BY MIKE MALTAIS
The Methow Valley Babe Ruth team, Bear Creek Lumber, surprised its competition at the Omak Tournament last weekend when the team took a last-place seeding and turned it into a first-place trophy.
In a finish reminiscent of Liberty Bell High School’s varsity playoff thrillers last month, Bear Creek came from two runs down in the final inning of the title game to snatch the 9-8 victory from Omak.
“We won four straight games on Sunday to win the season-ending championship with a roster of nine players,” said Bret Alumbaugh who, along with Myron Wengerd, coaches the team.
The Bear Creek Lumber team roster includes Derek Alumbaugh, Cole Darwood, Eden Davis, Zane Herrera, Ben Klemmeck, Jacob McMillan, Jesse Schulz, Sam Thomsen, Gavin Wengerd and Reid Wengerd. Five of those, Alumbaugh, Darwood, McMillan, Thomsen and Gavin Wengerd, also played on Liberty Bell’s varsity baseball team that placed fourth at state this year.
Schedule conflicts with varsity commitments and game cancellations earlier in the season allowed Bear Creek to play only three of 13 regular games and that ultimately contributed to Bear Creek’s low seeding when the Methow team met Okanogan, Chelan, Tonasket and host Omak last weekend.
“Overall our pitching was incredible,” said coach Alumbaugh. “We had four pitchers who each had excellent outings.”
Derek Alumbaugh threw 14 innings, went 2-0 and was credited with two saves. Gavin Wengerd pitched 14 innings and went 3-0. Darwood was responsible for “one big save” against Omak, coach Alumbaugh said. Klemmeck pitched five innings and fanned 10 batters in the title game.
The championship game came down to a contest between Alumbaugh on the mound and one of Omak’s top hitters at the plate. Omak had two outs and the tying run on second base. Alumbaugh struck him out to clinch the season title.
“The game saw us claw back from two runs down two times to take a lead in the seventh on a two-out RBI single by Klemmeck,” coach Alumbaugh recalled.
The coach said that every player contributed in a big way at the plate and on the field.
“To play four games in one day is incredible but to win four games in one day against very good pitching is very special,” Alumbaugh said. “It is something these young men will always remember.”