BALLGAME: The 13-15 year-old Players Were Honored With Sportsmanship Awards After a Nine-Game Season

Twin Cities Babe Ruth board members stood near an awards table set up in shallow left field at Stan Hedwall Park Saturday morning as president Bryan Porter held a microphone in one hand and a baseball in the other.

Porter spoke to the crowd numbering in dozens that lined the fences and sat in the bleachers:

“If you can see it in your head you can hold it in your hand,” Porter said. “With all the roadblocks, I could have easily just taken the other route and called it a season and moved on. But I didn’t.”

It was the closing ceremony for a season that nearly ended before it ever began. The COVID-19 pandemic nearly derailed the league that normally starts in May on Mother’s Day Weekend. Porter and his Babe Ruth crew worked diligently to keep the league on track for a postponed start date as sports across the state were shut down.

Lewis County was finally approved to move into phase three of the state’s four-phase plan on June 19, which set up a June 26 opening day for the league. Six 13-15 year-old teams squared off that opening day and five were remaining for the final ceremony on Saturday: Eubanks Glass, C&C Development, Aaron’s Lucky Dogs, Les Schwab Tires and Fred’s Discount Tire. The senior Babe Ruth team Twin Cities Eagles, which is in the 16-18 year-old league was honored, as well, Saturday.

Eubanks took the first-place trophy, capping off a perfect 9-0 season. It was coach Ryan Guenther’s first time winning the league title outright since taking over the helm seven years ago when he was a 20-year-old sophomore on Centralia College’s baseball team.

“It was a fun year,” Guenther said. “The boys had a lot of fun getting on the baseball field. At the beginning we didn’t think we were going to have a season and Bryan did a wonderful job and I definitely tip my hat to that man. I know all the parents just wanted something for their boys to play, some kind of season, and he pulled it off.”

The morning started with an awards ceremony where every player and coach had their name announced and then lined up along the basepaths. The sponsors for each team were given a shoutout and a plaque.

Each team had one player chosen for a sportsmanship award. The award-winners included Weston Potter from C&C Development; Anthony Saucedo of Eubanks Glass; Sebastian Bucios of Les Schwab Tires; Justino Sanchez of Aaron’s; and a player referred to only as Nacho of Fred’s Discount Tire.

That followed with two rounds of games beginning at 12:30 where players from each team played one game in a mishmash of athletes as some teams didn’t have a full roster. The day ended with a home run derby that was won by Josh Fleming.

“It’s just a different story that we were able to play ball this year with all that went on,” Porter said. “I’m just really thankful for our players, the parents, the coaches, everyone out here has just been great throughout this whole year. They were just so supportive of our league and hanging in there through the ups and downs. I’m very thankful for it all. It was great to have these kids on the field and off the couch.”

Saturday marks the end of organized league baseball in the county. There may be a few scattered teams playing here and there, but for the most part Lewis County baseball is finished for the year.

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