PORT ANGELES — The Lefties smacked three home runs, but Port Angeles High graduate Travis Paynter prevailed, picking up the win on the mound for Cowlitz as the Black Bears won 4-3.
Paynter, a 2016 Port Angeles graduate and an alum of the Wilder Baseball Club and a member of last year’s Lefties’ sequad, was an Olympic League 2A MVP and an All-Peninsula Baseball MVP when he pitched for the Roughriders. He has been attending Lower Columbia College the past two years, where he has helped that school win two straight Northwest Athletic Conference titles. He just signed his letter of internet to pitch for Hawaii Pacific University next season.
Paynter went five innings, giving up three hits, one walk and one earned run while striking out five.
Paynter said he did a good job of locating his pitches Monday night, going in and out with his fastball and going outside with his “soft stuff.”
Paynter said it was a little different pitching at Civic Field as an opposing pitcher.
“I love my home field. I love coming back home,” he said.
The Lefties’ Drew Minter began the game by hitting a leadoff home run in the first inning against Paynter but after that, Paynter blanked the Lefties over the next four innings.
Paynter said he simply missed his spot against Minter. He said you can’t miss your spots against the powerful hitters of the West Coast League.
But, he also immediately put it out of his head. One of the lessons they teach at Lower Columbia is mental toughness.
“You just have to flush it,” he said. “The biggest thing is what you do. Do you cave in to it or push past it.”
Three solo shots
Unfortunately for the home team, the Lefties showed plenty of power, but all three of their home runs were solo shots.
With the Lefties down 3-1, Kyle Schmipf hit a solo home run in the eighth inning, his second of the year, to cut the lead to 3-2. The Black Bears added a run in the top of the ninth and it turns out they needed it, as Issac Wersland hit a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth for Port Angeles to make it 4-3.
That was as much as the Lefties could threaten in the ninth, however, as Evan Pace grounded out and Minter struck out to end the game.
Minter ended the game 2 for 4.
Liam Ballance also hit a solo home run for the Black Bears in the second inning.
Tyler Oldenberg took the loss for the Lefties, going five innings and giving up three earned runs on five hits, while striking out four. Travis Busse pitched three innings of relief and was outstanding again, giving up one hit while striking out four.
Busse so far this season has a 0.82 ERA is 11 innings in four appearances. He has also struck out 12 batters.
Black Bears 4, Lefties 3
Bears 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 — 4 6 1
Lefties 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 — 3 9 3
WP: Paynter LP: Oldenberg
Black Bears — Paynter 5IP, 3H, ER, BB, 5K; Denney 3IP, 5H, ER, K; Mullins 1IP, H, ER, K.
Lefties — Oldenberg 5IP, 5H, 3ER, 2BB, 3K; Busse 3IP, H, 09ER, BB, 4K; Portaro 0.1IP, BB; Dunaway 0.2IP, K.
Black Bears — Bell 2-4, R, BB; Burton 2-4, 2B, BB; Kim 0-3, R, 2BB, SB; Ballance 1-3, HR, 2R, RBI; Sosa 1-5, 2B, RBI.
Lefties — Minter 2-4, HR, R, RBI, BB; Schimpf 1-4, HR, R, RBI; Rosenberg 1-4; VanDebrake 1-2; Wersland 1-1, HR, R, RBI.