Veteran Tiger team is prepared to roar
Baseball: Tigard, with Tom Campbell back in charge, has a strong group of seniors
TIGARD - There are a lot of familiar faces around the baseball diamond at Tigard High School this year.
One of those faces is a new, but still familiar, face.
Tom Campbell, who coached Tigard to the 1988 state championship, returns as the Tigers' head coach this season.
He last coached at Tigard in 1998 before moving to Southridge in 1999. He guided the Skyhawks to the 2002 state title. Campbell has coached the past three seasons at Central Catholic.
'It's nice to be back at Tigard,' said Campbell, who, coming into the 2008 season, ranked fifth in all-time Oregon high school baseball career coaching wins with 530.
Campbell takes over a veteran Tigard team that has 11 seniors on the varsity roster.
'It's looking pretty good,' Campbell said of the team's outlook this season. 'We're a senior-dominated team, so we're in a pretty good position.'
Leading the way for Tigard this season will be one of those seniors, Ryan Gorton, who has already signed a letter of intent to play college baseball at Oregon State University.
'He could play anywhere on the field for us,' Campbell said.
Last year, as a junior, Gorton was a Class 6A first-team All-State selection as an outfielder. He was also a first-team All-Pacific Conference selection as an outfielder and a second-team all-league pick as a pitcher.
Gorton mainly pitched in a closer role for the Tigers last year. He seemed to step up his game on the mound during the American Legion summer season, striking out 15 batters while throwing a no-hitter against Beaverton. He looks to be the top pitcher for the Tigers this season.
When he's not pitching, Gorton could be back in the outfield for Tigard. The Tigers will have another future Division I college player in the outfield in senior transfer Ty Morrison.
'He runs very, very well,' Campbell said.
Morrison, who has signed to play college ball at the University of Oregon, throws right-handed and bats left-handed.
Also seeing time in the outfield will be senior returnee Eric Chesnutis, senior Taylor Smith and senior David Walker.
'That's a very good high school outfield,' Campbell said.
Tigard also looks to be solid in the infield. Senior Isaiah Ferrer returns at shortstop to anchor the infield. Last year he earned first-team all-league honors.
Hard-hitting senior Andrew Woolfe will be back at first base. Last year he was a first-team all-league pick and a second-team all-state selection.
Senior Axel Cederberg, junior Matt Herndon and sophomore Darrian Kramer are battling for the second base spot while senior Patrick Chabreck and junior Tommy Mackenzie are vying for the third base position.
Senior Conor Clark and junior Kawika Bernal are battling for playing time at catcher.
Joining Gorton on the Tigard pitching staff will be Chabreck, Morrison, senior Jason Burris, junior left-hander Spencer Hansen, Kramer and Mackenzie.
'Our pitching has looked pretty good so far,' Campbell said.
Tigard's offense could also be a force.
'Tigard will be real tough with three Division I hitters in the line-up,' Tualatin coach Matt Unis said in regard to Gorton, Morrison and Woolfe.
As for league play, Campbell sees a competitive battle ahead.
'It looks balanced. Everyone is pretty good,' he said. 'Tualatin has a good club and Canby is pretty good. We're hoping we can be in it, toward the top.'