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Cougars baseball PREVIEW
Cougars look to continue winning tradition
The Lakewood High boys baseball team faces up to high expectations every season. Past clubs have gone on to have great success in the league as well as in State tournament play. This years bunch looks to rely on excellent defense and timely pitching to continue the tradition of excellence at the school.
Coach Larry Delaney has high hopes for this years squad.
We graduated three seniors from the program including one all-conference shortstop. But were returning eleven players with varsity experience and seven starters.
The group this year will not rely solely on the production of one or two players. They have a number of players who will be expected to come through offensively.
Right fielder Josh Spears appears to have plenty of pop in his bat. Marcus Harkins will play the middle infield and look to be a thief on the base paths. Third baseman Dallas Smtih will be expected to produce from the hot corner to keep the offense afloat.
We dont have a big thumper in the middle of the lineup who will put up obscene numbers. If that develops, thats great, but were not relying on that. We have singles hitters, guys who can smack a clean double and every now and then put one out of the park.
Delaney expects his players to play within themselves, each position contributing
Were going to have guys who will need to get bunts down.
Success will come down to execution and defense. The simple mechanics of the game will be paramount to the club this year. Delaney and his assistants drill the squad in the fundamentals of the game, making sure that they comprehend the importance of doing the simple things correctly. Through repetition, he hopes to instill an ethic that will carry them to the top of the league.
There is an expectation here at Lakewood High School to perform well. I dont know if its pressure but there is a high expectation. We will build around pitching and defense.
Senior Ryan Martin, a three-year letterman, will be the number one pitcher with junior LHP Matt Reese chewing up innings on the mound as well. The forecast beyond Reese is unclear, as the team looks to plug in at least four more pitchers. A few likely candidates include junior Max Dragich, sophomore Jordan Stauffer, and senior Josh Gwyther. Delaney likes all three, but they each must prove themselves capable in the heat of battle.
The conference will be frontloaded with contenders this season. Granite Falls is the odds on favorite to repeat as league champion after winning a State title and only losing one key player. But Granite Falls surprised everybody last year and South Whibey along with Archbishop Murphy should be nipping at their heels. Lakewood certainly will challenge for the top spot as well. If the pitching comes together, look for Lakewood to make a run at a conference championship and a birth in the State playoffs.
Head Coach: Larry Delaney
Asst. Coaches: Jeremiah Wohlgemuth, Eric Carlson