Featured Stories

Championship bound

Westview speeds past Jesuit 18-0 in its 6A semifinal on Tuesday
by: Miles Vance TO THE PLATE — Westview senior Sam Johnson prepares to touch home and accept congratulations from teammate Phil Belding after hitting a second-inning grand slam against Jesuit on Tuesday afternoon.

ROCK CREEK - Westview couldn't have asked for anything more.

The Metro League co-champion Wildcat baseball team, hosting Jesuit in the Class 6A state semifinals, did just about everything right on Tuesday, and rode that edge to an overwhelming 18-0 victory and a berth in Saturday's state championship game at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer (for more on that game, please see the accompanying story).

'We've got people who can hit one through nine,' said Westview senior second baseman Donnie Bradley, who went 3-for-4 and scored once. 'If we get started early, it's going to be a long game.'

'We just wanted get up on them early, get as many runs as we could and stay consistent all the way through the

game which we did,' added junior shortstop/pitcher Carson Kelly, who went 3-for-3, knocked in one run and scored four times, and also threw three scoreless innings to close out the game.

'We expected a good ballgame and respect them as a ball club and certainly didn't expect to do that today,' added Westview coach Steve Antich. 'But today we pitched it and hit it well. We haven't done that too often.'

The win lifted Westview's season record to 25-5, while Jesuit - the third-place finisher in the Metro League - ended its season at 20-11. After the game, Jesuit looked back on the second-best season in school history and also on its unfortunate end.

'We beat a lot of expectations. We've always had the talent, but this year we just came together and bonded,' said Jesuit junior second baseman Peter Dempsey, who went 2-for-3 at the plate. 'But today was not what it should have been. It wasn't our day and they had a great day.'

'We know that we're better than that and that's why it's so disappointing,' added senior shortstop Quinn McLafferty. 'We knew we could give them a good game coming in, but (Westview) is a team that capitalizes on every little thing you give them and they sure did today.'

Indeed, the Wildcats did. After Westview starter Sam Johnson threw a shutout first inning, Jesuit freshman starter Christian Martinek struggled in his first inning, allowing a leadoff bloop single to Bradley, a walk to Phil Belding and loading the bases when he hit Kelly.

It looked like Martinek might escape unscathed, though. He got Johnson on a blistering line drive to Jesuit third baseman Buddy Webb that Webb then turned into a double play by stepping on his base to double off Bradley.

Kyle Henderson walked to load the bases again, then Belding came home with the game's first run on a passed ball, and two more scored when Webb fielded Ryan Susnow's grounder and threw wildly past first base.

'The great part of that was it could have really been a different result if we hadn't come through after Sam crushed that ball and (they got the) double play,' Antich said. 'That was huge, to still pull some runs out of that inning and some positive momentum.'

Johnson threw another shutout inning in the second, then let his offense take the game over.

Westview sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second, hammered seven hits and took advantage of four walks to pour across eight runs and extend its lead to 11-0. Bradley kicked things off with a bunt single, Belding walked again, and Kelly singled to load the bases and end Martinek's day. Johnson then greeted reliever Blake Evetts with a grand slam homer over the center field fence to extend Westview's lead to 7-0.

Henderson then singled, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Susnow's hit to right. Tate Glasgow followed with a one-out RBI double to center, and scored later on a wild pitch, and the final run of the frame came home when Johnson drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 11-0.

'Just getting those three runs in the first and adding that big inning in the second, that just took all the stress off us,' said Johnson, who threw four shutout innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out five. 'We knew we just needed to finish off the game and keep adding runs and that's what we did.'

'We were just hitting well, getting our pitches, getting our swings and going good,' said Susnow, who went 3-for-5 at the plate, scored twice and drove in two.

Yota Ishii hit a sacrifice fly in the third to make it 12-0, and Westview then pushed across four more runs in the fourth. There, Belding and Kelly hit back-to-back doubles for one run, Johnson singled home another, Shane Suyama doubled in a third off reliever John Rizzo, and Paul Gorman singled to right to make it 16-0.

Westview's final two runs came home in the fifth when Susnow and Suyama both singled in runs.

'We just wanted to swing the sticks. That's what we wanted to do,' Kelly said. 'We knew the defense would be solid behind us, and the pitching staff is pretty solid too. So we just wanted to get as many runs as possible and rely in the defense.'

For the game, Jesuit pushed just three runners as far as second base and none farther. Kelly threw the game's final three innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out four.

'They're a hell of a team,' Dempsey said. 'It was hard to fight back from that three-run deficit we had in the first inning. We needed to get on top and we didn't do that and we were fighting from the back the whole game.'

'It just sucks that it has to end on a bad day for us,' McLafferty said. 'But we know we're a good team and we accomplished a lot this year.'

For Westview, Johnson went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and six RBIs, and Suyama went 3-for-5, scored once and knocked in one. Besides Dempsey, junior left fielder Peter Davis was the only other Crusader with multiple hits, going 2-for-3.