Wildcats say theyre ready for title matchup

Team aims for Westview's first-ever state baseball crown
by: Miles Vance FOR THE DEFENSE — Westview junior shortstop Carson Kelly and the rest of his Wildcat teammates are aiming for their school’s first-ever state baseball championship on Saturday.

KEIZER - It doesn't really matter who Westview plays.

The Wildcats, who on Tuesday earned the second state baseball championship-game berth in school history by hammering Jesuit 18-0, went to bed later that night still not knowing who their final 2011 opponent would be.

Tuesday's other Class 6A state semifinal left off with Roseburg leading Central Catholic 1-0 in the fifth inning when the rain hit in southern Oregon. But the Cats learned Wednesday afternoon that they'd face Central Catholic in Saturday's finale after the Rams beat Roseburg 4-1.

Regardless, when Westview takes the field at 5 p.m. Saturday at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, the Wildcats know they'll be ready and they know just how badly they want to win the first baseball state championship in school history.

'We've been working for it all four years at Westview, and to finally be able to play in this one when we got cut short the last two years, it feels really good to have it senior year and have a chance to get that first one,' said Westview senior pitcher Sam Johnson, a University of Oregon recruit who is likely to start Saturday's contest.

'We haven't faced either of those teams, but we're going to come out strong and, hopefully, get a 'W,'' said Westview senior designated hitter Ryan Susnow. 'We've just got to get some good practices in this week and go out and get it.'

The Wildcats enter Saturday's title game as owners of a Metro League co-championship, the top ranking in the state, a 26-5 record and a seven-game winning streak. Further, Westview has what is widely considered to be the best pitching rotation in the state with Johnson, junior Carson Kelly and senior Phil Belding, and a hitting lineup known for its long-ball power and explosiveness.

That said, Westview also knows it will be facing a quality opponent on Saturday.

Central Catholic went 17-3 to win the Mt. Hood Conference, carries a 24-6 overall record and a five-game winning streak into Saturday's title contest, and is 11th-rated in the OSAA power rankings.

'I heard Central Catholic has some pretty deep pitching and a couple of guys who can swing it real well,' Antich said. 'They're a younger club that's playing ahead of the curve a little bit.'

Beyond all that, however, the Cats just want to play their best.

'We haven't played (Central Catholic) this year so we don't know a whole lot,' said senior second baseman/shortstop Donnie Bradley. 'But we feel like if we play our game, no one can beat us.'

'We just have to come out and play our game,' agreed Kelly, also a shortstop when he's not pitching. 'We were a little disappointed with last year, but we're excited this year and hopefully we can get the job done.'