Lakeside Recovery 17U is traveling bumpy road
July 1, 2014
By Neil Pierson
The Lakeside Recovery 17-and-under American Legion baseball team is learning a difficult lesson this summer — it’s tough to play consistently when your roster is in turmoil.
Coach Chris Tamminen’s squad started the summer with 19 players. One moved away and another five got injured, leaving 13 players eligible for games. Working with a short bench hasn’t been an ideal situation, Tamminen said.
“It’s definitely hurt us as far as moves that we can make during in-game situations,” he said.
Lakeside Recovery’s roller-coaster season continued last week as it dropped three of four games at the Chevy Cup, a five-team, wood-bat invitational tournament at Eastlake High School.
On June 27, Lakeside missed out on several scoring opportunities and saw the Kennewick Bandits pull away for a 6-1 victory.
Starting pitcher Danny Shomaker was able to work out of some jams early in the game, but was knocked out in the fourth inning after he issued a leadoff walk and Kennewick’s Jake Kirchoff tripled to tie the score, 1-1.
Reliever Raoul Soans couldn’t stop the bleeding, and Kennewick scored four runs in the frame to take the lead for good.
Shomaker and Soans had some good moments, combining to strike out three batters while allowing seven hits. But they also struggled with control, walking six batters.
“They’ve just got to improve a little bit in between the ears, and you’ve got to throw strikes in those situations,” Tamminen said. “Giving guys free passes puts a lot of pressure on your defense. It adds to your pitch count, and we’ve got to be better than that. We’ve got to pitch to contact.”
Most of the walks didn’t hurt Lakeside directly. In the first inning, Shomaker walked Trenton Nett, but catcher Kyle DeCamp caught Nett stealing for the third out.
In the second inning, DeCamp again helped stop a walk-fueled rally by picking off a runner at first base. And Lakeside turned a double play in the third, erasing Bryce Grigg’s one-out walk.
In the top of the third, Lakeside took a 1-0 lead when Tyler Kim drew a one-out walk, stole second and came home on Gunnar Erickson’s long double to the right-field gap.
However, Lakeside failed to capitalize on numerous other scoring chances. Tate Spivey pitched all seven innings for the Bandits, and although he walked seven batters and hit two more, he held Lakeside scoreless after Kennewick took the lead.
Lakeside got runners on base in all but one inning, but stranded 11 total, including bases-loaded situations in the first and sixth innings.
“It’s kind of been our nemesis,” Tamminen noted, “especially two outs with runners on base, we haven’t done very well … as far as getting that two-out RBI.
“That can change the whole complexion of the game, especially early on,” he added. “It puts a whole different mindset in the other dugout. We haven’t been able to do that.”
Lakeside’s record dropped to 13-14 overall, although an 8-5 mark in league contests puts the team squarely in contention to secure a district playoff berth.
A busy slate of seven games in the next 10 days could make or break the season. Lakeside travels to Des Moines for a July 5 doubleheader against Mount Rainier, and hosts the Marauders from Everett in a July 6 twinbill at Issaquah High School. The home games are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Although many of the Lakeside players are also in the Skyline High School program, which Tamminen coaches, summer ball isn’t a key measuring stick for who will suit up during the high-school varsity season.
“It’s nice to have some of the Skyline kids play for you in the summertime — I definitely enjoy that, getting to know them and they get to know me a lot better,” Tamminen said. “… But by no means does that mean that they have a better shot of making varsity than any other kid that’s playing.”