WBBA Minor League Champions Reflect on Their Winning Season
|The Northern Heights team takes a moment to display their championship trophies after capturing the WBBA minor league title. Teammates include Cody Anderson, Tanner Anderson, Gage Bigelow, Levi Graff, Josh Greenwood, Kody Lockley, Max Misner, Brock Morley, Sarah Norton, Daniel Peczuh, Kenny Smith, and Jeff Trujillo. The manager for the Northern Heights team is Frank Peczuh and coaches include Boyd Anderson and Kent Bigelow.|
Each summer finds local residents lining the bleachers at the WBBA baseball fields for the annual championship tournament. This year was no different as teams from across Carbon County participated in both minor and major league games to determine who would be this year's champions.
In the minor league division, athletes from Helper, Price and Sunnyside participated in the tournament. The teams were comprised of all-star players from various other teams who competed earlier on in the season. The all-stars entered the event with two things in mind, to have fun and win.
This is just what each team did during the tournament. For the champion Northern Heights team, this season will live in their minds forever as being the year that each player improved their ball skills while capturing a minor league championship.
The journey began for the NH team as they competed in four pre-tournament games, all of which the team walked away with a win.
Following the pre-tournament stretch, NH entered the all-star tournament filled with confidence and yet filled with nervousness. Their first game the team would play was against the talented Green River all-star team.
The tournament was set in a double elimination format which was a relief for Northern Heights who lost to Green River in the first game of the tournament by the final score of 16-11.
With their confidence a little bit shattered, the NH team did not give up. In fact, they entered their second game of the tournament determined to advance in the winning brackets. This is just what they did as they eliminated Helper from the tournament by the score of 13-3.
Entering into the next round of play, the confidence level had again rised for the NH players. This time, the team would face Price National with the winner of the game advancing to the championship round against Green River. By the time the innings ran down, Northern Heights had defeated Price National 12-7.
By advancing to the championship round, the NH team was now faced with winning two games in a row in order to capture the title. This was because Green River had not yet lost in the tournament. The pressure was on because the NH team had lost to Green River in the first round of the tourney.
In the championship game Northern Heights stepped up to display some of the teams best pitching, fielding, and hitting of the entire season. The team effort turned into a win for the team who finished the game with the final score of 10-4.
The championship title had now come down to the wire. With both teams having lost to one another during the tournament, emotions were riding high as the athletes entered the field.
The game would prove to be one of the most contested games of the season in the minor leagues. It began with NH pitcher Kody Lockley entering the game with 26 outs in his favor for the past seven days, while pitcher Levi Graff had 25 outs in the same seven day period.
According to WBBA rules, a pitcher is only allowed 27 outs in seven days. Because of this rule, this left nine year old Gage Bigelow to pitch the championship game.
Bigelow completed his stand at the mound with 14 outs. Graff also pitched in the final game up until his last two remaining outs were made and Lockley also finished his allowance with one out.
At the end of the ball game, Brock Morley entered to pitch for the the NH team. With the ball game on the line with the score of 11-10 in favor of Northern Heights in the bottom of the sixth, Morley stepped up to pitch. His second ball pitched was hit, a pop up fly ball between the pitcher and second base. Morley managed to run after the ball and caught it for Green River's final out of the game, thus leading to Northern Heights championship victory.
Throughout the tournament, each player displayed individual talent which aided the team as a whole. Kenny Smith hit three home runs and one grand slam during the two weeks of play. Lockley also hit one home run during the championship tourney.
Northern Heights players showed many improvements and displayed excellent ball skills throughout the tournament which lead to their minor league championship title.
Each player in the WBBA worked hard and made many memories for baseball fans this season and for that, this season will be memorable.