Young Lakeside team has enough veterans to be competitive

June 7, 2011

By Bob Taylor

Matt Lunde, Lakeside Recovery pitcher, throws to a Bellevue Legion batter during the fifth inning of their June 2 baseball game at Newport High School. Lunde had nine strikeouts over six innings during a 7-0 shutout. By Greg Farrar

The Lakeside Recovery Senior American Legion baseball team is a bit younger than some teams in past summers.

But manager Rob Reese said he believes that mixing promising young players with a handful of veterans could make Lakeside Recovery a competitive club this season.

Lakeside Recovery has shown promise already with five victories in its first seven games.

“We are off to a good start,” said Reese, the club’s manager since 1990.

Under Reese’s guidance, Lakeside Recovery has won five state titles, the most recent in 2009. Lakeside Recovery also has been to the regionals six times, and in 1995 the club finished second in the American Legion World Series.

Although this summer’s team is dominated by juniors and might be a year away from being a state power, Reese is optimistic. He said he believes if the club plays at its potential it could make a run at the state title.

“I think it’s got a good shot. We have some pretty talented juniors and a lot of pitching depth,” he said. “If we play good defense and hit, we could become a pretty good team.”

The pitching staff includes two college freshmen — Connor Lawhead, a Skyline High School graduate, and Mike Paulson, an Issaquah High School graduate. Both played at Walla Walla Community College this spring.

Paulson had a 5-1 record with a 2.88 earned run average. He also played as an outfielder, hitting .307 with 13 doubles, two home runs and 25 runs batted in. Lawhead was 0-1 with a 4.20 ERA.

“Having those two guys back really helps. Paulson is a heckuva player and a good leader,” Reese said.

The staff also includes Travis Snider and Brandon Lundeberg, who graduated from Skyline this month; and a corps of juniors in Andrew Kemmerer, Ethan Kalin and Brandon Mahovlich, of Issaquah; Aaron Sandefur, of Newport; and Matt Lunde and Connor Gilchrist, of Skyline.

Snider earned second-team all-KingCo Conference 4A honors this spring. He was 5-0 with one save. Snider, who also played in the outfield, hit .322 for the Spartans.

“He really came on strong as a senior and had a great season,” Reese said. “He had a good summer for the Skyline Lakeside team last year, too.”

Mahovlich and Sandefur each earned KingCo honorable mention this season. Mahovlich had a 2-3 record with a 2.18 earned run average. Sandefur, overshadowed by two seniors who are bound for Division I schools, had a 2-1 record with two saves and a 1.12 ERA.

He has already won two games this summer. Sandefur had an impressive performance June 5, when he tossed a two-hitter and struck out 11 in Lakeside Recovery’s 7-0 victory against the Skagit Sox.

“Sandefur and Mahovlich both throw hard,” Reese said. “We have a lot of quality pitchers this season. We should have a strong pitching staff.”

On the receiving end will be Skyline’s Jimmy Sinatro and Kemmerer, who will catch when he is not pitching. Sinatro earned first-team all-KingCo honors this spring. He opened the summer season by going 3-for-4 with six runs batted in as Lakeside Recovery downed Bellevue Legion, 9-3, in a May 31 league game.

“On two of his at-bats, he just had absolute rockets,” Reese said.

Kemmerer was one of Issaquah’s top hitters this spring with a .305 average.

Lakeside Recovery has depth at catcher this summer. Daniel Altchech, the team’s starting catcher last summer, is back for another season. He earned all-KingCo second-team honors as a catcher this spring. However, the Newport graduate will play more at third base this season.

Kalin, Paulson and Lee Stoops, of Newport, will share first-base duties. Issaquah’s Jake Bakamus, who earned all-KingCo honorable mention, and Newport’s Kyle Goemmer will play at shortstop. Newport’s Mason Paul and Skyline’s Wes Blackburn, another all-KingCo honorable mention selection, will handle second base. Reese said Mahovlich could also see some action in the infield.

Roaming the outfield for Lakeside Recovery will be Newport’s Nate Anderson, Stoops, Paulson, Gilchrist, Snider and Mahovlich. Anderson, who earned all-KingCo honorable mention, should be one of the team’s top offensive contributors; he hit .321 with two home runs for the Knights this spring.

“We’ve got a pretty young club, but we have some good leadership there, too,” Reese said. “We have some guys who can hit the ball.”

Lakeside Recovery will play a demanding summer schedule that includes some tough tournaments and nonleague games.

“In the long run, it pays off even if the results don’t always come out the way you want,” Reese said. “The tournaments help get our guys ready for the legion tournaments.”

After the regular season, Lakeside Recovery will enter the state sub-regionals, where two teams from each region advance to the state tournament.

Reese said he believes his team has the potential to make another run at the state title.

“I think when you look at this program, year in and year out, we always have a shot at the state title,” he said.

The team goes 5-2

Lakeside Recovery had an impressive first week, winning five of seven games.

The club opened the season May 31 with a 9-3 victory against Bellevue Legion. Sinatro and Gilchrist each had three hits and combined for eight RBIs.

Lakeside Recovery came back June 2 and blanked Bellevue Legion, 7-0. Lunde and Lundeberg combined on a one-hitter. Lunde had nine strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Anderson and Stoops each belted home runs.

On June 3, Lakeside Recovery lost to Lakeside Industries, 3-2. However, the team bounced back June 4 to wallop Garfield, 20-1. Mahovlich had four hits and drove in four runs. Kalin had two hits and five RBIs. Garfield forfeited the second game of the scheduled doubleheader.

On June 5, Lakeside Recovery split a doubleheader with the host Skagit Sox. The Sox won the opener, 6-4. Kalin and Mahovlich each belted two-run home runs. Lakeside Recovery won the second game, 7-0, behind Sandefur’s pitching. Anderson, Altchech, Kemmerer and Paulson each had two hits.

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or bobtaylor@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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