Little League Season Is Final One For Belcher

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Tom Belcher wrapped up his stint as Payson's Little League Major Division (11-12-years) all-star coach with a second-place finish in district tournament.

During the postseason shoot out, which was played in Flagstaff, the Rim Country stars compiled a 4-2 record, losing only to Blue Ridge by 10-9 and 13-6 scores.

Following Payson's elimination, Belcher praised the on- and off-the-field efforts of his players.

"The team not only played like all-stars, they conducted themselves as young gentlemen," he said. "Several people commented on how the kids were enjoying themselves and were respectful."

The coach also thanked his staff and parents for their support and wished the players well in the future.

"Hopefully they will all continue to play at the next level of Little League," he said.

During the postseason, the Payson stars had several players shine, including Cole Belcher, Brady O'Donald, Vinnie Becham, Tanner Purtill and Garret Geske.

Cole Belcher compiled a .647 batting average, hit three home runs, scored eight runs and had 10 RBIs.

O'Donald hit .647, had one home run, five RBIs and scored six runs.

Becham finished with a .500 batting average and 4 RBIs. Purtill hit at a .412 clip and Geske batted .389.

Purtill, the only 11-year-old on the team, also drew the coach's praise, "he was our leadoff hitter and always seemed to be on base."

The Payson pitching core of Dylan Richardson, Cole Belcher and Geske wrapped up the postseason undefeated.

Cole Belcher finished with a 2-0 record and Richardson and Geske were 1-0.

In Cole Belcher's nine innings on the hill, he struck out 22 and allowed just two hits.

For Tom Belcher, the end of the season also marks the conclusion of his 11-year Little League coaching career.

During it, his teams won five age group championships.

Belcher said he is stepping down to spend more time with his five sons.

"But, I will miss it," he said.

"Coaching Little League has been a big part of my life."

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