With eight of nine starters back, the Lakewood Lancers have more than enough talent to reclaim their spot atop the league after losing to Wilson and Millikan last year. Lakewood entered last season as five-time defending league champs, and winners of nine of the last 10 league titles.
“It’s a sore spot,” Lakewood coach Andy Miramontes said. “We have to get back to where we need to be, and the number one goal this year is taking back that Moore League title. On paper we’ve got some good ball players. But we have to find our balance as a team.”
The catcher position at Lakewood might be the deepest and most talented position for any sport in the city. Sophomore Kendall Lundberg, junior McKenzie Hutchinson, senior Jordan Kaeka and senior Taylor Pack will all play behind the plate at the NCAA Division 1 level.
Pack is committed to attend Ohio State, Kaeka is headed to Cal State Northridge and Hutchinson is verbally committed to Middle Tennessee. Lundberg plays for one of the best clubs in the nation.
“I hopefully found a formula to use them all,” Miramontes said. “Kaeka is so versatile and having her at shortstop makes us a lot stronger defensively. All of the catchers are good so I’m not worried about it.”
Pack will join Kaeka on the left side at third base, and Hutchinson will play first base when she’s not catching the two aces Lakewood has in juniors Cassie Perryman (pictured) and Kaiya Yonamine.
Other key returners are junior left fielder Cassie Camou, junior second baseman Emilie Martin, senior first baseman Alyssa Torres and senior outfielder Clarissa Salazar.
“If we can play good defense, I expect this team to make a deep run in playoffs in Division 2,” Miramontes said. “It all comes down to timely hitting, but I look forward to this year. This team is silent but deadly, and kind of just coming into their own.”
Sophomore Brooklyn Baruch and junior Destinie Beck will be key newcomers in the outfield for Miramontes, who said he wants the returning starters to lead with urgency.
“Last year, we lost focus and tried to do it last minute,” Miramontes said. “We started slow, and that’s a learning thing. We have to learn to compete all the way through, and not take anything for granted.”