Lakeside prepares for home-stretch run to playoffs

July 12, 2011

By Bob Taylor

Andrew Kemmerer swings at a pitch during the third inning July 8 against Bankers Baseball Club. He had two hits, including a home run, and drove in three runs July 7 against the Twin City Titans. By Greg Farrar

The Lakeside Recovery Senior American Legion baseball team enters an important stretch this week with hopes of getting healthier and gaining momentum for the post-season.

Thus far, it has been a season when Lakeside Recovery has shown promise at times and has also shown its share of futility.

“We can play with anyone, or we can play with the worst of them,” Lakeside Recovery manager Rob Reese said.

A big part of Lakeside Recovery’s struggles this season has been due to youth, injuries and illness.

“We’ve been a bit beat up at times and that has meant we’ve had to play guys out of position,” Reese said.

As a result of putting players at different positions, Lakeside Recovery has not always performed well defensively.

Among the players Lakeside Recovery has missed in recent weeks are centerfielder Nate Anderson, of Newport High School, and first baseman-pitcher Ethan Kalin, of Issaquah High School. Anderson has been sidelined with a sprained ankle and Kalin has been out because of a staph infection.

“Nate is a great centerfielder and Ethan was having a great year hitting and playing defense in the field,” Reese said. “We hope to get both of them back so we can make a run to state.”

Lakeside Recovery, 18-18 in the season, entered this week tied with Bellingham for first place in the Area 1 AAA Northwest Division standings. The teams, who had 9-3 records, met in a key doubleheader July 12 in Bellingham.

Lakeside Recovery also has important home games at Newport against the Bellevue Legion on July 13 and 14, and the Kirkland Merchants and Bellevue Legion on July 16.

Then Lakeside Recovery hosts a sub-regional tournament July 20-21 at Bannerwood Park. If the club wins that tournament it heads to Selah July 26 for the AAA State Tournament.

“If we get to state, I really think we have a shot at winning it,” Reese said.

He has reason for optimism. Lakeside Recovery won three games in the recent Brandy Pugh Memorial Classic. All of the victories were against American Legion teams.

“We’re starting to come around,” Reese said.

Lakeside Recovery, the Brandy Pugh host, opened the tournament July 6 with a 9-2 victory against Bellevue Honda. Jake Bakamus, of Issaquah, had two hits and drove in three runs for Lakeside. Brandon Mahovlich, of Issaquah, and Issaquah graduate Mike Paulson, also had two hits. Lakeside Recovery broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fifth inning by scoring seven runs. Three of the runs came across on a triple by Bakamus. Connor Lawhead, a Skyline High School graduate, went the distance and struck out seven batters to pick up his second victory of the season.

On July 7, Lakeside Recovery exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to beat the Twin City Titans, of Richland, 8-3. Paulson had three hits. Andrew Kemmerer, of Issaquah, had two hits, one a home run, and drove in three runs. Mahovlich pitched 6 2/3 innings to pick up the victory.

The victory against the Titans was impressive in that this Legion team is among the best in the state. The Titans also defeated previously unbeaten Chaffey and played for the tournament title July 11.

“We really played well in that game. Mahovlich threw an outstanding game,” Reese said.

Lakeside lost to the Bankers Baseball Club, 5-2, July 8 and fell to Chaffey, 11-3, July 9.

“In the Bankers game we hit the ball well but right at people. In the Chaffey game, we played very poor defensively and that cost us,” Reese said.

Lakeside Recovery finished the tournament July 10 with an 8-6 victory against Pacific Tech Construction, of Kelso. Mahovlich highlighted a six-run second inning with a grand slam.

“Our pitching has been solid all season and we’re starting to hit the ball well again,” Reese said. “We have some good players. We have a good team when we have all the guys in the right spots.”

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

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