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And theyre off – Metro baseball gets in gear

And Jesuit wins a 2-1, eight-inning thriller over Beaverton to kick off its 2008 Metro campaign
by: MILES VANCE, TURN IT — Jesuit senior second baseman Aidan Milstead tries to turn a double play with Beaverton’s Taylor Noyer bearing down in the fourth inning of his team’s 2-1 eight-inning victory on Tuesday at Jesuit High School.

BEAVERTON - Two great pitchers. Two tough teams and just enough good weather to play.

Yep, Tuesday's Beaverton vs. Jesuit Metro League baseball opener just about had it all, including a fabulous finish - Jesuit senior Aidan Milstead doubled to the center field fence to plate Jay Bhatia for a 2-1 eight-inning victory at Jesuit High School.

'I just got a good pitch and put a good swing on the ball so it was good,' said Milstead, a second baseman who went 1-for-4 at the plate Tuesday. 'It was a great game to start the season.'

It was an 'awesome game. It's a great way to start the league season,' said Jesuit coach Don Lovell. 'Both teams played really well.'

Beaverton, meanwhile, left disappointed with the result but not with its effort.

'I think we did what we could today, but at the plate, hitters didn't really do what they were supposed to do,' said Beaverton senior catcher Taylor Noyer, who went 1-for-2 and drove in his team's lone run with a sixth-inning double. 'We fought and battled with a good pitcher, but we just couldn't get the ball to fall in places when we needed it to fall.'

In addition to the exciting finish to Tuesday's game, the season-opening match-up also featured a duel between two of the Metro League's best pitchers, Beaverton senior Ryan Larson and Jesuit senior Alex Keudell. Larson held the Crusaders to five hits, hit one batter and struck out three while Keudell shut down the Beavers on five hits and one walk while striking out 10 - both pitchers threw complete games.

Keudell 'pitched great. He's pitched great all year,' Lovell said. 'He worked hard in the off-season to add some strength to his arm and he's obviously done it. He was as strong in the seventh as he was in the first and second. He just did a great job.'

After 3-1/2 scoreless innings, Jesuit broke on top in the bottom of the fourth inning when Marshall Yanzick led off with a single, moved to third when Kelley singled off third baseman Roman Lorenz's glove, and scored on Cameron Love's sacrifice fly.

Beaverton rallied to tie the game in the top of the sixth when Calvin Nagy led off with a double into the center field net, took third on Marcus Himelhoch's grounder and scored when Noyer came through with a two-out double to center.

Jesuit squandered scoring chances in both the sixth - Zane Norris lined out to center field and Nagy doubled Yanzick off second to end the inning - and in the seventh - Love was stranded at second after stroking a one-out double to center, then finally came through in the bottom of the eighth.

There, Kelley led off with a single through the left side of the infield, took second on Michael Payne's sacrifice, and then scored the game-winning run when Milstead hammered a two-strike Larson fastball over Nagy's head.

'Both teams fought really hard but we had it in us to battle and come out on top,' Milstead said.

'I think it was a good step for us,' Noyer added. 'We faced a good team and we played hard. ... (This) will get us ready for the rest of the series here, and then the season.'

Nagy was the only player in the game with more than one hit - he went 2-for-3 with two doubles and one run scored.

Jesuit and Beaverton played the second game in the three-game series yesterday (Wednesday) after the Valley Times' press deadline and close their week with the final game at Jesuit at 4:30 p.m. Friday.