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by: SUBMITTED PHOTO, Tony Fisher, who helped significantly with the planning of the new JV baseball field at Lakeridge, fired the first pitch before the first game on the field last week.

Lakeridge High School has a new JV baseball field and it received a grand opening last Wednesday. The field is something head baseball coach Colin Griffin had envisioned since he took over the program five years ago.

His first goal was to revamp the varsity field and he then started the process of getting approval for the secondary field, across the street from the high school next to the tennis courts, and start the fundraising.

The entire cost of the field was covered privately through money raised by the team's annual crab feed and auction as well as private donations.

"The old field just looked bad and it didn't represent Lakeridge High School well," Griffin said. The new field will be home to the freshman and junior high programs for Lakeridge baseball and will give the Pacers an additional field for its annual Firecracker Tournament in the summer.

With the addition of the new field, the Firecracker Tournament will now host 12 teams this July.

"We've had to turn away teams lately so we're excited to be expanding it," Griffin said.

Last Wednesday, the new field hosted its first game and Tony Fisher, who has handled much of the paperwork and the dealings with the City of Lake Oswego, threw out the first pitch.

"He threw a rocket for a strike," Griffin said.

Meanwhile, the Lakeridge varsity baseball team recently won the rubber match of its series with Clackamas last week to stay within striking distance of Lake Oswego for the top spot in the Three Rivers League even after suffering an 11-5 loss in its series opener with Oregon City on Monday.

Against the Pioneers, the Pacers simply came out flat and it cost them dearly. Lakeridge squandered a scoring chance early in the game and, in the bottom of the first, a handful of errors helped Oregon City put up seven runs.

"We just came out flat and looked asleep. It's probably the worst I've seen us play," Griffin said.

Lakeridge slowly crept back into contention in the game but a big strikeout with runners in scoring position hindered the comeback and the Pioneers were able to post more runs to put the game away.

The loss followed an impressive 5-3 win last Friday to capture the series against Clackamas.

Levi Rudolph got the start and pitched into the sixth inning. He struck out six batters before yielding to Tyler Smith.

It was a back and forth contest but Lakeridge got big home runs from Smith and Nick Sotta to give Lakeridge the lead.

Smith then got the final five outs to earn the save.

Lakeridge currently sits in second place in the league and will look to win the Oregon City series to stay in contention for the league title. Lakeridge finishes up the season with a series against Lake Oswego next week.

"The goal is to win the league and we don't want to settle for anything less," Griffin said.

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