The Mountain Lion tennis team returned home for the first time this season to hold court with the Entiat Tigers on March 29, taking advantage of a sunny and calm weather. It was also a metaphorically bright day for the host school.
Assistant Coach Keri Miles reported that everyone had a chance to play, and all varsity matches resulted in shutout victories for the Liberty Bell High School squad: the boys won, 5-0, while the girls prevailed by 4-0.
“It was a fun first home match,” said Miles. “With both teams having some beginners we played back several players to allow everyone time to play a match. Nathan Buck played a great match as No. 2 boys singles, fighting through a 6-4 first set and coming back to win the second set 6-1.”
Sophomore Connor Gonzalez and freshman Malcom Bosco teamed up for a first-time doubles match win, 6-0 and 6-1. Gonzalez took a break from his usual role as the No. 2 singles player for the Mountain Lions. He and Bosco were in firm control of the match from the start.
In her first season in Liberty Bell tennis, senior Sophia Newton teamed with sophomore Amelie Stracke to win their first ever doubles match, 6-0, 6-0.
Liberty Bell traveled to Coulee Dam on March 30 for a meet with the Lake Roosevelt Raiders, where the boys won, 3-2, and the girls took the day as well, 4-1.
The large numbers in the Raider program provided another opportunity to offer many players some valuable court time.
Miles reported that allowances were made to ensure players hit the court during the match, several matches being played in a “pro-set” style.
The highlight of the afternoon at the foot of Grand Coulee Dam was provided by veteran Mountain Lion junior Angel Arellano, involved in an exciting three-set match. Arellano won the first set 6-4, then fell behind in set two, 4-6. By the end of the second set, the clock had advanced to after 7 p.m. and coaches decided to make the third and decisive set a long tie-breaker format. Arellano outlasted his opponent, 10-8.
Their netters’ next match is scheduled for Tuesday (April 12) at Manson. The Okanogan Bulldogs provide the next home action on April 14. First matches get underway at 4 p.m.
Three matches kept the soccer lads busy this past week, dropping decisions at Okanogan and Tonasket, and coming up with a win at Oroville just before the spring break.
The Mountain Lions traveled to Okanogan on March 25 for a league match that featured a defensive struggle in the first half. The Bulldogs managed the only goal of the half, slipping one by Mountain Lion goalkeeper Raiff Reichert for a 1-0 lead at the break.
Okanogan came out in the second half and broke the code on the Liberty Bell defense, erupting for five goals and a 6-1 victory. Eighth-grader Boden Thomson scored the lone tally for the Mountain Lions, taking the ball essentially coast-to-coast, according to head coach David Marz, and placing a shot into the back of the net to avoid the shutout.
It was on to Tonasket three days later and another league match. The Tigers jumped out to a first half lead of 3-1. Finn Simmons scored the first of his two goals in the first half for Liberty Bell.
“He scored on an unassisted effort in the first half,” said Marz. “(Simmons) took the ball around the entire Tonasket defense from our penalty box, end-to-end.”
Simmons scored again in the second half, and Arlen Crum added a goal, but the Mountain Lions came up short, 5-3, on the final score. Jayden Hammer was credited with two assists in the match.
Liberty Bell traveled back to the Okanogan Valley on March 30, this time taking on the Oroville Hornets. Liberty Bell nabbed its second win of the year, a 3-1 victory for the youthful Methow Valley squad, and broke a four-match skid. The Mountain Lions improved their season record to two wins against four losses.
“An early spring break-depleted squad was bolstered with a number of the JV players in the final match before school officially let out,” said Marz. “Oroville had seven seniors,” he reported, indicating that his young squad played well against the more experienced, if not slightly less controlled Hornets. “They [Oroville] were yellow-carded three times,” he said, referring to an apparent style of play that repeatedly drew the ire of the head referee.
Simmons scored on a free kick from about 18 yards out and Clyde McCarthy added a goal off of a pass from Simmons, as the Lions took a 2-nil lead into the halftime break.
In the second half, Simmons hit for his second goal in two games, taking a pass from Braydn Schmekel and guiding it into the Hornet net for Liberty Bell’s final score. Oroville did get one shot by Reichert just ahead of the final horn, avoiding the shutout.
Liberty Bell returns to varsity action on the pitch next Wednesday (April 13), a 4:30 p.m. kickoff at Brewster against the Bears. Their first home match is slated for April 14, entertaining the Bridgeport Mustangs at 4:30 p.m. It will be the first of six straight home matches over the next two weeks.
The Mountain Lions came up with a big, crooked number in the top of the sixth inning to pull away from the Tigers at Tonasket for a 10-2 league win on March 30. The Mountain Lions tallied seven runs in the big inning, fueled by a flurry of hits and some sloppy fielding by the Tigers.
On April 1, Liberty Bell traveled to Ephrata for an afternoon double-header with the Tiger JV of the 2A class school. Ephrata swept the Mountain Lions by scores of 3-0 and 7-5.
The first game was a classic pitchers’ battle, with Damon Alumbaugh on the mound for Liberty Bell surrendering only two hits and one unearned run over his 5 innings of work. But the Lions were also captive to a strong arm on the mound, only able to muster two hits of their own, a single by Alumbaugh and a double off the bat of Noah Holston.
The Tigers took the nightcap, 7-5, in a little more offensive-minded game. Errors were still an issue for Liberty Bell with only three of the seven Tiger runs scored as earned runs, and three fielding errors leading to the other four runs.
The Mountain Lions open a long home stand this Saturday (April 9) against the Cashmere Bulldogs, 11 a.m. first pitch, followed by a visit on Tuesday (April 12) from the Tonasket Tigers, 4:30 first pitch at Mountain Lion Field.
Liberty Bell softball had a tough home-and-home, two-game series with traditional power Okanogan, the Bulldogs slugging their way to a pair of lopsided victories at each site on March 29 and 31.
Next up for the fastpitch crew is a Saturday double-header on the Mountain Lions’ home field, first pitch in game one at 11 a.m. as the Cashmere girls travel to Liberty Bell for the Saturday double-dip. On Monday(April 11), the Bridgeport Fillies visit the Liberty Bell campus for an afternoon double-header, first game starts at 3:30 p.m. Thursday (April 14) finds the Mountain Lions again at home for a 4:30 p.m. single game with the Tonasket Tigers.
Track and field
A smallish group of Mountain Lions trekked to Oroville for a March 31 meet featuring mostly B classification schools for north central Washington. Again, distance runners were the story for Liberty Bell for the most part, with a couple of notable performances in field events.
Sophomore Sandra Hernandez took first place in the girls’ 200-meter dash, her 30.10 time nipping Oroville sophomore Faith Hamilton by .26 second. Hernandez placed second in the 400M and also placed a respectable 6th in the javelin.
Leki Albright took a break from the 1,600M to win the 3,200M run, recording a time of 11:58 and outdistancing the field by about a minute and a half.
On the boys’ side, sophomore Kyler Mitchell (59.11) placed third in the 400M, Aksel Thomson took home a pair of 2nd-place finishes in the 800M and 1,600M runs, setting a personal best in the former. Dexter Delaney set another personal best in the 3,200M run, recording a time of 9:57. Liberty Bell’s 4x400M relay team of Mitchell, Morgan Spellman, Aksel Tomson and John Chavez-Hernandez ran a solo 4:22.63.
On the field, sophomore Omar Ortega set a personal best of 68 feet in the javelin, junior Isaiah Stoothoff was the top high jumper, clearing the bar at 5 feet, 8 inches, while Thomson (15 feet, 2 inches) and Spellman (14 feet, 3 inches) both set personal bests in the long jump.