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WL OIBA team sizzling this summer

The Lions are 33-4 and have won their division as the playoffs approach


by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - West Linn coach Joe Monahan gives a fist bump to catcher Nicholas Yokubaitis during a recent game at Lakeridge.The future continues to look bright for the West Linn baseball program. The Lions have maintained their momentum stemming from a strong finish in the spring and its group of returning players has gone 33-4 so far this summer, winning a pair of competitive tournaments in the process.

West Linn was expected to field a very strong squad next year as it returns virtually its entire pitching staff plus some of its best hitters. However, the Lions have been one of the best teams in the state this summer and they will open up the OIBA playoffs next week.

West Linn finished the regular season with a flurry, rallying in its final two series to tie for the league championship.

After a few down seasons, the Lions' confidence has grown by leaps and bounds.

West Linn won the Nike Classic in Corvallis earlier in the summer and then took home the Firecracker Classic at Lakeridge, featuring some of the Metro area's top OIBA teams.

Monahan has been impressed with the commitment of the team during what has been a rugged summer schedule.

“A lot of the guys have commitments to other sports as well but they've showed up to as many games as possible and have always been ready,” Monahan said.

West Linn has done just about everything well this summer. The bats have come to life, bolstering and already strong pitching staff and a fundamentally sound defense.

“Our approach at the plate has been better. We're not getting ourselves out as much and I like what our pitchers have done,” Monahan said.

The Lions' top-four arms return next year, including Karsen Lindell, who has committed to play for the University of Washington.

Will Matthiessen is also back, along with Trevor Wells and Jordan Dailey, who have each been impressive this summer.

West Linn does have a few holes to plug next year, most notably at catcher and shortstop but multiple players have been getting plenty of innings and experience.

Incoming sophomore centerfielder Tim Tawa has been solid at the top of the order and has been taking reps at shortstop.

With Monahan taking over as West Linn's head coach over the summer last year, this has been his first offseason with the team and he is happy with its progression.

“To be with the kids over the summer is more conducive to establishing relationships in a looser environment,” Monahan said.

West Linn has already won its division in OIBA as it opens up the playoffs next Tuesday.

The Lions will play a best-of-three series with a No. 4 seed as it looks to advance to the tournament.



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