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Sorry, Metro rivals, Ainge aint gone yet

Tennessee-bound quarterback is set for baseball season

Bad news for Metro League batters Ñit looks like they'll have to face Erik Ainge again this season.

Ainge, the 6-6 quarterback bound for the Tennessee Volunteers, tentatively is set for Glencoe mound duty and maybe some play at first base.

Ainge didn't play baseball last season, and he has been bothered this year with stress fractures of the navicular bone in both feet. 'The Bill Walton thing,' says Doug Ainge, his father. 'They didn't break, but there were hot spots.'

Erik was cleared for baseball a few weeks ago, but he will meet with his orthopedic surgeon today to look over the latest scan and see if the go-ahead will stand.

'I guarantee you he's going to play,' Doug Ainge says.

Erik had his first outing, and only outing so far, shortly before spring break. He pitched late relief in an 11-5 win over Grant, striking out three in two innings and starting a double play in the top of the seventh. He also doubled in two runs.

Ainge originally planned to concentrate on weight lifting this spring; he hopes to go from 200 pounds to 220 eventually.

He'll leave for Knoxville on July 2.

Before that, though, if all goes well, he and 6-4 Dallin Batteen could form the 1-2 pitching punch to make Glencoe, a good defensive team with promising juniors, a dark horse in a league that includes strong teams at Westview, Southridge and Jesuit.

PIL baseball

Cleveland, perhaps the favorite to win the Portland Interscholastic League title, went 5-1 on a spring-break trip to California.

'Going into the season, we didn't know how well we'd be able to hit, but we hit a lot better than we played defense,' coach Casey Dyer says.

In Saturday's final game, the Warriors trailed Homestead of Cupertino 6-0 with two out in the sixth inning. Backup catcher Josh Martin, a junior, tied the game at 6-6 with a bases-loaded double, and Cleveland went on to win 8-6.

Senior Ry Kagan and sophomore third baseman Ricky Hefflinger hit well on the trip, too.

Cleveland opens the PIL season Monday at defending champion Grant. The Generals have graduated almost an entire team to college ball and are off to a 3-5 start, going 1-3 in Arizona last week. But they've lost three one-run games, and coach Rob Kennewell has a horde of talented young players, including third-year varsity shortstop-pitcher Paul Raglione, the scheduled starter versus Cleveland.

'The same group took third in the state in American Legion Class A last summer, and beat Cleveland four times, so they have confidence against them,' Kennewell says. 'These guys know how to win. We won't make many mistakes. Our problem is closing games out, but I think they'll figure that out. We grew up a lot in Arizona.'

As usual, Grant can hit.

'We swing the stick real well,' Kennewell says. 'If our pitching gives up eight or nine runs, we might score nine or 10.'

Junior pitchers Graham McDonald (elbow tendinitis) and Craig Metke (dislocated shoulder) are battling injuries, but Grant has senior Reggie Walker and sophomore Billy Gibson lined up as starters after Raglione, anyway.

Notes

Tualatin's Samantha Lang pinned all five of her opponents in the first round to win her fourth U.S. Girls Wrestling Association national high school title last weekend. Lang, the smallest competitor in the 165-pounds-and-above class, was named the outstanding wrestler of the event at Lake Orion, Mich. She'll compete in the Senior Nationals, April 6-10 at Las Vegas, where the top eight qualify for the Olympic Trials. 'She'll be up against some 23- and 24-year-olds, but I think she's still the favorite,' says her coach, Bobo Umemoto.