The Liberty Bell High School baseball and softball teams launched their 2018 seasons with resounding wins over the Bridgeport Mustangs and Fillies last weekend, as they aim for return trips to their respective state tournaments.
The baseball team overwhelmed Bridgeport, 25-1. Coach Michael Wilbur said that Peter Aspholm and David Kominak each pitched two solid innings
“Aspholm struck out six and surrendered zero hits or walks,” the coach said. “Finlay Holston came in and closed it out for us.”
Reid Wengerd and Holston each had two hits and five runs batted in, Wilbur said.
“It was great to get out get this first one under our belts,” Wilbur said. “We should be able to compete with anyone in this league this year as long as we keep working hard and can play good defense. It’s a good bunch of guys and I’m excited to see how far we can go.”
They went far last year. The Mountain Lions tied for first place with Brewster in the CWB league. Liberty Bell won its first district playoff game and finished third in district competition, moving on to the state tournament for the fifth consecutive year. However, the Mountain Lions fell to Colfax, 12-2, and did not advance to the finals. Liberty bell finished with an overall record of 19-6, 14-2 in league play.
Returning Mountain Lions who were named to the all-league first team last year are Holston and Aspholm. Accorded honorable mention last year were Wengerd and Shay Crandall.
Meanwhile, the Lady Lions stampeded the Fillies, 31-0, in a game limited to three innings by the mercy rule. Devin Surface pitched two innings, striking out five.
Several standouts from last year’s state tournament team, including Lauren Ochoa, Tommie Ochoa and Ali Palm, are competing on the Liberty Bell track team this year. But the team still has plenty of veteran talent, including Surface, Katie Labanauskas, Janie McMillan and Nadine Treise.
The Lady Lions finished the regular 2017 season with a 15-4 record and a first-round victory in the district tournament. At regionals, the Liberty Bell won one game and lost two, which allowed them to advance to the state tournament. At the state tournament, Liberty Bell won a game and lost two, finishing 18-9 for the season.
Surface was named to the all-league first team. Labanauskas was named to the second team, and McMillan and Treise were accorded honorable mention. Coach Lee Pilkinton was named coach of the year. Liberty Bell also won the league’s sportsmanship award.
As usual, Liberty Bell’s outdoor practices have been limited by lingering snow and cold, and the baseball and softball teams each will be traveling a lot before their first home games on March 31, when they host Lake Roosevelt. The teams played at Pateros on Tuesday (March 20), then return to Pateros on Friday (March 23). The teams will be at Tonasket on March 27.