If Joey Mahalic of Wilson is No. 1 among high school pitchers, then Scott Burris of Franklin might be No. 1A. And the two of them staged a classic duel Wednesday.
The defending state champion Trojans eked out two runs in the seventh inning, and Mahalic then struck out the side in the bottom of the frame as Wilson won 2-0 at Franklin.
Mahalic, the All-American right-hander bound for Oregon State next season, gave up three hits while striking out 13 and walking two, one intentionally. Burris, a 6-2, 175-pound lefty, allowed two hits, with eight strikeouts and three walks for the 2-4 Quakers - with various scouts, including University of Portland coach Chris Sperry, on hand to check him out.
Burris is new to the PIL - he still attends Portland Lutheran but is able to play for his neighborhood public school now that the Class 2A Bluejays have dropped baseball. And it didn't take him long to impress Franklin coach Adam Shaw and make an impact at the 6A level.
'He's legit. He's everything that's been hyped,' Shaw says. 'He almost came to us last year … we got a call on the last possible day saying that Portland Lutheran had enough kids to field a team. They went 0-24, but he averaged 14 or 15 strikeouts. A lot of kids knew him from playing Little League and Babe Ruth ball.
'He throws pretty hard - an 85- to 87-mph fastball - has a curve, cut fastball and changeup, and can throw any pitch anytime wherever he wants to. He knows how to pitch, he doesn't just get up there and throw.
'In my estimation, he's probably one of the top two or three in the state I've seen the last couple of years.'
Burris took a no-hitter on 92 pitches into the seventh inning against Grant in Franklin's PIL 6A opener. The Generals got a bunt single, and Shaw took him out, figuring his bullpen could handle things. Grant scored six runs that inning and won 7-6 in the eighth.
The Quakers might have knocked off Wilson (6-4, with three losses to tough teams during an Arizona trip) had it not been for a sensational defensive play by Trojan third baseman Jacob Whiteman in the sixth. Franklin had runners on first and second with two out when Whiteman backhanded a hard-hit ball down the line and beat the runner to third for the inning-ending force-out.
'If that ball goes by him, we probably score two runs,' Shaw says. 'That play deflated us.'
Wilson promptly scored both its runs with two out. A walk to pinch hitter Max Teschner put runners on first and second. Whiteman then singled home Augie Rittenberg, and Teschner scored on an overthrow.
• Franklin has a young team, with only two returning starters: No. 2 pitcher-right fielder Marshall Jennings, who hit .452 last season, and improving catcher Nik Kehdi.
'After that Grant game, we were a little hung over for two or three games, but our kids are getting better,' Shaw says.
• Grant was 3-0 going into Thursday's game against Benson. The Generals must face the Trojans three times next week, Monday and Thursday at Grant and Wednesday at Wilson.
• Cleveland took the lead in PIL 5A with wins this week of 7-3 over Roosevelt and 22-8 over Marshall. Roosevelt is second at 1-1 after beating Madison 5-4.
In three-game series next week, Cleveland plays Madison, while Roosevelt meets Marshall.
The Warriors play at Madison on Monday and Thursday.
'I've never won over there,' says eighth-year Cleveland coach Casey Dyer. 'Even when we won the PIL title in 2004, we lost over there 17-14.'
• Cleveland isn't able to start two returning pitchers, seniors David Lynch and Pete Curtis, who hurt their shoulders as the Warriors won the PIL 5A football crown.
'Lynch pitches every now and then; he can throw about 15 pitches a day. We'll try to use him in late innings,' Dyer says.
The 6-5, 240-pound Curtis, who appears headed to Linfield to play football, is leading the baseball team in hitting and playing first base.
Seniors Sam Pressley and Wade Essick and freshman Rudy Corbett are on the mound the most; Corbett gave up only one unearned run to Roosevelt.
Football QB Andy Johnson, also a senior, has been on base nine consecutive times in league play, going 3 for 3 with six walks. He's the starting catcher.
Senior outfielder Odie Hollingshed homered in the first inning at Roosevelt. It was only the second HR this year for the Warriors.
The preseason was a grind for Cleveland, which posted just one victory and gave up 19 runs, with two grand slams, in the first inning of a 24-7 loss to 5A Mountain View of Bend.
- Steve Brandon