The Bears Blue baseball team wound up having a week-long break from games after its scheduled contest vs. Lancaster (McCaskey) on Tuesday, July 2, was postponed to Tuesday, July 23, due to inclement weather for the third time this summer. When they returned to action on Monday, July 8, the Bears seemed to be reinvigorated. However, it wasn’t enough to get the win, and now their losing streak is up to six games.
On the road against SWS of Lampeter-Strasburg, Bears Blue worked quickly to get on the board in the top of the first inning, loading the bases off singles from Hunter Stewart and Josh Kreider, along with Jace Bock getting hit by a pitch. A Jake Black sacrifice fly was enough to score Stewart for the first run, though SWS forced a groundout and a strikeout to end the frame.
Stewart ran into trouble in his first two innings on the mound; he allowed a Brennan Havey walk and a Taso Kovack double to start the bottom of the first. A strong throw from Andrew Donahue in left prevented a run on the latter hit, however, and Stewart escaped with a pop-out to third and two strikeouts. He did the same in the second after Onesimus Romero led off with a triple, responding with three straight outs.
Bears Blue increased their lead in the top of the third with some assistance from SWS errors. After Bock legged out an infield single and a Kreider flyball to right was dropped, Jake Black came up with his second RBI of the single on a single. SWS would force a double play on the next at-bat, but Tyler Souders and Justin Black answered with back-to-back RBI doubles. The latter then came home after an error on a Donahue shot to left, putting Bears Blue up 5-0.
Stewart’s luck would run out in the bottom half of the inning; Kovack sent a one-out pitch over the left field fence for a two-run homer, cutting the score to 5-2. He would once again get out of a jam in the fourth with a pop-out to first after SWS got runners into scoring position with two walks and a sacrifice bunt.
Sydney Stewart came on in relief of her brother to start the fifth inning. Unfortunately for her, Bears Blue would falter defensively, committing a pair of errors that set up an SWS barrage. Ryan Guyer and Ethan Witmer each hit RBI singles, and the two would be brought in on a Romero double. SWS scored five unearned runs in all to take a 7-5 lead into the sixth.
The game wasn’t over yet, however. Donahue led off with an infield single and was quickly plated on a double from Ben Wentling, who later advanced to third on a wild pitch. Bock came through with a sacrifice fly from there to tie it up at 7-7.
SWS was able to load the bases in the bottom frame thanks to two walks and a hit-by-pitch, with Souders replacing Sydney Stewart on the mound. With one out, Nate Royer hit into a fielder’s choice, which was enough for Kovack to score the go-ahead run.
Souders struck out the next batter for the final out of the inning, leaving Bears Blue with one last chance. They got a runner into scoring position via a Souders walk and a Donahue single, but SWS reliever Jack Swarr forced a pop-foul to third for the last out, giving his team a narrow 8-7 victory.
Kovack was a monster at the plate, reaching base in all four of his at-bats, hitting a double and a home run and scoring 3 runs. Romero had a double and a triple as well, and the two combined for 4 RBIs. Grant Kerchner went 5 1/3 innings at pitcher, giving up 12 hits and 6 earned runs while striking out 4 batters. Swarr got the win in 1 2/3 innings of relief, only allowing 2 hits.
Kreider matched Kovack offensively, leading all players with 3 hits and reaching base 4 times. Bock and Donahue each had a pair of hits, while Jake Black finished with 2 RBIs. Hunter Stewart yielded 4 hits and 2 earned runs in his four innings on the mound. He had 5 strikeouts. Sydney Stewart allowed 6 runs in the next 1 1/3 innings but only one was earned.
Now 3-6 on the summer, Bears Blue is scheduled to have three home games in two days. After hosting Manheim Township on Wednesday, July 10, they’ll finish a suspended game against Donegal from Wednesday, June 19, on Thursday, July 11, then play the Indians again immediately following that contest’s conclusion. Lastly, they’ll have a road game against Cocalico on Monday, July 15.