Lakeside Recovery 15U prepares youths for future

July 31, 2012

By Matt Carstens

Frank Lawhead, head coach of the Lakeside Recovery 15U team, knows that baseball is a game of failure. After going 29-12 entering the Lee Johnson Tournament July 25-29, his team was ready for a challenge.

“We were playing in an older tournament with some better competition,” Lawhead said.

Lawhead’s team went 1-4, winning their last game in the tournament, 5-3, against Showtime. Despite the rough time over the weekend, Lawhead said he knows it was a good experience for his kids.

“For them to see what they have to do next year is important,” he said. “We’ve done that several times this year, we played in a 16-17-year-old tournament and we did a little bit better there. We’re just trying to get them to understand that when they get to high school there is no age limit, they’re competing against 16-, 17- and 18-year-old kids.

“It was a pretty positive experience for the boys. I think they rose to the occasion a little bit.”

The Lakeside 15U team was one of the strongest in the league this year and went on several torrid winning streaks that gave them the best record in the league.

After the Viking Memorial Day Tournament in Kenmore on May 28, Lakeside went on a 10-1 stretch, routinely scoring more than 10 runs a game. Its lone loss in the streak came at the hands of the Woodinville Blue; the team lost by one run with a final score of 5-4.

After going 1-4 at the Saxon Invitational in Salem, Ore., Lakeside came home and continued to win going 13-3 including a 10-game winning streak.

“In those periods of time the boys were really competitive at this level,” Lawhead said. “We won our league and then we had our district tournament, where we ran into a couple of hot teams. The team that put us out won the tournament and the other team that beat us ended up in third place. It was unfortunate that we were in a very competitive district and we happened to play a little bit below the level we had been playing in that particular tournament.”

The two stretches also were comprised of some tougher competition and big comebacks.

“We were able to just play some really solid baseball,” Lawhead said. “We played some older teams even in that stretch, we just played really strong. In the Camas tournaments, we had a couple of really nice comeback wins and we had a walk-off victory against the Hockinson team that was an older team, mostly juniors.”

Lakeside was down 4-2 and scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the game against Hockinson.

“We were right in the championship game,” Lawhead said. “Just a play away on offense and defense from winning that championship.”

The main reason they expose 15-year-olds to the tougher competition is so that when they face off with it in the future, they aren’t too overwhelmed.

“It’s like anything else in life,” Lawhead said. “It’s easy to watch it, but you need to experience it to have that comfort level that I fit here and I can do it. And certainly all the kids on this team will be making that step up.”

One of the most important things to Lawhead is not only the play on the field, but using baseball as a metaphor to get his kids ready for the challenges ahead in life.

“I use my work experience with them a lot of times when I talk to the kids,” said Lawhead, who owns Lawhead Architects in Bellevue. “I have my own business, I go through a lot of individual rejection, it happens here, it happens there. You need to learn and become better and take advantage of those skills. Baseball is a great way to teach some of those things in life.”

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