The first stage of rebuilding Lakeridge High School baseball was a success.
Now, first-year Head Coach Colin Griffin wants to keep right on building.
From the depths of a 1-26 record in 2007, the Pacers rose to 9-16 in 2008.
'We turned over a new leaf,' said Griffin, 'which is what we wanted to do. We were preaching that all year. I told our seniors I wanted them to help us start a new tradition, and they did.'
The Pacers actually got off to a super 6-2 start this season before running into Three Rivers League play, and it was easy to pinpoint the difference between Lakeridge and the top district teams: pitching.
'We had really strong pitching in our league,' Griffin said. 'All four of those teams have a good chance to run the table.
'For our pitching to get better we've got to get in the weight room, and that starts this summer.'
Griffin faces a big rebuilding job since the Pacers lose 10 seniors. Three very good juniors will return, plus a lot of 'very young sophomores.'
'There is not a position that is filled,' Griffin said. 'All of them are open. That's exciting, but it's going to take a lot of work. We'll have five returnees and four of them played every day.'
Two of the best coming back will be third baseman and pitcher Ben Swinford, who batted .363 in league play, and Eric Hillier, who hit .345.
Perhaps the biggest reason for Lakeridge to celebrate this season is the four seniors who will be playing college baseball in 2009. They are:
n Dylan Summers, catcher, hit .365 with 2 homers. He will attend Willamette University.
n Joe Kloucek was injured most of the season. He will play both football and baseball at Linfield College.
n Spencer Trefzger, first baseman, hit .291. He will play at Azusa Pacific University.
n Brady Burdick went 2-2 with a 3.48 ERA as a pitcher. He will play at either Northwest Nazarene or Western Oregon University.
'We thought that sending four players to play college baseball was a good success for us,' Griffin said. 'We want to keep doing that.'
Griffin will work on building the future over the summer, while the youth baseball leagues will send more talent his way.