“The baseball team’s last two games have been our strongest,” Kevin Mills, head coach said. The West Linn Lions (5-14, 2-6 Three Rivers League) have battled two top Three Rivers League teams: the Lakeridge Pacers (12-6, 5-3 Three Rivers League) and the Clackamas Cavaliers (19-2, 7-2 Three Rivers League).
Although the Lions have gone into extra innings twice, they have no wins to show for their effort. The Lions lost 5-4 and 3-2 to the Pacers.
“They’re working on making the game routine, and minimizing errors,” Mills said.
The Lions lost 4-3 against the Cavs on Friday, May 3, battling against the Pacer’s pitcher Austin Kelly, senior. They pushed to tie the game in the top of the seventh inning when Nikko Mills, junior, hit a double. Clackamas countered with a walk-off hit with two outs off Will Matthiessen, freshman.
The final score against the Pacers on Friday, April 26 was 3-2. West Linn’s Garrett Meisen, junior, pitched against the Cavaliers on Friday giving up only one run through seven innings. In the eighth inning, the Lions scored a run. Jordan Dailey, sophomore, pitched in the bottom of the eighth and walked two Clackamas players and later forced two outs on grounders. The Lions started to waver when the Cavs hit a double to tie the game, and then a single to win.
The Lions fought against the Pacers on April 24 and although the outcome was a loss, the coach didn’t see it that way. West Linn’s ace, Karsen Lindell, sophomore, struck out 15 players in the course of the game, and kept the others guessing. Lindell kept this up for seven innings, never showing a sign of exhaustion.
Mills said that the factor that finally pushed the Pacers to win was their offense. Cooper Hummel, Lakeridge senior, hit a homerun and a triple against Lindell’s pitches.
After losing 15 seniors last season, the team was hoping for a fresh start. Mills sees it as both a curse as well as a blessing due to the loss of some of the star players, but also gaining new players.
“It was a great opportunity for younger players to get Varsity spots,” Mills said. In his opinion, the Lions have proven themselves as a younger team by continuing to battle until the very last inning.
The goal for the end of the season is simple: be a better team than they started as. Next Tuesday the Lions begin playoffs, and will continue to keep other teams in check.