Lakeside Recovery 17-U wins regional tourney, heads to state

August 2, 2011

By Bob Taylor

Danny Rawlings, of Lakeside Recovery 17-U, hits during the fifth inning July 28 against the Renton Cannons. He doubled and reached home in the fourth inning on a sacrifice RBI by Ioannis Kritsonis in the 6-3 victory. By Greg Farrar

When Mark Thorpe was assembling his Lakeside Recovery 17-U baseball team, he had a hunch it was state-tournament caliber. Thorpe’s hunch proved accurate.

The Lakeside Recovery 17-U team is playing in the American Legion AA state tournament this week at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane. The club opened tournament play Aug. 2 against Mead.

Classified as the Lakeside Recovery Baseball Club’s junior team, the 17-U group has had an amazing season to date. The team, mostly Issaquah and Newport high school players, entered the state tournament with a 39-18 record. Lakeside Recovery 17-U won the District II Divisional tournament last week at Bannerwood.

In the title game, Lakeside Recovery 17-U defeated the Renton Cannons, a team composed of Liberty High School players, 6-3. The Cannons, who surprised Woodinville, 10-6, in a consolation game, also qualified for state but decided not to participate because the team did not have enough players. Woodinville replaced the Cannons as the District II No. 2 team.

Lakeside Recovery 17-U opened the district tournament July 26 with a 15-5 rout of Bellevue Legion. Then on July 27, Lakeside Recovery 17-U edged Woodinville, 4-3, in an eight-inning battle.

“It has been a good season and hopefully it will just keep on getting better,” said Thorpe, who has been the 17-U head coach for three years.

Thorpe coached a Lakeside 17-U team, composed of Newport players, to the AA state tournament last year, too. The Lakeside program had separate junior teams for Issaquah, Skyline and Newport. This year, the Lakeside program decided to have just one 17-U team.

“When I looked at our roster from the fall tryouts, I knew we had a good team. All the Newport kids were more experienced and stronger. The Issaquah kids were good players. I thought we had a team that should qualify for state,” Thorpe said.

The team got off to a hot start, winning 11 of its first 12 games. Included among the triumphs was a first-place finish at a tournament in Arlington. During the season, Lakeside Recovery 17-U took three of four games from the Bothell Pride, a team composed of players from Bothell High School’s 4A state championship squad.

Lakeside Recovery 17-U entered the state tournament hot, with victories in nine of its last 10 games.

Pitching has been one of the team’s main strengths this season.

“We have some quality arms,” Thorpe said.

One of the team’s most dominant pitchers has been Levi Novak, who did not even play junior-varsity ball at Newport in the spring. The staff also includes Scott Boydston and Cole Westover, who both pitched on Issaquah’s varsity team in the spring. Westover led the Eagles in saves with three.

Other pitchers on the staff include Trevor Creek, Jake Chinery, Connor McCarthy and Jake Rosen, of Newport; and Danny Rawlings, of Issaquah.

The defense has been solid this summer with shortstop Patrick Harrod, the lone Skyline player on the team; second baseman Ioannis Kritsonis, of Newport; and third baseman David McIlvaine, of Issaquah. All three played varsity baseball in the spring.

The outfield play has been consistent with Rawlings and Sam Reynolds, of Issaquah; and James Ferris, Curtis Kojima, Frazier Krall and Chinery, of Newport. Kojima, along with Kritsonis, played on the Newport varsity team that won the 4A KingCo Conference Crest Division title and reached the state regional tournament last spring.

Zach Walker, who played on Issaquah’s varsity team, and Mack Barry, of Newport, have handled the catching chores.

Rosen and Ferris have been solid hitters for the team this summer. However, Thorpe points out that anyone in the lineup is capable of stepping up and delivering a hit at a crucial time.

“It seems like we have a different hero every day,” Thorpe said.

Although he would like to see Lakeside Recovery 17-U advance to the Regional tournament Aug. 8 in Yakima, Thorpe said he would always savor this season.

“I’ve been coaching for a long time and this has definitely become one of my favorite teams. The players get along together and play well together,” Thorpe said. “This team deserves to be successful.”

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or Comment at

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