Lake Oswego Baseball History
Lake Oswego baseball has a long and rich history since the school’s opening in 1952. The program has had many changes through its 58-year history. Baseball is one of those unique sports where the program is a landmark to the players, coaches, school and community support that have continued to dream, build and support it.
To understand the history and support of the baseball program one needs not look any further than at the Laker baseball field. In a sport where the field is as holy as the people who play on it, the Laker baseball field has a story all its own. The Laker baseball field, now named Les Darby Field, has had many changes that have brought the program to its current status. It is hard to believe that this was once a small dirt field tucked away in the west corner of the campus. The historic field was sunk into the hillsides below the football field and did not even come close to the amenities of its current status. With its modern infrastructure, state of the art synthetic turf, indoor hitting facility and beautiful concession stand, you can see the evolution of the program before your eyes. The field has seen two major renovations that have created one of the finest baseball facilities in the state of Oregon. The field itself is a sense of pride for all who have played and been a part of Laker Baseball.
Through the years, one of the many changes in the program has been the number of coaches. Laker Baseball has had 15 coaches since it opening in 1951. Coach Griffin was the inaugural coach in 1952 and coached for two years. After Coach Griffin there were 13 more coaches to take the helm. The longest tenured coaches for the Lakers are Don Kieling from 1954-1961, Pat Byrne from 1972-1977 and 1992, Stan Bozich from1978-1983, Mark Shoff from 1985-1993, and the longest tenured coach Jake Anders from 1998-to current. Some of the coaches have also been successful coaches in other sports at Lake Oswego including Sunny Long and Mark Shoff who coach(ed) basketball at LO.
You could not talk about the baseball program and its success without talking about the strong youth programs. Lake Oswego Little League and Lake Oswego Junior Baseball serve as the feeder programs for LOHS Baseball. With over 400 participants in the two leagues the youth programs serve as the heart and soul of providing Laker Baseball with its future stars. The time, commitment, and development of players there have been handled by countless numbers of moms and dads who have served the baseball community in Lake Oswego. The youth leagues are continually playing for local, state, and regional championships. Many of the current and past players of Laker Baseball have put on their spikes at Waluga and Westlake fields before coming to the high school.
Championship traditions are made on the efforts of past players and coaches. This is another evolution of the Laker Baseball program. While many of the players and coaches before the current era experienced success at LOHS, there had been few league championships or even a playoff victory in the early years of the school. From 1952 to 2003 there had been 3 league championships (1963, 1967, and 1971). The groundwork for the last 52 years had been building and long overdue for the Laker Baseball program. In 2004 the Laker Baseball team triumphed for every player, coach and parent to ever be a Laker. The 2004 Lakers won the Three Rivers League title, the first playoff game in the school’s history and the first State Championship in the school’s history and set the precedent for future clubs to follow. Since 2004 the Lakers have had two other league titles. They have been in the playoffs 11 of the last 14 years and finished the state playoffs with strong performances: 2006 Quarterfinalists, 2007 Quarterfinalists, 2008 Semifinalists, 2009 Semifinalists, 2010 Quarterfinals, 2011 Quarterfinals, 2011 Quarterfinals, 2013 Quarterfinals, 2014 Quarterfinals, 2017 Quarterfinals. In all but one of those years they have had a playoff victory.
Through the years the greatest part of Laker Baseball has been the connection between the past and present. This is what makes Laker Baseball a tradition!