File photo by Sue Misao
BY MIKE MALTAIS
The Liberty bell High School varsity boys’ baseball team defeated district rival Kittitas, 6-0, in a no-hit shutout Monday (May 6) to advance to state play for the first time since 2009 and only the second time in school history.
Senior pitcher Andrew Ryan and eighth-grader Derek Alumbaugh combined to strike out 14 of the 21 batters they faced, and in spite of giving up more walks than usual they didn’t allow a single Coyote to score.
Coach Don Calvert, who also took the first Liberty Bell team to state, said both his pitchers had to struggle a bit to find the strike zone “but they figured it out.
Ryan started on the mound, threw the first four innings and struck out nine. He coolly worked his way out of a second-inning jam when he loaded the bases with three walked batters before striking out the next three hitters to retire the side.
Alumbaugh took over in the fifth inning, had some walks of his own, but struck out five to seal the shutout.
Following a slow start that didn’t see either team send a base runner across home plate until the midpoint of the game, the Mountain Lions took the initiative in the bottom of the fourth inning when Ryan doubled down the right field line and was knocked home on a ground ball out by David Dinsmore.
As it turned out, that first run would be enough to win the game but the Methow boys were far from through.
Chip Jones singled in the fifth inning and later worked his way around the bases to score.
In the sixth, Milo Holston and Dinsmore both walked and with those runners on first and second Chase Kurtz “got a great push bunt past the pitcher to load up the bases,” Calvert recalled. “Then Riley Calvert hit a nice single to drive in two runs.”
When Morgan Palm came to the plate he smacked a double to bring home Calvert, and that put the game away.
The Mountain Lions – the third-ranked 2B team in the state behind Northwest Christian (Colbert) and Riverside Christian according to the sports website MaxPreps.com – will be back in Wenatchee Thursday (May 9) to play Riverside Christian for the district championship. The Crusaders advanced to the title game following a 14-2 win over White Swan.
“They are a good hitting team and match up with us pretty well,” Calvert said.
The winner of Thursday’s game will travel to Spokane and the loser to Walla Walla for the next round of state playoffs.
Thursday’s game is scheduled to get underway at 6 p.m. on the campus of Wenatchee Valley Community College.