Senior proms, all-star feeder games, graduation practices. You name it, and its prevented the Lakeside Senior Legion baseball team from fielding an entire roster early in the season.
As a result, the group of top players from Issaquah, Skyline and Newport high schools is off to an 0-4 start.
But, nobody’s hitting the panic button yet.
“We’re not worried about it,” head coach Rob Reese said, noting his team only had nine players for one of its early games. “This time of year you’re just hoping to have enough guys to play your schedule.”
According to Reese, this year’s team is very experienced in specific spots.
“We’re really deep in the outfield and on the pitching mound,” he said. “We’ve got some holes to fill on the infield. We have some younger guys who will take some time to develop.”
Issaquah outfielder Spencer Rogers, first baseman Mike Paulson, pitcher Shane Yarnell, pitcher Matt Houser and pitcher Ethan Kalin all return, along with newcomers Marcus Gaan, Jake Bakamus and Brandon Mahovlich.
Skyline has four players on the roster, including pitchers Adrian Sampson, Connor Lawhead, and outfielders Sean Penberthy and Mikey Smith.
Newport has 10 players in the lineup, including returning pitchers Cole Wiper and Jared Fisher, and returning outfielder Victor King. Daniel Spray, Dan Altchech, Nick Clifford, Kyle Goemmer, Joey Gale and Nate Anderson also join the roster.
Lakeside is coming off a 36-14-1 season in 2009 — one that left the club just two wins shy of a trip to the American Legion World Series.
And, with so many key components back, there’s no question — expectations are again soaring high in 2010.
“They’re always high for this team,” Reese said.
Close, but no dice
Lakeside fielded its entire roster Tuesday afternoon for the first time this season, before losing a close 4-2 battle with Taylor Baseball — a team that features some of the best players from King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
Lakeside grabbed a 1-0 lead over Taylor in the bottom of the third inning when Shane Yarnell drove Mike Paulson in from third base on a sacrifice fly.
Taylor countered in the bottom of the third tying the game, 1-1, capitalizing on an error. They rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth on back-to-back solo home runs from Derek Callahan (Edmonds-Woodway) and Ryan Wiggins (West Seattle). Theo Alexander (Lake Washington) recorded an infield single for an RBI later in the inning to round out the scoring.
Lakeside brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh, getting two lead-off runners on base. A mistake on a soft line drive off the bat of Sean Penberthy, however, resulted in a double play at second base and a quick end to a rally.
Despite the fourth defeat of the season, Reese liked what he saw from his players, and the possibilities it presents for the rest of the season.
“You’ve got a team like Taylor, we just take from three high schools, and they take the best guys from everywhere,” he said. “This shows we can play with anybody.”
Lakeside continues play at 3 p.m., Saturday with a doubleheader against Portland Baseball at Newport High School. The series opens up a stretch of 16 games over the final 18 days of June.