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Lakeside clubs Land Park Pacific in Section 4 Major

It's on to winners' bracket final Monday
By: Robbie Enos/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Lakeside Little League continued its offensive rampage through the Section 4 Major All-Star Tournament on Sunday, clubbing 12 hits and drawing four walks in a 12-6 victory over Land Park Pacific at McBean Park in Lincoln.

Lakeside totaled 25 runs over the weekend and grabbed two easy wins in the early rounds. A solid top of the lineup led by Matt Voelker, Chris Weber, Alex Dailey, Darren Nelson and Jacob Baranowski continue to drive opposing pitchers bonkers.

“We just focus on hitting the ball hard,” Dailey said. “We get good cuts up there, and we’re on every pitch. Because when we all do it as a team, we get our momentum and that’s just how we’ve been winning our games - with our bats.”

Manager Steve Dailey feels the team has found a nice combination of long balls to go with station-to-station strategy. Nelson smoked a home run in the first inning and then worked two walks to set up Lakeside rallies.

Lakeside has all-or-nothing batters such as Baranowski, who struck out twice but also swatted a grand slam in the fourth inning, and consistent hitters like leadoff man Voelker, who went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two runs.

“We really focus every day on getting good at-bats, swinging at strikes and taking the count deep,” Steve Dailey said. “We’ve got guys working the counts and going the opposite way. We do hit some home runs, but we’ve got a lot of good hitters who get on base somehow.”

Alex Dailey drew a walk and launched a deep line-drive home run in the fifth. On-base demon Darren Baker bedazzled fans at the plate and in the field. Baker went 4 for 4 with a double and two runs. He also made several sensational plays at shortstop, including a diving stop and line-drive stab.

“One of the big keys was our defense,” Steve Dailey said. “Darren Baker made several great plays at shortstop, and we made some very nice plays in the field. The defense played well, and we needed it because our pitching was not our best (Sunday).”

Lakeside showed a little chink in the armor on the mound. Land Park managed to stay in the game through the fourth and actually held a one-run lead in the first and third. Lakeside managed to outhit its defensive woes, but it will be more difficult pressing onward. Coach Dailey is confident in his pitching situation moving forward.

“Our top three will all be available (Monday): Darren Nelson, Jacob Baranowski and Matt Voelker," he said. "We’re going to look forward to starting Nelson on the mound. He’s our number one, our horse. We know Lincoln is a very, very good team. But I’m feeling very good about our chances.”

The likely starter for Lincoln, Lakeside’s opponent in the winners' bracket final at 7:30 p.m. Monday, is Alex Isola, who is well known by the Lakeside team. Alex Dailey said he and many of his teammates have played with Isola, and they'll have a clear understanding of the challenge ahead.

“We know some stuff about the pitcher that we’re going to be facing,” Alex Dailey said. “We’ve seen him play and pitch. We’re just going to focus on hitting the ball hard and getting our good at-bats up there.”