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White River pair help Roxx win Babe Ruth World Series
Dustin Stroud and Payden Cawley Lamb are still coming off the euphoria of helping their team win the U18 Babe Ruth World Series.
The White River High seniors played a pivotal role for the Puget Sound Roxx, a Puyallup-based Babe Ruth team that cruised to the title Aug. 22 in Moses Lake, Wash.
"I'm still riding high," Cawley Lamb said. "It's the best feeling in the world. This feeling should last forever. I don't want to ever let it go. It was the greatest day of my life so far."
"It's the best feeling I've ever had," Stroud said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing."
In more than a week's worth of games, the Roxx skipped past teams from New York, British Columbia, Cape Cod and Louisiana before topping Hammond, Ind., 9-0 for the championship – a win made sweeter since Hammond tossed the Roxx a loss early in the tournament's pod play.
"We talked about what we saw and knew what he had," Stroud said of Hammond's pitcher. "We jumped on him faster."
The two teams went scoreless for the first couple of innings before the Roxx jumped ahead. Stroud said by the end of the game, he and the others had found the hurler's weakness.
"Payden and Dustin played a pivotal part," Roxx coach Quinten Poil said.
Cawley Lamb, a 5-foot-10 outfielder in his first year with the Roxx, was named a tournament all-defensive player. It was his second Golden Glove of the season, also picking up honors at an earlier tournament at Washington State University. Stroud, a 6-foot-2 third baseman, produced the Roxx power at the plate as an RBI guy. Both players finished the season hitting near, or better than, .400. Both, Poil said, played solid defense and swung the bat well.
"Those two guys are lights out," he said. "They are very, very good baseball players."
That's high praise for players on a team 14 deep with talent.
"This is a very solid, tight-knit group," Poil said. "They have great chemistry."
The Puget Sound Roxx have been together since the players were 12 to 13 years old. As 14-year-olds, the group won a world series title, Poil said, but not one nearly as prominent as the Babe Ruth championship.
"This is one of the most prestigious tournaments you can win at their age group," Poil said. "There's Babe Ruth, American Legion and Connie Mack, those are the three, if you can win one of those it's an accomplishment. If you've done that you've done something."
The team finished the season 49-4, with two of the losses early in the season without a full roster. The team earned its World Series berth with a state tournament title. This year, the World Series happened to land in their back yard, or eastern Washington, making travel easier and helping them draw a good fan base.
"We were the first state champs to win the World Series," Cawley Lamb said. Since Washington state hosted the tournament, the Roxx earned a direct berth from its state title. Columbia Basin, as host, also represented Washington. British Columbia's Chaffey earned the regional berth.
With the team made up of 17-year-olds, there's another year ahead of them. There's talk of going after the Connie Mack World Series, but for others Poil said the focus will turn to getting a college attention. Poil expects Stroud and Lamb to be at the top of several college recruiters' lists.
"The Buckley area should be proud of these two young men," he said. "They are classy kids and a pleasure to coach."
Cawley Lamb would like to play at Washington State University. Stroud is also looking to stay close to home, eyeing several community college options. Both plan to return to the White River lineup in the spring.