Hungry veterans lead Lakeside Recovery’s fast start
June 10, 2014
By Neil Pierson
It’s not as though the Lakeside Recovery Senior American Legion baseball team had a poor 2013 season, but there wasn’t the same chemistry that carried the squad to the World Series in 2012.
Lakeside Recovery finished with a 10-2 record in Northwest League games last season, but was eliminated at the state tournament in July. The reason, longtime head coach Rob Reese said, is there weren’t enough leaders on a relatively inexperienced roster.
“We lost a lot of guys off the World Series team,” Reese said. “We had a few guys back, but they weren’t too vocal. And now they’ve grown up a little bit.”
Lakeside — comprised of players from Skyline, Issaquah and Newport high schools — upped its overall record to 5-1 on June 4, rallying for two runs in the sixth inning to defeat Phiten, 4-2, at Newport High School in Bellevue.
There’s a veteran presence in the dugout that might not have been there last season, said Drew Lunde, a Skyline senior who will play collegiately at Washington State University next year.
Many of the Lakeside players have played together since they were 15-year-olds on the Preston-based Bears Baseball Club, Lunde said. And this summer is their last chance to do something special as a group.
“Some of these guys aren’t getting the chance to play college ball, so this is their last shots,” Lunde said. “We’re all trying to win. We’re all trying to make it to the World Series again, like a couple guys did our sophomore year on this team … That’s the goal.”
Against the Bellevue-based Phiten team, Lunde and fellow WSU signee Derek Chapman did their part to lead Lakeside to victory.
Lunde, the big first baseman, went 2-for-2 with a double. Chapman, an outfielder for Issaquah High, was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base.
Lakeside took control early as Mitchell Morimoto singled to score Chapman for a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The lead jumped to 2-0 in the third as leadoff hitter Jason Santiago singled, move to third with no outs and trotted home on A.J. Block’s sacrifice fly.
But the team felt it could’ve done more offensively to help starting pitcher Jake Rosen and reliever David Van Halm.
“We had the 2-0 lead, and we had a chance to break it open a little bit,” Reese said. “We didn’t do it, and then when we made the pitching change, we kind of let David down in the field a little bit.
“But he battled out of it, and he got stronger and threw some zeroes up there, gave us a chance to win. That was the key.”
Rosen threw four scoreless innings, scattering four hits while striking out two and walking one. He gave way to Van Halm in the fifth, and Phiten quickly tied the score with three singles and a key error by shortstop Danny Sinatro.
If Van Halm was flustered, he didn’t show it. The 6-foot-3 right-hander, a senior at Issaquah High, retired seven of the last eight hitters. He struck out the side in the sixth, and got some defensive help to get out of a fifth-inning jam.
After a strikeout on a ball in the dirt, Lakeside catcher Ian Miller had to throw to first base for the second out. Phiten’s runner at third base tried to score, but Lunde quickly threw home to Miller, who applied the tag in time for the third out.
Lakeside has scored 10 runs or more in three of its five wins, but it can also effectively use a small-ball approach like it did against Phiten, Chapman said.
“There was good pitching on both sides,” he said. “We had a few ground balls that got through, scored early and came up with some clutch hits in the later innings.”
Lakeside plays five games from June 11-18, including a 5:30 p.m. start June 17 at Issaquah High School against Chaffey. The team splits its home games between Issaquah and Newport.
The Legion schedule is busier than the high-school season, forcing Reese to use a pitching rotation of at least five players. And there’s little time to mentally recover from a loss, Chapman indicated.
“You’ve just got to be able to flush bad games better in the summer because you’re coming out here every day as opposed to a couple times a week,” he said.