio of relievers. The Bears patient hitting, led by Jacob Harris’ two homers and four RBIs, keyed a furious rally.

It took Evergreen three pitchers to get out of the top of the fourth. Instead of holding a 6-4 lead, the Cougars trailed 13-6 by the end of the inning.