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Veteran Lakewood team returns for another season
Lakewood baseball has one undeniable strength going into the spring season.
Its a pretty experienced team we have coming back, a lot of seniors, said coach Larry Delaney. There are seven seniors on the team, all starters.
Almost everyone from last years squad is back, with the notable exception of Ryan Martin a pitcher on the 2003 and 2004 teams that were named the states runner up who was lost to graduation. But despite the loss of Martin, Delaney is still counting defense as one of his teams strengths, calling the team one of his best defensively in several years.
While Delaneys pitching staff this year has familiar names, they might be more commonly associated with another position on the field.
Senior Marcus Harkins, who pitched in relief last season, is better known to Cougar fans for his play at shortstop. Likewise for junior Jordan Stauffer, a heavy hitter for the team, and frequent second baseman.
We have an experienced team, but inexperienced pitching, the coach summed up. Joining Harkins and Stauffer on the mound are Cougar pitching vets Max Dragitch, Jesse Etchey and Derek Grafenauer. One of the teams new faces will be sophomore Scott Harnden, who performed pitching duties for the junior varsity squad last year.
With a variety of strengths throughout his bullpen, Delaney is, at this point, planning to take a committee approach to the job.
But Lakewood should be equally adept at the plate with some strong sluggers returning from last years team.
Harkins is also Lakewoods leadoff batter, followed by seniors Josh Spears, Jon Brown and Collin Murphy batting clean-up.
Theyre really experienced hitters, Delaney said.
This years senior class has a little extra motivation this season, beyond the usual drive of a final high school season. The class of 2008 has the memory of Lakewoods second consecutive run to the 2A title game in 2004 they were freshmen that year.
There are some of them that didnt get any playing time, and there are some that got a taste, Delaney said.
Of the teams prospects this season, he added, Its their chance to see what they can do.