By Mike Maltais
Spring sports practice — all of it indoors — for baseball, boys’ soccer, softball, track and field and tennis got underway at Liberty Bell High School March 3 as teams took turns sharing gym space at LBHS and Methow Valley Elementary.
This week the News takes a look at the baseball and track and field prospects and schedules.
Dreams of another trip to state showed up with the Liberty Bell High School varsity baseball team that opened spring practice with all but one of the players who took the sluggers to the championship finals last season.
“We have a total of 20 young men practicing with the team,” said coach Don Calvert, who will be assisted again this season by Ralph Abate.
“Our only loss to graduation was Andrew Ryan,” Calvert said.
The loss of Ryan leaves a big void, the coach admitted.
An All-League Most Valuable Player and First Team pitcher, Ryan was the only player to throw a perfect game in LBHS history as the centerpiece of a young Mountain Lions lineup that battled to fourth place at state last year.
“Everybody else looks bigger, faster and stronger, so we anticipate another run at the post-season,” the coach said.
Last season’s Catcher of the Year, senior Milo Holston, will join All-League First Team seniors Chase Kurtz (right field), David Dinsmore III (first base), Morgan Palm (center field) and freshman Derek Alumbaugh (left field), Second Team juniors Riley Calvert (second base) and Chip Jones (shortstop), and freshman Honorable Mention Cole Darwood (third base), “along with a strong stable of seven or eight pitchers,” Calvert said.
This year’s team also has “six new guys including a few upperclassmen who are returning to the game after doing other things for a few seasons,” Calvert said.
The first home and season-opening league game is scheduled for April 8 when Liberty Bell hosts the Manson Trojans.
2014 LBHS varsity baseball schedule
Tue Mar 18 LBHS @ Omak(NL), 4:30pm
Thu Mar 20 LBHS @ Brewster(NL), 4pm
Tue Mar 25 LBHS @ Okanogan(NL), 4pm
Thu Mar 27 LBHS @ Pateros(NL), 4pm
Tue Apr 8 Manson @ LBHS, 4:30pm
Thu Apr 10 Bridgeport @ LBHS, 4:30pm
Sat Apr 12 Lake Roosevelt @ LBHS(DH), 11am
Tue Apr 15 LBHS @ Oroville, 4pm
Thu Apr 17 Okanogan @ LBHS(NL), 4:30pm
Sat Apr 19 LBHS @ Bridgeport(DH), 11am
Tue Apr 22 LBHS @ Lake Roosevelt, 4pm
Thu Apr 24, Omak @ LBHS(NL), 4:30pm
Sat Apr 26 LBHS @ Manson(DH), 11am
Tue Apr 29 LBHS @ Pateros, 4pm
Thu May 1 LBHS @ Pateros, 4pm
Sat May 3 Oroville @ LBHS(DH), 11am
Tue May 6 Tie breakers/Make-ups, TBD
Tue May 13 Sub-district championships, TBD
Sat May 17 District championships, TBD
Sat May 24 Regional championships, TBD
Fri May 30 State championships, TBD
Track and field
“We have a pretty good turnout, 20 boys and 12 girls,” said track and field coach Rocky Kulsrud, who will be assisted this season by boys’ varsity basketball coach Kyle Acord. “Some are still skiing so we won’t have them out for a couple of weeks,” the coach said. Kulsrud, in Washington, D.C. this week with 34 LBHS juniors, added that “the boys’ team should be fairly strong and there are a few girls who should do well.”
Among the returning veteran boys on this year’s team are senior distance specialist Liam Daily, LBHS record holder in the 400, 800 and 1,600 meters; senior sprinter Austin Watson, second in the LBHS record books in the 100 and 200 meters and long jump; and sophomore Ben Klemmeck, first in the 1,500 meters and second all-time in the 3,200.
Daily and Watson, along with seniors Jaymis Hanson and Cesar Dominguez, comprise the third-fastest 4×100 meter relay team in school history.
Returning girls include junior Sarina Williams, second all-time in javelin and fourth in long jump, and sophomore Claire Waichler, LBHS record holder in the 1,500 meters and fourth-best in the 3,200.
Watson and Williams “are both slowed somewhat with injuries incurred during basketball season,” Kulsrud cautioned.
The Mountain Lions will open their season at the Bridgeport Jamboree on March 18 at 3:30 p.m.
2014 LBHS varsity track and field schedule
Tue Mar 18 LBHS @ Bridgeport Jamboree, 3:30pm
Sat Mar 22 LBHS @ Ray Cross Invitational, Ephrata, 11am
Tue Mar 25 LBHS @ Bridgeport League Meet, 3:30pm
Sat Mar 29 LBHS @ Ezra Gordon Invitational, Colville, 10:30am
Tue Apr 8 LBHS @ Brewster Relays, Bridgeport, 4pm
Sat Apr 12 LBHS @ Cashmere Invitational, 12pm
Fri Apr 18 LBHS @ K Valley Ralley, Kittitas, 3:30pm
Fri Apr 25 LBHS @ Reike Invite, Cashmere, 3:30pm
Sat May 3 LBHS @ Draggoo Financial-Oroville Invitational, 11:30am
Tue May 6 LBHS @ Bridgeport Invitational, 4pm
Fri May 9 Liberty Bell Invite, 4pm
Fri May 16 Sub-district Championships, Oroville, 4pm
Sat May 24 2B District Championships, TBA, 11am
Fri-Sat May 30-31 1A, 1B, 2B championships, Cheney, 8am