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Lakers boast another league title contender

by: VERN UYETAKE From left, Michael Stroble, Taylor Sanders, Brock Pellow and Austin Gallagher are part of a strong core for the Lake Oswego baseball team that is reloaded as one of the premier teams in the state again this season.

It just wouldn't seem like spring if the Lake Oswego baseball team wasn't fielding a squad with the potential to win a league title and perhaps make a deep run in the state playoffs.

The Lakers have reloaded again this season and feature a potent line-up as well as deep starting pitching.

Lake Oswego's ace this year will be Brock Pellow. Pellow had plenty of varsity experience and is a returning all-state player.

Behind Pellow will be No. 2 starter Will Waterman who established himself with a terrific summer season last year.

For the No. 3 starter position, Anders has some options. Mitch Lomax, Mitch Mechigian and Sam Lee have all been throwing well and should see plenty of time on the mound this year.

"This could be one of those years where we could pitch by committee a little bit," coach Jake Anders said.

Lake Oswego's line-up should also be very formidable this year.

That line-up will be anchored by shortstop Tyler Campbell who has one of the better gloves and most feared bats in the state.

"He was an elite player last year. People definitely know who he is," Anders said of Campbell who has already made a commitment to Oregon State University.

The Lakers return another all-state player in catcher Taylor Sanders.

Austin Gallagher will man first base for the Lakers and Ryan Ramey takes over at second base.

At third base, Harrison Ramey and Max Gabriel will both likely see playing time this year.

Lake Oswego returns its entire outfield from last year in Michael Stroble, Grant Taylor and Pellow and all three of those players figure to play a key role in the Lakers' offense.

Anders is predicting a breakout year from Pellow not just on the mound but also at the plate.

"He's always had a ton of potential on offense. He's a guy that gets on base but also can hit for power," Anders said.

But the key for Lake Oswego will be being consistent from the top of the line-up to the bottom.

"I want balance from 1 through 9 and I think we have that this year. Our offense could be pretty potent," Anders said.

Lake Oswego has a little bit of everything on offense this year with both speed and power.

"We have some guys who can run a bit and I think we're going to be a gap-hitting team. I've never been a guy who wants to rely on home runs. Give me a guy who hits .400 with two home runs over the guy who hits .300 with five home runs," Anders said.

Lake Oswego expects to be in the thick of the Three Rivers League race again this year while getting a stiff test from West Linn and others in a league without a weak link this season.

"If you take a day off in the Three Rivers League you're going to lose it," Anders said.

The Lakers will play in 10 non-league games before opening league play including its annual trip to Arizona.

In its jamboree, the Lakers showed their potential but, like a number of teams, struggled defensively.

"We kicked it around a lot. We definitely have room to improve but we have the players in place," Anders said.