Four years of playing together as a team helped Jesuit earn a spot in the Class 4A baseball state title game for the first time.
Jesuit will play Newberg at 5 p.m. Saturday at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer. The Crusaders have 12 seniors, all of whom entered the program as freshmen.
'It's a wonderful feeling, especially because we've all been together for so long,' says Scott Reese, a 6-7 pitcher who is headed for Creighton University. 'It makes it all the more special to get to the state final. That's what we've been dreaming about for four years.'
Jesuit graduated 10 seniors from last year's team, which lost to Newberg in the quarterfinals. Andrew Stephens, Reese and Hans Grauert were regulars on that team. This season they were joined by fellow seniors Grant Zimmerman, Mike Gambee, David Mather, Conner Durrett, Eric Krueger, Andrew Mannex, Seth Yonker, Adam McCool and Stephen Kost.
The Crusaders, the Metro League champs, have won 20 of their last 22 games. Stephens and Reese combined on a four-hitter and Grauert hit a two-run double to lead the Crusaders past Oregon City, 4-2, in the semifinals.
Coach Craig Webster says Stephens or Reese will start the final, with the other available in relief.
Webster is in his 21st season as a prep coach 14 years at Milwaukie and the last seven at Jesuit. He guided Milwaukie to the semifinals in 1986.
'It's going to be fun,' he says of Saturday's game.
BOYS HOOPS: New North Carolina coach Roy Williams played a small role in helping Troy Berry make the decision to move from Lincoln to Benson.
Berry, named Benson's coach last week, fell into a conversation with Williams at an all-star tournament in Houston in April.
Williams talked to Berry about some of the criteria he used in making his decision to leave Kansas and return to his alma mater.
'I was pretty impressed that he knew about my situation,' says Berry, a Benson alum. 'And that he would take the time to talk to me.'
Berry says numerous Benson alums including former teammate A.C. Green, Rick Raivio and Rickey Lee have contacted him about becoming more involved in the program or volunteering as coaches.
'One of my goals is to keep the alumni involved,' Berry says. 'This school has a lot of history, and I want to build on that.'
Berry skipped his first game as coach of the school's summer league team because it pitted the Techmen against Lincoln. Lincoln rallied from a 10-point deficit and won by 12.
Notes: The Inner City Players club basketball program is holding an invitational June 13-15 at Grant High School. Its second annual banquet for departing seniors is set for June 12. Missouri coach Quin Snyder is the keynote speaker. É Berry's Legends program won the 17- and 16-and-under titles at a Minneapolis tournament in mid-May. Redmond junior Marty Leunen was the 17-and-under unofficial tournament MVP. Lincoln sophomore point guard Omar Leary guided the 16-and-under team to victory against mostly Midwest programs.
This weekend's annual softball all-star series includes graduated seniors Emily Anderson of Cleveland, Katelyn Grant of Wilson, Kayce Ernst of Centennial and Emilie Witkowski of St. Mary's on the Metro team that will face the State. The series begins Saturday at Erv Lind Stadium after the Class 4A state final between Sprague and Southridge. The series moves to Mt. Hood Community College for a doubleheader at 10 a.m. Sunday.