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Pacer baseball team finds early success

Any resemblance between the Lakeridge baseball team of 2008 with that of 2007 is purely coincidental.

The Pacers have risen from the bottom of the state baseball barrel a year ago (with a 1-23 record) to being a Three Rivers League contender, with a 6-3 record.

Suddenly, it's not so much fun to play Lakeridge in baseball anymore.

Naturally, a lot of the credit goes to new head coach Colin Griffin. Anyone who can lead a German team to a playoff spot when he can't even speak the language must have great communication skills.

But the former Willamette University standout spreads around the credit when it comes to the Pacers' current success.

'Our kids have something to prove,' Griffin said. 'We have a bunch of great athletes up and down the roster.'

That roster includes 10 seniors, whose previous winning experience had been practically nil, plus three sophomores and three juniors. Club leaders so far are Eric Hillier, Brady Burdick, Henry Corelle, Dylan Thomas, and Jake Schulte.

Hillier is leading the Pacers in hitting, while Corelle has been the mound leader with a 2-1 mark.

'Everyone has been doing the job,' Griffin said. 'We've had a new lineup for every game. Everyone is buying into what we want them to do.

'Defense has been our strongpoint. We've played good, routine baseball. We haven't been giving up five or six outs an inning.'

First baseman Spencer Trefzger got a special nod from the coach.

'He's done a phenomenal job,' Griffin said. 'And he's never played it before.'

Oregon City had what it took to stop a hot Lakeridge baseball team, downing the Pacers 10-4 in their Three Rivers League opener on Monday night at Lakeridge High School.

'We did everything the opposite from what we had been doing,' said Griffin, who saw his club drop to 6-3 on the season. 'We kicked the ball around and didn't play our style of baseball.

'The Oregon City coach does a great job. They can play the running game and they can pitch.'

Lakeridge had a chance to make amends by meeting Oregon City on Wednesday on the road (not available at press time) and on Friday at home at 6:30 p.m.

Of the Three Rivers League's new three-game series format being used this season, Griffin said, 'I like it a lot. It makes it more like a college baseball environment. Everyone has to face the same pitching.'

The Pacers travel to meet Milwaukie on Monday at 4:30 p.m. They come back home to host Milwaukie on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.