Chewelah will be solid

Chris Cowbrough
Staff Writer

Cougars should
contend in NEA

Chewelah should be among the upper division elite in the Northeast A League baseball race this spring. The Cougars of Colville High graduate Sawyer Bardwell return seven starters off last spring’s squad.
Key returning players for Bardwell’s Jenkins High team are Ryder Robison, Elan Krausz, Jensen Holloway, Gavin Parrott, Zarren Nelson, Dom Coleman and Dylan Davis.
Bardwell will count on Robison to be his key stopper on the hill.
“Ryder will be our ace,” Bardwell said. “He just signed with Columbia Basin College (Pasco) for baseball and he is looking strong this spring.”
Coleman will be another key arm on the hill for Chewelah. Krausz will also eat up innings on the mound. He’ll be the Cougars’ everyday shortstop.
Holloway will make the switch from catcher to centerfield, where he can use his solid instincts and speed.
Nelson will play second base and Carl Orman moves in behind the plate. Zak Kubik will fill in at second base and at first base.
The Cougars should feature strong pitching and good speed on the base paths. With seven starters back, there is no shortage of experience.
The rookie in the line-up is first-year head coach Bardwell.
“We will be relying on a few sophomores to fill our remaining spots,” Bardwell said.
Chewelah finished fourth in the pre-season Spokesman-Review rankings.
“I think we have the potential to finish in the top three if we can play to our full ability and avoid injuries,” Bardwell said. “Freeman is going to be very tough again this year (two straight Final Four appearances) and Deer Park should be good.”
Bardwell, in his first season at the helm, served as junior varsity pitching coach last season and took over the Chewelah summer Legion team. The Chewelah entry made a run at the Final Four in the state tournament under Bardwell.
“I feel very fortunate to be teaching and coaching in Chewelah,” Bardwell said. “I have a lot of great kids playing for me this year. And we have an excellent Little League program that will continue to feed our program with quality baseball players for years to come.”
The Cougars opened the season last week with a 13-2, 15-5 sweep of East Valley.