These six players in the last year of eligibility. From Left to Right: Chandler Bower, Jeff Offenbecher, Quade Anderson, Trey Thompson, Alex Svendsbye, and Moxley Roesler-Begalke. Photo courtesy of Libby Loggers Facebook Page.
By Brian Baxter
The Libby Loggers High School boys baseball team managed to finish with a very respectable record of 19 wins, and 22 losses, in a season characterized by multiple challenges due to Covid-19. Coach Kelly Morford and school board worked in coordination with the local health department throughout the season.
Coach Morford said, “I would really like to thank all of them for their efforts. These folks are in a really tough spot, but they were honest with their concerns, and at the same time worked really hard to help us provide a season for these boys. They have a real appreciation for what this baseball season meant to our boys.”
Morford mentioned that it also took a special dedication from the players to see it through, and that everyone who attended games at the park, whether local or from out of town were really great in cooperating and doing their part to be on board with what had to be done to let the games commence.
And that folks, shows that the great American pastime, baseball, is much more than a game. It’s about community, fair play, being a good loser, and a humble winner. It’s about friends and family gathering to appreciate the efforts of the American towns and teams. And of course, its about the individual efforts and the cohesive teamwork.
It is uniquely American, and that makes this sport more than a sport. All of this contributes to the excitement when the plate umpire shouts play ball. And play ball the boys most certainly did.
The team was able to get in 41 games, which was a great accomplishment considering this late start season, and finished just under .500 which was a good comeback from a 0-8 start.
Coach Morford stated, “Everyone in our District was so evenly matched and I knew we had a chance to make it through to State. Unfortunately, we didn’t play our best ball at Districts but we had our chances. After a heartbreaking extra inning loss to Kalispell to open, I was really proud of how they bounced back and beat a good Mission Valley team.” And the coach added, “There are no easy games in our West District and there isn’t a lot of room for error. We played some really good ball at times and those boys should be proud of their efforts out there.”
Tripp Zhang and Caden Williams were both voted to the All District Team and Tripp was also one of the six All State recipients from the Western District. Coach said,
“They both had great seasons, and I am excited to see what they do going forward for the Loggers. Tripp was a unanimous All-State-Selection and Caden was in serious contention of making All-State as well. Tripp is a great hitter and led us at the plate with a .447 batting average, eight home runs, 15 doubles, runs 44, RBI’s at 53, and slugging at .846.”
Defensively, Morford noted that Caden was their ace on the hill, leading with innings pitched and finished with a 6-3 record on the mound. Offensively, Caden hit .336 with ten doubles, three triples, and three home runs. Coach added, “I really think with Caden, Tripp, and Tucker Masters in outfield we can have one of the best collective outfields in the state next season.”
It was quite encouraging to hear Coach Morford have so many good things to say about his players. As anyone who has played and or coached knows, a good mentor realizes he or she has an opportunity to help mold a good individual, as well as a good player. Kelly Morford is obviously aware of this also.
Morford continued, “We had six players in their last year of eligibility and we are really going to miss those guys. Quade Anderson, Trey Thompson, Jeff Offenbecher, Moxley Roesler-Begalke, Alex Svendsbye and Chandler Bower are all moving on and its going to be hard to fill that void.”
It was also impressive and reassuring to hear Coach Morford brag on the kids skills, and importantly on their character as well.
He said, “Those young men have been the life blood of our program for the last four-to-five years. They are all versatile players and it sure makes a coaches job easier when you can move guys around like that.”
It is noteworthy to add what the coach said next, “It is hard to say enough about their dedication and what they meant to Logger Baseball. I hear from coaches all the time how much they appreciate how the Loggers play the game and those kids were the foundation of that. They all are just great hearted kids that represented our communities well.” That is the foundation of greatness.
Kelly Morford told The Montanian that Lee Gehring Field is the best place to play high school baseball in the northwest.
He summed things up when he said, “The atmosphere and playing surface are second to none. I know I speak for the boys when I express how grateful we are to have this experience. It is something that will stick with them through their whole lives.”
Equestrian Group hosts
Introduction to Working Equitation
By Stacy Bender
On Saturday, August 1, the Granite Creek roping arena in Libby welcomed several horse and rider teams to its grounds for a half-day introduction to the world of Working Equitation. The sport, which became competitive overseas in 1996, is fairly young. Competition mounted inside U.S. arenas approximately 10 years ago and its popularity has gained momentum in Montana for four years now.
With dressage and obstacle challenges focused on highlighting the partnership between horse and rider while preserving equitation techniques used across the globe, Big Sky Country has proven itself a sound backdrop for the sport to continue growing. Event rosters can include a range of participants from youth to adults, novice to master equestrians, back-country horsemen to Olympic athletes. Each with an equal variety of four-legged consorts: ponies, mules, halflingers, lusitanos, warmbloods and more.
Known for its welcoming atmosphere where a variety of horses and handlers are showcased while strengthening their bonds at a rated show, the outcome at each event is far from predictable. Four trials are laid out at every event: Dressage, Ease of Handling w/Obstacles, Speed w/Obstacles, and Cows (cattle handling for teams). As mastery is achieved within each trial, speed is then added and courses are altered upon the path to victory.
Many competitors, however, find triumph in the advancements found upon returning home. The knowledge gained by working alongside others with diverse backgrounds, the working skills mastered which translate to everyday horse/handler routines, and the heightened bonds formed between horse and rider far outweigh any ribbon or trophy one might display on the barn wall.
A young rider and her partner for the day were spotted meandering towards the trailer for a well-earned lunch break . Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian.
Heritage Museum to open doors
beginning Thursday, August 20
By Stacy Bender
While the outdoor grounds at the Heritage Museum have been open for visitors to peruse this season, indoor exhibits have remained entombed in solitude as exhibit and operations volunteers continued towards outlining a way to reopen the main building the 2020 Season.
Beginning this Thursday, August 20, the museum’s indoor exhibits will be open every Thursday – Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. Visitors are expected to enjoy perusing the indoor exhibits through Mid-September, or longer should weather and volunteer support permit.
Those wishing to enjoy a more in-depth walk through Lincoln County’s history can expect to follow current health mandates. Masks must be worn while exploring indoors and social-distancing from those not in your immediate party. Hand sanitizer will also be available upon entry.
While uncertainty loomed through the spring and summer, the museum garden, tended by volunteer Vicki Lawrence, remained steadfast in reminding everyone that good things come to those who remain patient in the process. Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian