Local team takes trophy at Pasco
The Methow Valley U-15 baseball team was on the road during the last two weeks of July, placing second in the Joy Shuman Memorial July 28-30 in Post Falls, Idaho, and earning the championship trophy of the Sandlot Series in Pasco on July 21-23.
At the Sandlot, Methow Valley rolled to a 4-0 record on solid pitching and steady defensive work, augmented by some timely and disciplined hitting.
“We played terrific defense, only committing four errors, and had lights-out pitching for the entire tournament, which led to the championship,” Coach Bret Alumbaugh said.
Jake Grady picked up two wins, the first in a 6-3, first-round victory over Spokane Expos, the second coming in a tournament semi-final rematch with the, Expos, an 8-5 win. The game 2 winner was Damon Alumbaugh, who combined with Jase Long to throw a one-hit, 10-0 shutout over Spokane Rawlings. Lucien Paz earned the victory in the championship contest, a 13-1 rout.
Offensively, Methow Valley was able to put some runs on the board with timely hitting and aggressive base running. The Paz family made a notable impact. Yolo Paz scored five runs in the tournament on 3-8 hitting. Lucien Paz was 4-10 with three RBIs and six runs scored, and Remington Paz was 5-7 with three RBIs and four plate crossings.
Mac Surface went 3-9 at the plate and scored five times, and Damon Alumbaugh supplemented his mound appearance with seven hits in 11 official at bats, driving in eight runs and scoring six runs.
If it’s true you can’t go home again, then home can come to you, which was the case for the family of Columbia-Burbank basketball standout Quincy Scott. After taking the minimum nine players required to the Pasco tournament, Coach Alumbaugh found he was short a player after one sustained an injury.
Alumbaugh called around the Tri-Cities area looking for a substitute. Then, it hit him that Scott, former valley resident and Liberty Bell High School teammate/classmate of several players, lived close by. Scott was available to play. After a couple of calls, the deal was done and Scott reunited with his former mates to face the Tri-City Reign. He helped his former teammates to the top spot, hitting an RBI double in the championship to cement a “mercy rule” victory for the trophy.
Team Methow traveled up to Post Falls the following weekend to play in the Joy Shuman Memorial on the last weekend of July, taking home the second-place trophy. Facing mostly teams from the Greater Spokane League area, the local boys held their own after getting off to a rough start. In the first game, Methow Valley drew Spokane Select, an assemblage of top Spokane area U-15 players. In a game that might have been more about a long drive and some jitters, the boys dropped the opener 10-2.
“Unfortunately we made six errors and were not sharp at the plate either,” said the coach. “It was tough to travel and play an evening game, but I challenged players to turn it around and show up on Saturday and play gritty baseball.”
Alumbaugh got that, and maybe a little more as Lucien Paz limited an offensively solid Chehalis team with steady pitching, and the defensive errors were non-existent in a 3-2 Methow win. They followed that with a 10-run shutout win over Crew Yellow, another Spokane area team. Damon Alumbaugh threw a two-hit goose egg, the win earning the No. 3 seed into the Sunday championship bracket.
Game 4 found incoming freshman Greyden Paz pitching a gem for Methow Valley, another two-hit shutout, final score 8-0. Game 5 was a rematch with the Chehalis boys. Jake Grady went the distance on the mound, and the bats broke open a close game in the fourth inning with a six-run explosion built on timely small-ball hitting and aggressive running. “We created chaos on the basepaths with stealing and bunting to take a big lead,” said Coach Alumbaugh.
That win set up a rematch with Spokane Select for the tournament championship, and the boys appeared to have shaken off those first game bug-a-boos that led to the big early loss.
“(We) held a late game lead, but allowed four unearned runs in the sixth inning,” reported Alumbaugh. “It proved too much to come back from.” Methow Valley mounted a seventh-inning rally as Yolo Paz smacked a leadoff triple. The boys sent the tying run to the plate, but according to the coach, “We just ran out of steam.”
Nevertheless, it was a great effort by the local assemblage to close out the summer tournament season in time to take a couple of weeks off to rest up for the high school fall football camp, opening in mid-August.
Alumbaugh was pleased with the summer effort by the team. “We played some gritty baseball. Defensively, Mac Surface was stellar at shortstop, Remington, Lucien and Greyden Paz all made spectacular plays in the field as well. Our pitching was lockdown for the last five games,” he said.
Damon Alumbaugh led an improved offensive attack, going 11-18 at the plate, with eight RBIs and seven runs scored. “He had the best two tournaments at the plate that I have ever seen, hitting .621 with 16 RBIs and 13 runs scored, said the senior Alumbaugh. “It was such a pleasure to coach these young men this summer. We took first, second and third in the three tournaments and finished with a 10-5 won loss record. The future is so bright for Liberty Bell baseball.”