By Mike Maltais
Following a narrow 5-4 loss to Kittitas in district competition last week, the Liberty Bell High School varsity baseball team came roaring back on Thursday (May 15) to shut out White Swan, 16-0, and advance to play Asotin in the first round of regional action at Walla Walla on Saturday (May 24).
In Asotin, the Mountain Lions will meet a familiar adversary whom they beat, 9-8, in regional play at Spokane last year. That game came down to a diving catch by shortstop Andrew Ryan, whose toss to second base forced the final out of the contest and left two potential scoring runners on base.
It was as much a statement as a game against the Cougars when the Mountain Lions made it clear that they intended to leave the field at Wenatchee Valley College with the remaining ticket to the regional dance. Toward that end the game was fairly decided by the end of the third inning as White Swan entered the top of the fourth trailing Liberty Bell, 10-0.
Solid hitting in the first inning by Chip Jones, Milo Holston, David Dinsmore III, Derek Alumbaugh and Riley Calvert gave Liberty Bell an opening 3-0 lead.
Cole Darwood crossed the plate on a stand-up triple by Jones in the second inning to put the Mountain Lions up 4-0.
A combination of Liberty Bell hits and White Swan errors allowed Dinsmore, Alumbaugh, Darwood, Calvert, Chase Kurtz and Gavin Wengerd to score in the bottom of the third inning and give the Mountain Lions their commanding 10-0 advantage.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Liberty Bell bats again came awake with six hits in the bottom of the fifth, including solid singles from sophomores Sam Thomsen and Jacob McMillan. At the end of five Liberty Bell led, 13-0.
Jones led off the bottom of the sixth with a single and Morgan Palm followed suit. Higbee stole home on a bad throw and Jones scored Palm with a single. Another Dinsmore single knocked in Jones and the Mountain Lions were up, 16-0.
White Swan was unable to mount any kind of rally in its last at-bat and the contest was called after 6-1/2 innings.
Holston pitched the first three innings and handed off to Shane Higbee in the top of the fourth. Together they held the Cougars to just two hits on the day.
Liberty Bell will take on the Panthers at noon Saturday. If the Mountain Lions win they will play the winner of Davenport vs. Riverside Christian at 4 p.m.
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