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Lakeridge baseball looks to continue its winning streak

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN Nick Sotta is hit by a pitch during last Friday’s 3-1 victory over West Linn. Sotta belted a pair of home runs in Lakeridge’s sweep of the Lions.

It's safe to say that the Lakeridge baseball program has more than just turned the corner. The Pacers might officially be back as a Three Rivers League power.

Lakeridge is riding a five-game winning streak which included the team's first sweep of West Linn in a decade and is currently tied with cross-town rival Lake Oswego atop the league standings.

After pummeling West Linn in the series opener, the teams played a pair of close games to wrap up the series and both went Lakeridge's way.

Lakeridge trailed on Wednesday but then played long ball against the West Linn bullpen.

Nick Sotta belted a home run to tie the game in the top of the sixth and Cooper Hummel drilled a two-run home run in the top of the seventh that would prove to be the difference in the team's 7-5 victory.

Going for the sweep, Lakeridge turned to Levi Rudolph on Friday.

Rudolph was bolstered by an early home run from Sotta and battled through some early control issues to limit the damage from the Lions.

"He struggled with his curve ball and got out of a jam in the fourth inning and did a really nice job," coach Colin Griffin said.

Rudolph settled down later in the game and shot the Lions down, preserving a 3-1 victory.

The Pacers then hosted a very strong Clackamas team on Monday and looked to keep its momentum going.

Cam Wood took the mound against one of the league's better line-ups and had things clicking in the early going.

Wood kept Clackamas off balance the entire game, holding the Cavaliers to just one run.

"It's what he's been doing all year. We have one of the better outfields in the state in terms of speed and athleticism and he pitches to that. He's a crafty guy," Griffin said.

Lakeridge's offense got off to a quick start. Tyler Smith hit a two-run home run in the first inning and the Pacers never looked back.

"We've hit six or seven home runs this year by a number of different guys," Griffin said.

Rudolph would add a two-run single with two outs in the second inning to stake Lakeridge to a 4-0 lead and Brandon Crane would tack on an insurance run with a pinch-hit double in the sixth inning that scored Mike Spalding.

That was all of the support Wood would need as Lakeridge cruised 5-1 and vaulted Clackamas in the standings to move into a tie with the Lakers at 5-2.

The Pacers continue to play with confidence and will look to win the series with Clackamas this week before taking on Oregon City starting next Monday.

"The group I have is a bunch of winners. They've been playing sandlot baseball together since they were in kindergarten," Griffin said.




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