Still work to do, but St. Helens looking for a better year than last two
The St. Helens Lions baseball team looks to put the last two years behind them and have their sights set on a much better season this year.
Last year, the Lions went into the season as one of the favorites and were ranked first after early games. Then the roof caved in. St. Helens Coach Tim Lokken died from illness and seven members of the team were suspended for athletic policy violations stemming from an overnight sleepover.
The team never really recovered and didn't win the rest of the season.
New head Coach Randy Voght wants to put that last season behind them and start anew.
The Lions may have the talent to do just that.
The team is upperclassmen heavy with seven seniors and three juniors. They have some big sticks and a big pitching staff.
Seniors on the team include Brandon Underwood, Drake Mosley, Jesse Wright, Alex Smith, Tyler Stewart, Tyler Moss, and Ray Wise. Juniors include Cody Galvin, Wyatt Mosley, and Max Mood.
The team has some sophomores and freshmen to round out the 15-man roster. Sophomores include Brennan Norton, Tyler Stangland, Eric Aldridge and Adam Spencer. Freshmen Bryce Sanford and Bryce Winnier complete the roster. Some of the younger players may swing with the jayvee team.
Overall the Lions had 29 out for the team, so they will drop the freshman team, and have just varsity and jayvee teams.
The Lions have a lot of choices for the mound.
'We're pitching by committee, everyone is going to pitch,' Voght joked. 'No, not really, but we do have a lot of pitchers.'
Expected to get a chance on the mound are Galvin, Mood, Mosley, Spencer, Stangland, Aldridge, Norton, and Sanford.
Stewart will again be behind the plate, but Winnier will warm up pitchers and spell him at times.
The rest of the infield currently consists of Galvin at first, Wyatt Mosley at second, Underwood at short, and Moss at third.
'That's just for right now, things change every day,' Voght noted.
His outfield starters will include Wright, Spencer, and Drake Mosley.
The Lions have been practicing indoors, and have only a little bit of time on the field. They had a scrimmage on Friday.
'We'll know a little more today (on where we are),' Voght said. 'We're calling it a lemon and black (school colors) game. Two weeks is not really enough for a new coach to get ready, but it is what it is. With the playoff system we have now, we want to gel by halfway through the season and then start picking it up.'
Voght said he expected the NWOC traditional leaders in baseball-Sherwood, Wilsonville, and Liberty-to be the league leaders again this season.
'Those are the teams to look out for. We have Wilsonville early (in the season), but we have Liberty and Sherwood later,' Voght said. The Lions finish the regular season with a three-game series against Sherwood.
How's Voght adjusting to being a head coach?
'It a lot more work than I thought, but it's also a lot more fun,' he said. 'This team is a pretty good team, but we need a team bonding thing. We need to come together after all the things that happened last year. I see a lot of ability, but we won't know how good we are until we get there. We're going to the dance and coming home with the same lady.'
St. Helens kicks off the season this week. They were at Forest Grove on Tuesday, and then host Sprague on Wednesday, and Newberg on Friday. They were at Forest Grove on Tuesday, and then host Sprague on Wednesday, and Newberg on Friday. They start league play next week at Sandy on Tuesday, March 20.