Photo by Don Nelson
Quinton Knox was the winning pitcher in Liberty Bell’s win over Okanogan.

By Don Nelson

Liberty Bell High School sports fans probably thought they had seen just about enough of Brewster’s Joe Taylor on the basketball court. But the versatile Bear continues to plague the Mountain Lions on the baseball field, where he pitched a brilliant one-hit, complete-game shutout for a 5-0 win against Liberty Bell last week.

The Mountain Lions have lost only two games this year, and both of them were to league-leading Brewster, with Taylor prevailing in a 2-1 win over Liberty Bell earlier in the season — another one-hitter. In each game, Liberty Bell’s Finlay Holston was the only Mountain Lion to get a hit.

“Brewster played well and we did not,” Liberty Bell coach Michael Wilbur said of last week’s loss on the road. “It’s tough to win when you don’t make plays on defense and only get one hit.”

Wilbur said that Liberty Bell pitcher Peter Aspholm “wasn’t at his absolute best but he went out and competed. He showed real maturity as an athlete, understanding that even when he lost the strike zone for a couple of batters he could bounce back and make things work.”

“Brewster is a good team, well-coached and talented, but there are other good teams out there and if we are going to not only hang with them but beat them we need to swing the bats and play clean defense,” Wilbur said.

The Mountain Lions must have been listening, as they responded with a 15-5, home-field shellacking of Okanogan on Thursday (April 19), then swept a double-header at Waterville-Mansfield on Saturday, 13-4 and 6-2.

“We played pretty darn well against Okanogan.” Wilbur said. “Finlay Holston (2 hits, 2 RBIs), Peter Aspholm (3 hits, 2 RBIs), Sam Neitlich (2 hits, 3 RBIs) and freshman Quinn Wengerd (2 hits, 2 RBIs) all had very strong days at the plate. It was good to get that win against a quality opponent.”

Okanogan tied the score at 5-5 in the top of the fourth inning, but the Mountain Lions responded with five runs in the bottom of the fourth and five more in the fifth to end the game under the mercy rule. Quinton Knox was the starting and winning pitcher for Liberty Bell.

At Waterville on a windy day, the Mountain Lions launched the first game with a nine-run first inning and didn’t look back.

“Cole Rhoades, Reid Wengerd and Shay Crandall led the way in the first game,” Wilbur said. “Rhoades scored five runs and Wengerd had five RBI, so between the two of them they did a ton of damage. Crandall added a couple of RBI and had a ground rule double.” Crandall was also the winning pitcher.

In the second game, Holston had a three-run homer, his second of the season. Aspholm was the winning pitcher.

Liberty Bell was at Soap Lake on Tuesday (April 24), will host Tonasket on Thursday (April 26) beginning at 4:30 p.m., and will be at home for a double-header against Oroville on Saturday (April 28), starting at 10 a.m.