Lakeview High School Honkers baseball enters 2014 with new faces, a new coach, and high hopes for the upcoming season.
A 16-11 record was just good enough to make the 3A OSAA playoffs last year, losing in the first round to eventual state champion Pleasant Hill, 11-4. Three seniors from last year’s team are gone; a pitcher, catcher, and outfielder, but with many freshmen gaining valuable game experience in 2013 new head coach Brett Prock has high expectations for the team.
With the new coach comes a change in philosophy, taking a much more hands on approach, implementing new practice techniques, and starting early to prepare for the upcoming season.
“They are hard workers, it’s tough to get a new coach, and last year they were prone to doing stuff on their own,” said Brett Prock, first year head coach of the Lakeview Honkers baseball squad. “I like to manage things closely, and the players are adapting well to practicing at game speed. It is a credit to them, wanting to work more to be more efficient. It takes time to adjust, but they bought in early.”
Practice for the Honkers began last week, giving returning players a chance to absorb the newly implemented training regimen by Prock, which he believes puts them ahead of schedule compared to other teams.
Prock got to work early on strengthening the team, reaching out to other programs across the state to schedule games early against more difficult opponents, testing the player’s merits.
“I wanted to play tougher competition, teams that are always in the playoffs, we need to play those types of teams to build confidence and show that with hard work we can play with anybody,” said Prock.
One new aspect implemented by Prock this year will be a spring break trip. The team will be traveling to play multiple opponents while school is out of session, including double-headers against Culver and top-10 Cascade Christian. During the trip, the team hopes to also attend an Oregon State baseball game on March 23.
The team will rely heavily on the five sophomores, in particular pitchers Cody Hamilton and Landon Lampman. It is difficult to replace a starting catcher, but Prock is impressed with the progress of senior Ronny Humphries, who has not played catcher previously, but according to Prock nobody would know that considering how quickly Humphries has picked up the position.
The large turnout of available baseball players this year has also allowed a junior varsity team to be formed, a rarity for Lakeview High School.
Lakeview High School varsity baseball open their season Tuesday, March 18 at 4:30 p.m. vs. Lost River. The junior varsity team will play Thursday, March 20, vs. Central Linn.