New team has a promising look

05/26/2011 13:54

The college’s baseball program has a tradition of winning like very few. And next season, 25 recruits will have the opportunity to prove themselves worthy.

This year’s recruiting class is expected to be one of the biggest in school history, including the first one for first year head coach Dean Stiles and fourth for assistant coach Jeff Lyle.

The new athletes will join the Titan brotherhood this fall, including four preferred walk-ons and five local athletes. These local athletes included Zach Eyester from Marist High, Tyler Johnson from Thurston, Bryson Jones from Churchill and Cason Cunningham from Sheldon.
“I feel great about this incoming class and it could easily be one of the top recruiting classes in all the NWAACC. They will be our best overall recruiting class on paper we’ve ever had,” Lyle said.

Not only did head coach Stiles and his staff get some of the top local talent from both Eugene and Portland, they went out and got commitments from three out of staters from Washington, California and Montana. Two players are from Montana, two are from southern California, seven are from Washington and 14 are from Oregon.
“We are not necessarily excited about any single recruit, however, the class as a whole is fantastic,” Stiles said. “Our outfielders and pitching crops, on paper, appear to be the strongest groups.”

One of the reasons LCC is able to attract so many out-of-state players is because of Stiles and his local tie-ins with the University of Oregon.
Having previously coached at Oregon for the past three years under head coach George Horton and playing for the Ducks when he was younger, Stiles is a direct connection to the “Oregon Way.”

Many of the players who come to LCC have very high hopes moving onto four-year schools, with one of those primary schools being the UO.

“I played for coach Lyle last year so that helped me know a familiar face when I was looking for a school,” Coffman said. “Also, playing for coach Stiles and his baseball background really helped me choose Lane, especially his connections to Oregon.”

Within the past 10 years, the Titans have had eight winning seasons, been to the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges’ championship tournament five times, including winning the tournament in 2004, and played in last year’s championship game.
“I’ve also heard a lot of great things about the program and how successful they are. So, I’m excited to join them,” Nic Coffman, infielder from Wilson High in Portland said.

They have sent numerous players on to four-year institutions and watched them be successful at their respective schools.
With a track record like that, LCC is a top choice among many high school baseball players, both local and national. Many Titan athletes are looking to better their play-making abilities in hopes of going on to a prestigious four-year school.

“I think kids want to come to Lane because we run our program like a Division 1 program and they love that,” assistant coach Jeff Lyle said. “Also, having head coach Stiles and his local tie-ins to U of O is also a big draw for kids.”

With an experienced coaching staff returning, a group of freshmen going to the NWAACC playoffs in their first year, and an incredibly talented incoming recruiting class, look for the Titans to continue the winning tradition they are accustomed.