The Lake Oswego baseball team learned a lot this summer.
The Lakers also grew a lot and beat some pretty good baseball teams.
Lake Oswego did more in all of those areas in the Oregon Independent Baseball Association's National League Tournament, held July 25-27 at Tualatin High School.
The Lakers opened with a 21-5 rout of Mountainside on Thursday, July 25, overpowered West Linn 10-1 in the quarterfinals on Friday, July 26, then fell short in an 11-4 loss to eventual tournament champion Clackamas in the semifinals on Saturday, July 27.
"(The summer season has been) super helpful," said Lake Oswego second baseman Brad Holmes. "We had a great group of guys this summer and I'm really looking forward to what we can do in the spring."
"Guys definitely stepped up from the start of the summer," said Lake Oswego outfielder Charlie Owens. "Guys had to figure out their roles and what they wanted to try and do coming out of the spring and also find ways to help the team out moving forward."
Clackamas 11, Lake Oswego 4: Clackamas started fast in its semifinal against Lake Oswego and kept its foot on the accelerator from there, scoring four times in the bottom of the first inning, once in the second, three times in the third and once more in the fourth to grab a commanding 9-1 lead.
While the Lakers weren't happy with the outcome of their semifinal, they chose instead to focus on the positives of the summer and the OIBA tournament.
"Obviously, today we didn't bring our stuff, but nine times out of 10, we come out and bring it so I'm super happy with how the tournament went," Holmes said. "I thought we played super great in this tournament and I'm really proud of our guys."
"Obviously, there's still a lot of work to be done and this offseason is going to be really important for how we come out in the spring, but I'm confident in our guys," Owens said.
Clackamas got a three-RBI, two-run day from Nick Holm, two RBIs from K.C. Miller and three runs from Grant Edgerly, while Miller threw seven innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits and one walk while striking out five.
While the Lakers fell behind early, they kept pushing down the stretch, scoring three of their four runs in the game's final two innings. Casey Graver went 3 for 3 and knocked in two runs, Holmes finished 2 for 3 and Owens 2 for 4.
Pitchers Gabe Coder, Emerson Smith and Lito Perez combined to allow 11 runs on nine hits and eight walks while striking out six.
Lake Oswego 10, West Linn 1: Facing Three Rivers League foe (and Pesky Division champion) West Linn in the tournament quarterfinals, Lake Oswego broke through for three runs in the top of the second inning, another in the fourth and four in the sixth to boost its lead to 8-1.
"It was fun," said Graver, the LO first baseman who went 4 for 4 with four RBIs and one run scored. "I've been in a little bit of a slump lately so to get out of it felt good."
At the same time, LO pitcher Chris Hofmann kept West Linn at bay throughout the game, holding the Lions to one run on five hits and two walks with no strikeouts.
"I felt good from the beginning of the game," Hofmann said. "I was getting a lot of rest because my team was providing offensively and I wasn't throwing that many pitches each inning. It was less throwing than I'm used to and I took advantage of it."
In addition to Graver's success at the plate, Hofmann went 3 for 4 and scored twice, Jack Layne finished 3 for 4 and scored three times, while Andrew Wong and Blaise Heher added two RBIs apiece.
Lake Oswego 21, Mountainside 5: Lake Oswego took absolutely no chances in its tournament opener, breaking open a 5-4 game with eight runs in the second inning, another three in the third and five more in the fourth.
Graver had another big day with the bat, going 3 for 4 with three RBIs and three runs, but he had lots of help. Owens went 2 for 4 with three RBIs and four runs scored. Hofmann was 2 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs. Layne went 2 for 4 with one RBI and three runs scored. And Wong, Lucas Wear, Luke Brauner and Holmes scored twice each.
Jacob Matlock and Brauner teamed up for the win, holding Mountainside to five runs on nine hits and six walks while striking out 10.
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