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Pacers hope to be TRL darkhorse
The Lakeridge softball team is small and young this year but has gotten off to a strong start.
The Pacers are 3-3 against some strong competition and hope to sneak up on some teams in the Three Rivers League this year.
Duane Witter takes over as head coach of the varsity team this year and has liked what he has seen so far.
The team is young but fairly experienced with a large sophomore class that saw varsity time last spring.
Lakeridge is also fortunate in that it returns two solid pitchers who have been alternating starting games this year.
Kailin Rooney and Chayse Pearson have both looked solid to start the season and give Lakeridge a solid foundation.
"It's nip and tuck between them and they each complement each other," Witter said.
The Pacers also have two seniors with varsity experience in catcher Lindsey McCord and Kesley Ramsey, who will transition from the outfield to middle infield this season.
Lakeridge has a strong and versatile infield. Either Rooney or Pearson will play first base depending on who is pitching.
Bailey Morris and Erica Saporito will play second base and Ramsey and Katie Barton will handle shortstop duties.
Annie Griffin will play third base.
In the outfield, Danica Ferdig will man left, Alicia Loiler will play center and Shaq Boe will play in right.
"We have a little competition for some spots which I think is nice to have," Witter said.
With two experienced pitchers and a solid defense, the Pacers have been focusing their efforts on offense in practices.
"When I was hired I asked the team what they wanted to work on and they said hitting," Witter said.
The early work has been paying dividends. In a recent game with defending 5A champion The Dalles-Wahtonka, the Pacers fell 11-10 in extra innings but hit the ball well all afternoon.
Lakeridge then rebounded with a solid 6-1 victory over Beaverton.
"It's been a good start. The errors we're making have been minor ones and they're more a product of some kids playing slightly out of position," Witter said.
Lakeridge will open up league play next week at Lake Oswego.
"The girls are starting to realize they can play with teams and they're having fun which makes my job easy," Witter said.