Plateau baseball club wins three at American Legion Tournament

In early June, there were 56 American Legion baseball teams scattered around Washington, all hoping to advance to the state championships in Walla Walla. By late July, only a handful had seen their dreams come true.

Included in that select group was the Plateau Baseball Club that eventually posted a 27-15 season record and tied for the third-sixth placing in the AA Legion tournament. The tourney was staged July 27 through Aug. 1 at two sites in Walla Walla.

The team brought together 10 players from White River High School and three from Enumclaw High. The squad was coached by Mike Williams – White River’s varsity coach – and his son, Connor.

“We just kinda ran out of gas,” Williams said, following a 13-3 loss to the host Walla Walla team on July 31 that saw the PBC’s tourney run come to a close.

Williams had nothing but praise for his summer squad.

“What a tremendous group of young men to work with, all competed every inning,” he wrote in an email. “Great friendships were created and a lifetime of memories over the summer for sure.”

Being involved in 42 games following the regular high school season helps coaches as well as players, Williams added. “Connor and I really learned a lot too... more innings really helped us fine-tune our offensive and defensive philosophy.”

The Plateau team won three and lost two in Walla Walla, with pitcher Sean Klapperich picking up two of the victories on the mound; he allowed just three runs in 13 innings of work. Christian Sines Sam Rabb and Matt Salisbury hit the ball well all week, Williams said, while noting that Cody Cloud continued his high on-base percentage; during the course of the season, he got on base 42 times without hitting the ball – drawing 22 bases on balls and getting hit by 18 pitches. During state play, he reached base nine times in 14 plate appearances.

Williams also singled out Mitchell Webster and Salisbury for their consistently solid play in the outfield.

Here’s a rundown of the Plateau Baseball Club’s five-day tournament run.

Saturday: The local squad defeated Lakeside Recovery 5-3.

Sunday: Things started well, as the PBC jumped on top of Mount Spokane 8-0 after three innings of play. The team from eastern Washington caught fire, though, and rolled to an 18-11 triumph.

Monday: A 4-1 victory over Colville guaranteed the PBC a spot in the top eight. It was a big game for Buchanan, who went the distance on the mound, scattering six hits and striking out five while allowing only one walk. At the plate, he had three hits, scored one run and drove in another. Also scoring runs were Webster, who had two hits, Brandon Henke and Sam Rabb.

Tuesday: The winning continued with a 6-3 verdict over Mason, a team from the Gray’s Harbor area.

Wednesday: A loser-out contest resulted in the 11-3 loss to the host team. The Plateau team was still in contention after three full innings of play, trailing just 4-2, but the Bruins exploded for five runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth.

In the third frame, PBC scored twice. Cloud walked, advanced on an infield play and scored on a Webster single. Webster motored to third thanks to Walla Walla errors, them scored on a passed ball.

PBC managed just five hits off Walla Walla ace Zach Zehner, one each by Webster, Sines, Klapperich, Henke and Baker McCullough.

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