Good weather and strong attendance highlight the annual event which grew to 16 teams this year

by: VERN UYETAKE - Michael Sheldon looks to make a tag in the team's game against Newberg.
The annual Firecracker Tournament at Lakeridge High School was another big success. The tournament expanded to 16 teams this year, featuring an eight-team varsity tournament and an eight-team JV tournament on Lakeridge's two fields.

The weather hovered in the mid-80s for the four-day event and Lakeridge saw strong and consistent attendance for the entirety of the tournament.

Lakeridge's varsity team finished 1-3, winning its final game of the tournament against Grant. The Pacers have been giving their young players plenty of opportunities to compete at the varsity level this summer, particularly in the pitching rotation as Lakeridge has shut down some of its varsity arms.

“The summer has really become about development for us and giving guys chances,” coach Colin Griffin said.

Lakeridge's JV team went 3-1 and played for the championship of its bracket. The JV squad won its pool and only lost to Jesuit in the finals.

The Firecracker Tournament continues to grow both in numbers and in quality.

“It's really turned into a pretty good showcase of local talent,” Griffin said.

Things are only expected to improve for the tournament as well. Next year will feature a 16-team varsity bracket with invitations being extended to teams from Eugene, Salem and Corvallis.

Griffin was also pleased at how much alumni representation was at this year's event.

“It's really become a community event. We even had someone helping from the class of 1972,” Griffin said.

Lakeridge is getting ready to wrap up its OIBA summer season with the playoffs kicking off next week.

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