By Don Nelson
The Liberty Bell High School baseball team is in the state tournament for the sixth consecutive year, thanks to a resounding 9-2 win over DeSales last weekend in the final round of district playoffs.
The Mountain Lions will play at 1 p.m. in Wenatchee on Saturday (May 19) as the No. 2 seed from District 5, playing the No. 1 seed from District 6, Tri-Cities Prep — the same team that beat Liberty Bell 10-0 in the previous weekend’s district tournament play.
If the Mountain Lions win Saturday, they move on and play again later on that day for a chance to move into the final four of the state tourney. If they lose the first game Saturday, they’re out and done for the year.
“We’re excited to go back to Wenatchee and try to win a couple more games to move on to the final four,” Liberty Bell coach Michael Wilbur said. “We’ve made it at least this far for the last six years now, which is a genuine accomplishment for our program. It has been a few years since we’ve advanced beyond this round, but we’ve got strong pitching and a deep, balanced roster. I’m excited to see how far this team can go.”
Wilbur was pleased with the Mountain Lions’ performance against DeSales.
“We were able to capitalize on some mistakes by their defense to push those nine runs across, but we also put together some good at-bats, hit the ball well and ran the bases hard,” Wilbur said. “For me, one of the turning points was an 11-pitch at-bat by Quinton Knox in the third inning. He ended up getting robbed on a great play by their center fielder, but even though he didn’t get on base that great at-bat helped to shift the momentum in our favor.”
Shay Crandall pitched the first three innings for Liberty Bell, and Peter Aspholm finished up the final four.
“Crandall did a nice job of locating and pitched out of some trouble early. He kept them from getting much even when they got a few guys on with nobody out and that’s key in playoff baseball,” Wilbur said.