Pacers make Firecracker title game

by: MILES KENNEDY Lake Oswego High School graduate Mike Stutes has been having a tremendous sesaon in the bullpen for the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Lakeridge baseball team's streak of success in its annual Firecracker tournament continued last week with the team winning its pool for the second year in a row.

The Pacers went 2-1, winning their pool by a tiebreaker and then lost a close and entertaining championship game 2-1 to Gresham.

Backed by some great weather, a big turnout and the most competitive field in years, this year's tournament was a huge success.

The tournament featured three of this year's four semifinalists for the state title, including the state champions and runners up.

"It was always my goal to get the best competition we possibly could for this tournament," coach Colin Griffin said.

After receiving a bye on Thursday, Lakeridge played its first game Friday evening and got off to a phenomenal start.

Taylor Young took the mound and proceeded to shut down Central Catholic's offense, hurling a complete game shutout in an 8-0 win.

"He threw really well for us. He's a guy who's come around this summer and we're really excited about him next year," Griffin said.

The Pacers could clinch a spot in the championship game with a win on Saturday but lost a tough pitchers' dual which left three teams with a 2-1 record.

"It was really competitive. All of the teams kind of beat up on each other. No one went undefeated," Griffin said.

The tiebreaker was runs allowed and the Pacers only gave up four runs in their loss, which moved them into a showdown with Gresham.

Cam Wood, who missed nearly all of the high school season with an injury, took the mound for Lakeridge and threw the team's third complete game of the tournament.

"We played a lot of small ball in the tournament which is always a lot of fun to see," Griffin said.

Gresham capitalized on some Lakeridge miscues early in the game to take a 1-0 lead. The Pacers would rally with a clutch two-out RBI single by Rob Shiffer.

Wood continued to be solid on the mound but the Gophers manufactured a late run and won 2-1.

The summer has already been a successful one for the Pacers who are also currently in second place in their division of OIBA ball.

"It's been really good. We had a lot of juniors on JV last year and those guys have all stepped up," Griffin said.

Lakeridge has also found success with players switching positions and Griffin is excited about the team's prospects next spring.

Lakeridge will wrap up the summer season later this month and will host the OIBA state tournament this year.