Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Baseball team keyed by youth and pitching


A large group of new faces looks to help the Lions take a big step forward

There is a youth movement happening with the West Linn baseball program. The Lions' roster for its opening game against Lincoln featured just two players with varsity experience.

However, the young players who will be called upon to play an extended role for this year's team are talented and West Linn's strong pitching staff should make the team competitive this year.

“I think we're only going to get better. West Linn has a lot of young athletes coming up,” coach Kevin Mills said.

The Lions figure to be led by their pitching and defense this spring.

Matt Fletcher returns to hold down one of the starting roles on the squad, along with lefty Mitch Mondor, who had a solid start in the Lions' opening 3-2 loss to Lincoln.

Sophomore Karsen Lindell will also be in the rotation and figures to be one of the team's top all-around players this year.

“I definitely see our pitching staff as being one of our biggest strengths. We have guys who can throw with velocity and who can locate pitches. The key is going to be to force teams to beat us with their bats and to eliminate walks,” Mills said.

Lindell will also man shortstop on days when he's not pitching and is West Linn's primary power threat.

Jordan Dailey and Ryan Anderson are also expected to get their share of innings on the mound this year.

West Linn's line-up doesn't feature a lot of varsity experience but there is depth and talent.

At catcher, Alec Gans and Chase Meyers will both see time this year.

Dailey and Fletcher will split time at first base as will Braden Vogt and Brayden Pene at second base.

Blake Herman and freshman Will Matthiessen will split time at third base.

“I'm really interested to see these guys develop. There's a lot of talent but there's going to be some growing pains,” Mills said.

Jackson Brooke will anchor the outfield in center with Mondor and Anderson sharing time in right field and Nikko Mills and Connor Huffman filling in at left field.

Kevin Edwards, who will join the team late after helping West Linn win the state basketball championship, will also see time in the outfield.

West Linn figures to have a balanced line-up but will likely rely on small ball and execution throughout the season.

“Karson is definitely our power hitter and we have some other guys who can find the gaps but I can see us being a team that manufactures runs,” Mills said.

While the future looks bright for the Lions with a large and talented crop of freshmen and sophomores, the team also hopes to make a big step forward this year.

“The goal is to develop these kids and to peak going into league. With our pitching we should be in a lot of games and move up from the bottom of the standings,” Mills said.

Next up for West Linn is an away game this Friday at Barlow.