Pacer softball team is young but confident

by: VERN UYETAKE Kelly Cohn is one of just two seniors on this year’s Lakeridge softball team but the young squad should still be very competitive in the tough Three Rivers League.

Lakeridge graduated a large percentage of its softball team last year and features a varsity squad with seven freshmen this season but that doesn't mean expectations have been lowered.

"We're very excited. It's a very good group of girls. They're all very coachable. I'd say there's unlimited potential with this bunch," assistant coach Greg Garcia said.

Despite losing a large senior class last year, numbers are up in the program overall which is a terrific sign for the future.

But the Pacers aren't willing to accept that this year will be a rebuilding season.

Lakeridge has a pair of strong pitchers this year. Sophomore Kalin Rooney and freshman Chayse Pearson will both get plenty of time on the mound.

"They both have a wide variety of pitches with a lot of movement and Kalin has an amazing change up," Garcia said.

The Pacers also have two strong catchers in junior Lindsay McCord and freshman Katie Barton.

At first base will likely be a combination of Rooney and Pearson along with Samantha Evans, who, as well as Kelly Cohn, is one of the team's two seniors.

Early in the year, the team's middle infield is still up in the air as coaches take a look at who is the best fit at second base as well as shortstop.

At third base, freshman Annie Griffin will likely share time with Barton.

Players are also battling for positions in the outfield and Garcia expects two freshmen will likely crack the starting line-up.

Anchoring the outfield will be junior Kelsey Ramsey, one of the team's quickest and most versatile players.

"We can always count on her to make a play," Garcia said.

The Pacers have plenty of speed this year but should be able to run out a balanced line-up.

Once the young team gets experience playing at a varsity level, it could prove to be very dangerous as the spring goes on.

"I expect there to be a learning curve but I think we're going to be competitive and can be in every game," Garcia said.

The Three Rivers League will be no picnic this year with West Linn, Oregon City and Lake Oswego all returning strong teams.

"I think the league will be one of the toughest in the state with plenty of parity," Garcia said.