With a nod to Pacificness, whose comments on the start and finish well encapsulate the baseball season, here's further commentary.
Pacific finished 11-16 in the West Coast Conference, missing the league playoffs (ironically held each year in Stockton) for the fifth consecutive season since moving over from the Big West.
One of the most frustrating aspects of the season was the fact that the WCC was down this year. BYU, USD and Gonzaga had less talent than in previous years. Pepperdine got off to a very slow start and only came on strong in the second half of the season to win the pennant. Pacific actually was probably as good as some of the teams (USF, LMU, St. Mary's and Santa Clara) that finished above them. The Tigers lost a couple of key conference games by blowing late-inning leads.
Tiger sophomore catcher James Free, a pre-season All American candidate, only hit .283. That's 60 points less than his phenomenal freshman year. He still was the only real threat to do damage in the middle of Pacific's lineup. The Tigers had no team speed on the base paths once again, and made up for it with a lack of power.
Bright spots included freshman infielder Alex LeForestier who began the season on the bench but battled his way into the starting lineup, hitting .300. His mother is a Pacific professor so the Tigers were fortunate to land him out without offering a scholarship. Another youngster who showed promise was left-hander Lucas Sweany. He only recorded one victory, but saved three games and appeared in 20 in a variety of moderately effective roles. In the well-til-next-year vein, Pacific does return seven of nine positional/DH starters.
The brightest star, by far, was redshirt sophomore Shelby Lackey. He was the ace of the Tiger staff and really one of the best pictures in the WCC. He came on strong at the end of the year, going 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 88 innings. He is a likely selection in the June 4-6 major league draft. If so, he will follow in the footsteps of another Linden High graduate who was drafted several years back out of college and has made quite a name for himself in the majors. You can judge for yourself to whom I am referring.
That's all, boys