To say that the 2018 season left the Lake Oswego baseball team with a bad taste in its mouth would be a massive understatement.
Lake Oswego would love to reverse that outcome this season.
"We had a disappointing end to last year and our kids are hungry to prove they can be one of the best teams in the state," said Lake Oswego coach Jake Anders. "Our goals never change — get better every day, compete for a TRL title and a state title. That is the goal every year."
The Lakers open the 2019 season with six returning starters, a group that includes junior outfielder Thomas Dukart (a second team all-TRL selection in 2018), sophomore pitcher/shortstop Malcolm Williams (second team), senior pitcher/first baseman Alex Giroux (second team in '18 and TRL Pitcher of the Year in '17), senior outfielder Matt Sebolsky (honorable mention), senior catcher Gabe DeVille (honorable mention) and senior third baseman/pitcher Jackson Laurent.
Giroux, a starting pitcher since his sophomore year and a University of Washington commit, "was one of our best hitters last year and will provide tremendous leadership. He is an absolute baseball junkie and loves to pitch," Anders said.
Williams and Laurent will join Giroux as starting pitchers this year, and while Anders is confident in that trio, he knows it will take more than just his starters to win consistently.
"We will have some kids that haven't pitched a lot of varsity innings besides Alex Giroux, Malcolm Williams and Jackson Laurent," he said. "Those kids will be battling to fill out our pitching staff."
Around the rest of the diamond, Dukart, an Oregon State commit, is back for his third starting season and is "one of the most talented players in the state with some of the best skills and speed," Anders said, adding that Williams is an "extremely young and talented player. He proved how good he was on the mound last year and will show how special he is in the field this year being an everyday guy."
DeVille, Sebolsky and Laurent will also play huge roles for LO this spring, with Anders saying that DeVille is much improved behind the plate and one of the team's best hitters, Sebolsky is a third-year starter and one of the best leadoff hitters in the league, while Laurent is a "workhorse" with a lively bat.
Senior Kellen Rice has also earned a starting spot in the outfield alongside Sebolsky and Dukart, but the team is still waiting to see who steps up and earns time at second base.
While the Lakers are aiming for a league title, they also know just how difficult that will be to win.
"We play in one of the toughest leagues in the state. Year-in and year-out, it's a grind," Anders said. "There is no favorite. You have to grind every day and be consistent and stay healthy. The team that does that will be the league champion."
The rest of the varsity lineup includes senior Brandon Day, senior Matt Hoffmann, senior Luke Kloster, senior Mike Mercep, senior Jack O'Brien, junior Gabe Coder, junior Ty Davis, junior Casey Graver, junior Chris Hofmann, junior Brad Holmes, junior Alex Sol, sophomore Lucas Wear and sophomore Jacob Matlock.
To see the Lakeridge team preview, click here.
To see the West Linn team preview, click here.
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