Lake Oswego wraps up a stellar summer season, going 29-4 and capturing the OIBA title with a wild win in the championship game

by: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego’s Harrison Ramey looks to turn a double play in an early-round playoff victory over Oregon City.Just a few short months after bowing out of the 6A high school playoffs with a shocking defeat in the first round, the returning Lake Oswego players and an impressive crop of youngsters got a small amount of redemption.

After steamrolling through the competition in the regular season, the Lakers rolled through the OIBA playoffs without a loss, picking up a somewhat bizarre 15-3 extra innings victory over Jesuit in the championship game on Saturday.

In the final, Lake Oswego built a 3-0 lead, getting a two-run single by Jack Anderson to plate Mitch McLaughlin and Harrison Reece and a bases loaded walk from Tyler Campbell.

The lead would hold up until the bottom of the sixth when Jesuit plated three runs to knot the score.

Both teams had plenty of opportunities to take the lead.

Jesuit had runners in scoring position in both the seventh and eighth innings but Travis Sanders worked out of a jam in both instances.

Sanders has emerged as a big-time starter for the Lakers this summer. His poise and experience proved invaluable on a team that had to replace a large contingent of starters.

“Travis was a huge contributor for us in the spring and this summer. He throws strikes and he's efficient. He's our proven guy,” Laker coach Jake Anders said.

Lake Oswego had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the eighth inning when Kenny Oyama stole second and third base with one out but the Lakers couldn't pick him up.

Lake Oswego finally chased Jesuit's starter after nine innings of work and the Lakers instantly saw results.

“We fended them off and then it turned into a pitchers dual until they ran out of arms,” Anders said.

In the top of the 10th, Lake Oswego sent 17 batters to the plate, getting six hits and drawing six walks against a depleted pitching staff. When the dust had settled, Lake Oswego had scored 12 runs and had sealed the championship.

Harrison Ramey and Reid Penny each had key RBI hits to bolster the rally.

The depth of Lake Oswego's pitching staff has been integral to its success this summer and it showed during the title game.

“We don't have anyone who's going to throw 88 miles per hour but we have a ton of guys who can throw for strikes,” Anders said.

The victory was Lake Oswego's second over the Crusaders in the tournament. The Lakers knocked off Jesuit 9-6 earlier, forcing the Crusaders to make their way back into the winner's bracket while sending Lake Oswego into the title game.

Jack Kjemhus got the start for the Lakers and gave up just two runs through five innings.

In that time, Lake Oswego built a 6-2 lead.

The Lakers got into a bit of a jam in the sixth inning as Jesuit scored two runs, cutting the lead in half, but Lake Oswego scored three times in the top of the seventh and McLaughlin nailed down the victory in the bottom of the inning.

Penny and Sanders each had three hits in the game and Penny added a home run.

Perhaps the team's most satisfying victory of the tournament came earlier when the Lakers knocked off Clackamas 8-4.

The Cavaliers had earned the No. 1 seed from their bracket in the tournament by posting a pair of wins over Lake Oswego in qualifying. Those losses were only the Lakers' third and fourth of the entire summer.

It looked like Lake Oswego was in trouble again when the team fell behind 4-0 after two innings. However, the Lakers received a heroic effort in relief from sophomore pitcher Oscar Stout who tossed five scoreless frames with four strikeouts to limit the damage.

Lake Oswego started its comeback in the top of the third, posting three runs to quickly get back in the game. The Lakers would take a 5-4 lead in the next inning and would seal the game with three insurance runs in the sixth and seventh frames.

Coleman had three hits and two runs in the game.

Lake Oswego also knocked off defending state champion Oregon City and Grant early in the tournament to set up their championship run.

The Lakers played extremely strong and consistent baseball all summer and Anders was very pleased with his returners' commitment.

“The way things ended in the spring left a a real bitter taste in these guys' mouths and one of the things I was most proud of was that it would have been really easy to sit back and relax this summer but they stated from day one that this was their goal,” Anders said.

Lake Oswego played well fundamentally as well, getting contributions up and down the line-up.

“We only had 12 guys on the roster and they all stepped up for us. It's probably one of the better groups of hitters we've seen and they executed the small ball game well which is what you have to do now,” Anders said.

Although the Lakers graduated a large and very talented senior class, it appears the team is set up for another impressive run next spring.

“We feel like we're in a position to reload again instead of rebuild and the biggest positive I'm taking away is that there's still a ton of room for improvement,” Anders said.

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