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Young Crusaders fly furthest

Jesuit places fourth - best among Beaverton-area teams - in the OIBA tournament
by: Miles Vance GRAB IT — Jesuit shortstop Nick Choruby makes a bare-handed grab of a bad-hop ground ball during his team’s 9-5 loss to Clackamas in the OIBA Tournament on Saturday at Lakeridge High School.

LAKE OSWEGO - Jesuit's OIBA team entered the summer season as hungry as could be, and Jesuit left just the same way.

But Jesuit got a whole lot done in between.

Jesuit, which played its way to the championship of the OIBA's Pesky Division, also made some significant inroads in the 2011 OIBA Tournament, held July 27-Sunday at Sunset and Lakeridge high schools. Jesuit played all its games at Lakeridge High School.

Jesuit opened the tournament with two straight wins, beating Sherwood 5-2 on July 27 and McMinnville 5-1 on July 28, fell to Lake Oswego 14-3 on Friday, bounced back with a 5-1 win over Tualatin on Saturday, then saw its tournament end with a 9-5 loss to Clackamas on Saturday afternoon to place fourth.

'All our guys really proved themselves this summer and showed what we had all summer,' said Jesuit outfielder/pitcher Peter Davis. 'I'm proud of every single one of these guys. We've shown what we can do and we've made great strides.'

'I think we're going to take it into next year and definitely be contending again for state,' added Jesuit shortstop Nick Choruby. 'We'll be good.'

Jesuit 5, Tualatin 1

The morning after their 14-3 loss to Lake Oswego, Jesuit came back strong to shut down Tualatin 5-1 at Lakeridge High School.

'We had a rough night last night, but we had to forget about that and come out and play tough,' said Jesuit's Peter Dempsey, who went 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run, knocked in two runs and also scored twice. 'We didn't want to go out on a sour note, losing two games in a row, so we flushed the game from last night and came out with our 'A' game today.'

Jesuit pitcher Matt Decker also played a big role in the win over the Murphy Division champions. Decker shut Tualatin down on four hits and no walks while striking out three in his complete-game victory.

'In the bullpen, I couldn't really get my offspeed stuff … working, so I was really spotting my fastball,' Decker said. 'And I noticed early on they were chasing the high fastball, so I just started them off with that instead of anything else.'

Jesuit's offense broke through in the bottom of the second inning, getting back-to-back singles from Davis and Decker, a run-scoring single to left by Robert Strys, and another run on a groundout by Christian Martinek.

Jesuit tacked on two more runs in the third to lead 4-0, with Keenan Hatfield singling, Harrison Bruce reaching base when he was hit by a pitch, and an RBI single to right by Dempsey that Tualatin misplayed into two runs.

Tualatin answered with one run in the fourth when Nathan Suyematsu doubled to left, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Andrew Schlottmann's grounder to shortstop.

Undeterred, Jesuit got that run back in the fifth when Dempsey hammered a Travis Johnson pitch over the left field wall for the final 5-1 margin.

'We still haven't put up the offense we'd like to, but … if we keep getting runners on every inning, one of these innings we're going to get the big hit and we're going to put two or three runs up on the board,' Dempsey said.

Besides Dempsey's efforts at the plate, Strys went 2-for-3 and knocked in one.

Clackamas 9, Jesuit 5

Jesuit started fast again in its Saturday afternoon game against Clackamas, the Olin Division runner-up, pushing across one run in the first and three runs in the second to lead 4-0.

But Clackamas broke through with seven runs in the top of the third, then added single runs in both the fourth and fifth to pull away.

'We knew that we could come back,' said Davis, who went 2-for-4 at the plate. 'It just didn't happen in the end, but that's baseball, though.'

'We've had a lot of big innings this summer, so being down three runs wasn't a big deal,' added Choruby, who finished 2-for-3, scored once and knocked in one. 'It didn't happen, but we still kept our heads up throughout the game.'

Jesuit led 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning when Buddy Webb walked, stole second, took third on a bunt and scored on Bruce's grounder. The team extended that edge to 4-0 with a three-run second, getting singles from Decker and Doug Brenner, an RBI single to right by Choruby, and a two-run double off the left-field wall by Webb.

Clackamas answered in a big way in the third, though. Dempsey opened the game with two perfect innings, but gave up seven hits and seven runs in that third, the big blows along the way a two-run double to left by Aaron Ahlstrom, a two-run double to center field by Garrett Myers, and RBI hits from Cade Wilkins and Austin Kelly.

Clackamas tacked on RBI singles in the fourth and fifth by Cooper Mickelson and Geoff Houf, while Jesuit managed just one more run in the sixth, getting a leadoff triple by Davis and a Kelly balk.

Kelly threw a complete game for Clackamas, scattering eight hits and two runs while striking out five. Myers, Mickelson and Kelly had two hits each in the win.

Despite the loss, Jesuit's players were happy with what they accomplished over the course of the summer season.

'We're motivated right now,' Davis said. 'We have this loss and we have the Westview one (in the Class 6A state semifinals) under our belt and we're going to come with those two next year and be ready to go first game.'

'We're all friends. We have a lot of chemistry. We're a good team,' Choruby said. 'Sometimes losing is good because it keeps you working hard. It was a lot of fun.'