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Wolves are young, but also talented

BASEBALL: Tualatin is looking to battle for a state playoff berth out of the Pacific Conference
by: JOHN LARIVIERE, SUPER SWING – Junior Mitchell Lambson is a key returnee for the Tualatin High School baseball team both at the plate and on the mound this season.

TUALATIN - The Wolves will be young.

There's no doubt about it.

But they're going to work on turning that youth, and potential, into success.

With that in mind, the Tualatin High School baseball team is looking to battle for a state playoff berth this season.

'Overall, we're a pretty young team,' Tualatin coach Matt Unis said. 'Right now, we're dealing with being consistent. When we play with consistency, we can be pretty good.'

Leading the way for the Wolves, who finished in third place in the Pacific-9 Conference standings last year at 11-5 (19-6-2 overall), will be junior pitcher Mitchell Lambson.

Last year, as a sophomore, the hard-throwing left-hander earned first-team all-league honors.

'He's our guy,' Unis said. 'He's pretty outstanding. He's a very focused kid and he has a lot of poise.'

Lambson is already off to a strong start to the season. He threw a no-hitter, striking out 16, for the Wolves in a win over Fairview, Colo., during the team's spring break trip to Arizona.

Other pitchers for Tualatin include junior John Nickelson, senior Phil Lancaster, freshman Mark Lambson and sophomore Levi Levasa.

Sophomore John Grill will be at catcher. He hit three home runs, in four games, during the Wolves' Arizona stay.

'He's very talented and a great leader,' Unis said.

Senior Hank Iba will also see time at catcher.

Mitchell Lambson, when he's not pitching, will play at first base. Junior Dan Pas, who leads the team in batting average so far this season, will also play some at first, as will senior Alex Rosborough.

Sophomore Zach McPherson will be at second base. Sophomore Cody Gibson will be at shortstop. Senior Peter Van Domelen, an honorable-mention all-league pick last year, will also play some at shortstop.

Mark Lambson will be at third base. Pas and Nickelson will also play there.

The outfield will be led by senior Sam Preston, who will play in center field. Preston, who was a first-team all-league pick last year, will also serve as a team captain. Levasa will play in left field and junior Danny Johnson will play in right field.

'Our pitching and our defense look to be our strengths,' Unis said. 'We just need to find consistency on offense.'

As for the Pacific Conference, Unis sees defending champ Tigard as the favorite.

'They're the class of the league and the team to beat,' he said. 'Canby, as always, will tough and so will McMinnville. We hope to be in the mix somewhere. There are no gimmes in the league this year. Everyone will be tough.'