The Cheney 17U Summerhawks baseball team ended their season on a high note after they finished second in the 16U bracket of the Smash N’ Splash tournament in Moses Lake, July 24.
In a July 21 Cheney Free Press story, head coach Austin Sharp said the Summerhawks were allowed to compete in the 16U bracket as long as the two 17-year-old players did not pitch.
Before the tournament, Cheney split a July 19 doubleheader against the Prairie Cardinals, losing game one, 4-2 and winning the nightcap, 7-4.
Johnny Owings took the pitching loss in game 1 while Matt Riggs (2-1) got the win in the nightcap. Batting stats were not available as of press time.
“That second game was a big win for us, especially going into the tournament,” Sharp said.
The Summerhawks began the tournament with an 11-5 loss to Northwest Premier and a 3-0 win over Bulldogs Elite in pool play.
Against NW Premier, Cheney led 3-2 in the second inning, but committed several infield errors, which led to Premier scoring six runs to take the lead.
“The game got away from us,” Sharp said. “Committing those errors kind of shut us down.”
At the plate, Andrew Witt was 1 for 3 with two RBIs. Owings (1-3) took the loss on the mound.
The Summerhawks rebounded against the Bulldog Elite. With a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning, Cheney added a couple of insurance runs after Nick Berman’s two-RBI triple.
Dylan Arthur (2-3) got the pitching win after he gave up five hits and struck out nine batters.
“It was a tough game but the team played their butts off,” Sharp said. “I was very happy for them.”
Cheney, a No. 2 seed, carried that momentum into the playoffs where they defeated the Crimson Cannons, 6-2 and the Sandpoint Dawgs, 5-2 before an 8-2 loss to Premier in the championship game.
Sharp described the quarterfinal game against the Cannons as “tight all of the way” until the sixth inning. Tied 1-1, Cheney took the lead after they posted three runs in the bottom of the frame after Berman’s RBI double and Jacob Lauber’s two-RBI double.
Of the Summerhawks’ 11-hit attack, Devin Cook was 1 for 3 with a two-RBI double, Mason Bender was 2 for 3 with a run scored and Witt was 2 for 4.
Lauber (2-2) got the pitching win after giving up three hits and striking out eight.
“We had to play our best to be in that game,” Sharp said. “Lauber pitched the best game I’ve ever seen him throw.”
Against the Dawgs, Cheney took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. They boosted it with two runs in the third and two more in the seventh after Witt’s two-RBI triple.
Cook (1-1) earned the win after giving up two hits and striking out eight.
Against Premier, Sharp said the championship game was like the first in that his team committed a combined five errors in the first two innings.
“It was almost the same story,” he said. “We didn’t play good backup against the starter Nick Berman. It was a tough way to finish the tournament.”
Berman (2-1) took the loss.
“After the game, I told the players that there was nothing to be ashamed about,” Sharp said. “They played some of the best competition I’ve seen.”
Cheney finished the season 13-15. Sharp said his players grew a lot throughout the season, which he feels will carry forward to when they play high school baseball next spring.
“A lot of guys are going to be on varsity next year and I think they’re ready for it,” Sharp said.