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Riders: Few hands, lots of talent

Prep Watch
by: DENISE FARWELL, Roosevelt’s A.J. Halbersma throws against Hillsboro in a game late last month. Now in league play, the Roughriders are plotting a run at the Class 5A playoffs.

On the heels of playoff appearances in football and basketball, Roosevelt has a great shot at making the Class 5A postseason in baseball.

'These guys want to go deep in the playoffs,' coach Greg Schwartz says, 'and if they work together, they can do it.'

The Roughriders have been competitive in baseball the last couple of years, and this year's team has some experience. But pitching is at a premium on the 12-man roster, so it's important that the Riders produce offensively.

They did that in one of two games last week, starting league play 1-1 by beating Madison 5-4 after losing to Cleveland 7-3.

'We can beat Cleveland. We just didn't hit against them last week,' Schwartz says.

The four-team PIL also includes Marshall (Jefferson doesn't field a varsity team), and the league gets four spots in the 5A playoffs.

The Roosevelt infield of last season is intact, with junior Justin Wilmoth at first base, junior Danny Fuhrer at second, junior Cameron Jackson at shortstop, senior John Nelson at third and junior Casey Schwartz catching.

Jackson, the PIL 5A basketball player of the year, doubled home the winning run in the seventh inning against Madison.

Wilmoth, Nelson, Chris Teuscher, Schwartz and senior A.J. Halbersma are the main pitchers. Teuscher also can play in the outfield, along with senior Pat Stauffer and Chris Snyder, a speedy sophomore.

'We've got a good team. We could just use a larger of pool of players,' Schwartz says.

Notes

• Roosevelt boys basketball coach Robert Key is coaching junior varsity baseball at the school, which had the turnout to add a second-level team this year.

Key will have some of his basketball mainstays back next year in Jackson, Larry Richards and Victor Jackson.

'My three amigos,' he says.

Richards also plays football for Roosevelt, which has made the state playoffs the last two years in that sport.

'He'll be a heck of a tailback,' Key says.

Jackson, an A student, is a solid tight end.

'I think baseball is his best sport,' Key says. The University of Portland is recruiting him, the coach says.

Key brought up a freshman, 5-7 guard Oscar Betancourt, for the state tournament as the Riders took second place in Class 5A. And JV coach Jerry Campbell had some good prospects, too, including 6-5 sophomore Ashton Murdock.

Key is excited about the athletic potential of Roosevelt's sophomore class.

'I call them the Portland Posse,' he says.

There's also a chance that senior post Otho Lesure could get an extra year of eligibility on a hardship basis, Key says.

Key says he'll try to schedule Hudson's Bay and Mark Morris in Washington in basketball next season.

• Isaiah Johnson, a football-basketball standout for Roosevelt, could be headed for the College of the Siskiyous, or another two-year school. College recruiters have looked at him primarily as a football back, 'but he wants to play both sports,' Key says.

• Lincoln won the PIL boys golf title last year and isn't out of the PIL 6A race despite a 159-171 loss to Wilson. The teams meet again Wednesday, and scores from the mid-district tournament Thursday at Eastmoreland and district tourney May 4 at Heron Lakes also will determine the season champion.

'I think we're going to be right there in it,' Lincoln coach Aaron Wilder says.

Senior Justin Roby, who was third at district last year, initially didn't want to play but has just turned out. He figures to be the third man behind freshman Tom Hanacek and junior Jamey Stambler, the district champ in a playoff with Cleveland's Conor Logan in 2006. Returnee Adam Perkiomackie, a junior, is in the No. 4 man. Sophomores Max Crowell and Ben Kahn and senior Robert Rudolph are battling for the fifth and final spot.

• A special event will be part of the Lincoln Invitational/Relays track and field meet at Mike Walsh Field on Friday. The varsity action starts at 5 p.m., and the Jackson Hill Dragonslayer Memorial 1,500-meter run is set for 8:15 p.m. This is the second year for the unique 1,500, which honors Melissa Hill, a Lincoln coach who two years ago lost son Jackson at age 12 to cancer.

The Dragonslayer is open to competitors in the elite, open, masters and local men's and women's divisions. To enter, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . A raffle at the event will raise money for the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation.

• The state track meet will take three days this year instead of two, with Classes 6A, 5A and 4A all competing at Hayward Field from May 17 through May 19. The 3,000 finals will take place Thursday, and the 800 finals will be Friday; all other finals are set for Saturday, as usual.

The PIL district finals for 6A and 5A will be May 10 at Lincoln, with the 800 finals during the prelims in other events May 8 (6A at Lincoln, 5A at Marshall).

• Jefferson girls basketball coach Michael Bontemps says he has a verbal commitment from the city's most touted eighth-grader, 6-2 Krystal Fortson. She attended the Class 5A state tournament at Chiles Center, where the Democrats took third place.