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LO Legion holds first in league

If Jake Anders decides to go on another vacation any time in the near future, he can feel secure in the notion that his Lake Oswego American Legion baseball team will be in good hands.

While Anders was in Omaha, Neb., last week watching former Lake Oswego star Mike Stutes pitch in the College Worlds Series, the Lake Oswego legion team was being managed by assistant coach Brian Keswick. While Stutes and his Oregon State teammates turned in one incredible performance after another en route to the school's first-ever national championship, Keswick was helping the Lakers (who are sponsored by Robinson Contruction) push their legion record to 5-0 in league play.

Keswick refused to take much of the credit, but there was no denying that the Lakers were red hot during their last two league victories, which included Tuesday's 13-1 victory over Milwaukie and last Wednesday's 11-1 victory over Putnam.

'I didn't want anything to change (when Anders left),' Keswick said. 'I just let them play … I'll take none of the credit.'

Part of the credit for Tuesday's victory over Milwaukie had to go to starting pitcher Bennett Frasier, who got the win after pitching four innings and striking out six batters. He gave up only two hits during that stint, but he also yielded three walks and had to pitch his way out of whatever trouble he encountered.

'(Frasier) didn't have his best stuff but he was able to get out of some jams,' Keswick said.

The first sign of trouble came in the first inning when Milwaukie loaded the bases with a one-out hit, an error and a walk. Frasier then struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

The Lakers had a 7-1 lead heading into the seventh inning and then scored six runs to turn the contest into a rout.

Lake Oswego had a number of offensive stars in that game, including Cooper Mandelblatt, who went 4-for-4 and all four of his hits were doubles. In addition, Alex Freeman and Jared Van Hoon each went 3-for-4, plus Moto Asai had a pair of hits and Frasier had a double and three-run homer.

In last week's game against Putnam, Van Hoon got the start on the mound and he went the distance while giving up only three hits and no walks.

On offense, Mandelblatt and Steve Smith each went 3-for-4 and Van Hoon was 2-for-4 while Freeman added a triple.

The Lakers did lose one game during the last week, but it was a non-league contest and the Lakers still almost won before dropping a 6-5 decision to Westview. The Lakers' pitchers got themselves in early trouble when they walked 10 batters and gave up six hits in the first five innings. Yet, Westview managed only two runs during that stretch and left the bases loaded three times.

'The fact that we were even in that game was pretty amazing,' Keswick said.

Westview then scored four runs in the sixth to take a 6-2 lead and had to withstand a Laker rally in the seventh to record the victory.

The Lakers were scheduled to play another non-league game on Monday. But Anders had Keswick cancel the game against Reynolds so the Lake Oswego players could watch Oregon State win the national championship.

'Everybody was pretty excited about it,' Keswick said.