By Rick Lewis
In Liberty Bell’s fifth straight trip to the WIAA State Baseball Tournament, a 12-2 loss to the Colfax Bulldogs, became reminiscent of a story from baseball lore, once told by baseball historian and political writer George Will. In the mid-1950s, Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn was facing a young upstart rookie by the name of Willie Mays when the New York Giants phenom drove the ball over the centerfield fence with one big swing. “Spahnny,” the inevitable question was asked, “what happened?”
“Gentlemen. For the first 60 feet that was one helluva pitch,” replied the old pro. The last six inches ended up turning into a 450-foot home run.
“We played a helluva game those first four innings,” said LBHS coach Michael Wilbur as the Mountain Lions went toe to toe with the number one seed from the Southeast 2B League.
Liberty Bell scored two runs in the top of the first inning and jumped out to a 2-0 lead, which they would hold until the fifth inning. Starting pitcher senior Derek Alumbaugh had one of his best outings of the season, using a blend of fastballs and off-speed stuff, keeping the Colfax hitters off balance, scattering only four hits over the first four innings.
The tide began to change in the fifth inning with Colfax bringing in three runners. Liberty Bell went 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth and headed to the bottom of the inning still in good position, but seven more Bulldog hitters drove in nine runs and the game ended on the ten-point “mercy rule,” 12-2 as the Mountain Lions couldn’t retire that precious third out.
Liberty Bell finishes the season with an overall 19 win, 6 loss record; 14-2 in league and tied with Brewster for the league title.