The 2018 Grangeville Babe Ruth baseball team is pictured, from left: coach Michael Woods, Nelson Bruzas, Gannon Garman, Blake Schoo, Jared Lindsley, Miles Lefebvre, Dane Lindsley, Reece Wimer, Caleb Frei, Tori Ebert, and coach Nolan Schoo. Not Pictured: coach Randall Miskin and Braxton Miskin.
As of Wednesday, July 11, 2018
The local youth baseball season is not quite over, as area Babe Ruth all-stars prepare for a tournament this week in Meridian.
Grangeville’s 13-15 year-olds — several of whom played varsity baseball at GHS this spring — won the last local game of the summer June 29 at Clearwater Valley High School.
Three rounds of tournament play concluded with a 13-3 Grangeville win over Kamiah — a final score coaches agreed did not reflect how closely the game was contested.
“Kamiah played a great game,” Grangeville coach Nolan Schoo said. “We pitched well and didn't get rattled when it got tight, played great defense, and our entire team turned on the offense late in the game. It was a total team effort.”
Kamiah took 2-2 tie score into the bottom of the fourth inning — and Grangeville erupted for seven runs.
“We just ran out of pitchers and got tired,” Kamiah coach Tommy Williamson said. “We made small mistakes that you can’t make against an excellent team...those Grangeville kids are great baseball players and are obviously well coached. Hats off to them, they played high level baseball.”
Grangeville opened the tournament final with Blake Schoo pitching, and a couple of sacrifice flies made it 2-0 in the second inning. Miles Lefebvre pitched the third inning for Grangeville, and Kamiah was able to convert a walk into a run with a stolen base and a couple of fielder’s choice grounders to the left side.
Grangeville’s Tori Ebert drew a leadoff walk and stole two bases starting Grangeville’s third, but Kamiah pitcher Dylan West escaped without allowing a run by way of a strikeout, an infield fly and a groundout.
Nelson Bruzas pitched Grangeville’s fourth and Kamiah offensive MVP Tommy Reynolds tagged an 0-2 pitch for a game-tying home run.
In what could have become a wobbly moment for Grangeville, Bruzas replied by striking out the next two batters and inducing an inning-ending pop-up.
All seven of Grangeville’s fourth-inning runs during the fourth crossed with two outs. Three of those scored during Dane Lindsley’s turn at bat: One crossed on a pitch that went past the catcher, just before he smacked a two-run single.
In the top of the fifth, Kamiah closed the score to 9-3 but got caught up in base-running chaos that ended with a rundown between third and home.
Grangeville loaded the bases with no outs on three successive singles during the fifth and the game ended on mercy rule with a walk drawn by Jared Lindsley.
After the game, Grangeville named Bruzas “most improved,” Blake Schoo “best defensive player” and Gannon Garman “best offensive player.”
Earlier in the tournament, the Prairie boys overcame a rocky start to beat Kooskia, then fell to Grangeville in the second round and were eliminated by Kamiah.
“Offensively we struggled to hit the ball and that was the difference for us in our losses,” coach Kyle Westhoff said. “We didn't put the ball in play and got behind in too many counts which was uncharacteristic of the way we hit all year. ... Overall it was a good year for Prairie and good for the league. I was glad to see Kamiah back and be as competitive as they were.”
“I feel like Babe Ruth is huge for baseball in our area,” Kamiah coach Tommy Williamson said. “Kamiah does not have a high school team so several kids only get to play baseball up to this level.”
Kamiah named Bodie Norman its best defensive player and Troy Aragon its most improved.
“Bodie Norman pitched two no-hitters this year and several one- or two-hit games,” Williamson said. “Tommy ended up with four home runs. Troy took over as catcher when our starting catcher left halfway through the season and did an excellent job.”