Same Faces; New Hopes


Baseball players passing back and forth at the beginning of tryouts.

Liam Bradford, Sports Editor

The Lakeland Hawks baseball team kicks off their season with a bang as they head to southern Idaho to play in their annual spring break tournament. The tournament once again will take place in Boise, Idaho, at Boise High school, home of the Boise Brave. 

“Ultimately, I am most looking forward to go down to Boise and see how we match up against those 4A and 5A schools. That first tournament sets the tone for the rest of the season,” said coach Jason Bradbury. 

After losing a small number of seniors to graduation last season, coach Bradbury’s team is very prepared to bounce back from a losing season in 2021. 

The Hawks are especially optimistic about the upcoming season with a “nowhere but up to go from here” mentality after a 3-22 record last season. 

Garrett Love, a junior third baseman for the Hawks said, “I feel like we have improved a lot already and have more experience than we did at any point last year. We will be able to put up some numbers against bigger schools and I think we can win a game or two against 5A teams.”

Senior leader for the Hawks, Payden Wysong, said, “Our middle infield is stacked and I think we will have better numbers at the plate. Tierney and Pemberton will help a ton at the plate and Cam will be reliable as always on the bump. Sandpoint and Moscow each lost a few key guys so we will all be in the same boat this year and hopefully we will compete for a district title.”

“We absolutely have a lot of room for improvement, and I am one of the biggest believers that we can do much better this year than last. I’m here in my senior year with nothing to lose, and I have to just enjoy my time with the boys and play my heart out,” said Sean Tierney, a senior middle infielder for the Hawks. Tierney was unable to play last season aside from the first few games, and he says he has something to prove this year. 

“It’s nice to see my senior guys taking charge and stepping into a leadership role for these younger players. The seniors are the glue of this team and I’m excited to see how much we have improved now that everyone has another year under their belt. We were very young last year and with most of our guys returning, we have the advantage over a few of our competing schools,” said coach Bradbury. 

Starters who played a vital role in the previous season for Lakeland, Scotty Hocking, and Nick Nowell each made a decision this spring to compete in track rather than return to the baseball squad. 

“Much respect and appreciation to the baseball program, but I would like to focus mainly on basketball and get into the best shape I can for my senior season on the court,” said Hocking when analyzing his decision. 

“I just look forward and appreciate the time I have with my teammates. I’m ready to ball out no matter what our roster looks like, and I don’t really have anything to say to those who decided not to play other than you’ll be missing out on a great season,” Tierney said when referring to last-minute roster changes. 

“I respect the decisions of those guys, and I wish them the best of luck this year during the track season. Kids have tried to play both sports in the past, but I don’t think it’s very realistic that a kid can fully commit to two teams at once. Coach Etchison is a great leader, and I fully support anybody who chooses to run track, though their presence will be missed,” said varsity head coach Jason Bradbury. 

Coach Bradbury emphasized that the main concern is not anywhere but the baseball field and his team that he has put together this year has the potential to compete with league opponents to the best of their ability.

The varsity roster this year shapes up as follows: Payden Wysong, Sean Tierney, Sam Pemberton, Garrett Love, Cameron Harris, Blaze Day, Dylan Dugger, Tanner Vandever, Raiston Ellwood, Roan Reilly, Tim Shepard, and Jacob Schaffner. 

The Hawk’s first game will be played on Mar. 24 against Emmett High in Boise.