Baseball Lakewood

Baseball Preview: Lakewood Loaded, Hungry For Championship

There’s not much left on the to-do list for legendary Lakewood baseball coach Spud O’Neill.

Now in his 37th year coaching the Lancers, O’Neill has won 891 games, won CIF-SS championships and Moore League championships by the armload, and has coached several Major Leaguers. Asked what he’s excited about this year, he didn’t say becoming the third coach in state history to reach 900 wins, and he didn’t make bold predictions about winning titles.

“I’m just excited for the season, I’ve been looking forward to this group being seniors for the last three years,” he said. “A lot of them played as sophomores, and I feel really comfortable with them. They’re playing baseball the Lakewood way. It’s really tough because of technology and the travel teams–but we’ve been very successful in the Fall and Winter, we’ve got some pitching, and we’ve been scoring runs. It’s just fun to go to practice and the kids have a smile on their face when they leave. Whatever happens happens, but it’s a good feeling so far.”

The talented Lancers will be led by senior ace pitcher Ricky Tiedemann. A San Diego State signee, it’s looking less and less likely that Tiedemann will see the NCAA ranks, as his velocity continues to climb and scouts continue to make the Lancers appointment viewing, with more than two dozen on hand for the Lancers’ first game last weekend.

“He’s pretty special,” said O’Neill. “He has a lot of scouts looking at him. We’ve been through that a few times over the years, and sometimes players’ minds aren’t quite there to handle that. Ricky has been great the last month, he’s got the right state of mind about it.”

He won’t be the only talented player leading the way. Lakewood was missing second baseman David Baruch for most of last year with a broken leg, but he’ll be back this year, along with All-League third baseman Eddie Gaxiola and shortstop Diego Gutierrez; Baruch and Gutierrez also help form the backbone of a really talented bullpen.

Blair McDaniel will bat second and plays all four infield positions, taking the spot of whoever is pitching in a given innings.

In the outfield are talented sophomore Anthony Eyanson, who will also pitch, junior Blake Jones, and senior Wade Coats.


Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.