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Whitsitt looks to a new game

He's coming back. It looks like Bob Whitsitt will return to the Rose Garden in 2008 - as the head of a National Lacrosse League expansion team. Whitsitt, former president and general manager of the Trail Blazers, is almost certain to be granted a franchise (for the $5 million fee).

The team would play its home games in Whitsitt's home base of Seattle, at KeyArena, or just south in the Tacoma Dome. The Whitsitt team would play the Portland LumberJax at least a couple of times each season as a fellow member of the league's Western Division.

'That would be great, a good rivalry for us, less travel,' says Derek Keenan, Jax GM and coach. 'It wouldn't really affect our market.'

Whitsitt's son, Sean, played lacrosse for Harvard this year as a freshman.

Tennis to make comeback

Portland State is bringing back men's and women's tennis in the fall of 2007 after a three-year hiatus. Coach for both programs is former University of Portland assistant Steve Asher.

The Big Sky Conference requires its schools to field tennis teams.

Sitton on the fence

Oregon State has no scholarship money left in its baseball program for next season, but the Beaver coaches have a player with a familiar name as someone they hope will walk on - McMinnville's Kraig Sitton, whose father, Mark, is a first cousin of ex-OSU basketball great Charlie Sitton.

Kraig is a 6-5 left-hander, a sleeper who got nine straight outs via strikeout in the recent State-Metro series. He had been all but set on going to Linfield but is now considering the Beavers.

Duty calls

Joe Gerber, 27, says he has officially retired. Gerber, the former Grant High and Oregon State baseball player who also played for the Portland Beavers, lives in the Washington, D.C., area. He will begin his 22-week training with the Arlington (Va.) County Fire Department later this summer.

Vikings walk softly

Fans have through Friday to vote in the Big Sky's online, preseason football poll. As of last week, Montana, Montana State and Eastern Washington ranked 1-2-3, with PSU sixth in the nine-team conference, which is adding Northern Colorado this year.

Ballots had come from 212 voters in 28 states and India. Montana had 130 first-place votes and 1,769 points; Montana State 41 first-place votes and 1,480 points; and PSU five first-place votes and 971 points.

If 150 more voters would simply pick PSU to finish first, Montana for last, Montana State for eighth, and so on, the Vikings would jump into the lead and possibly go into the season as the Big Sky favorite.

Granted, that might look a mite suspicious … and, if you're Portland State, staying under the radar isn't all bad. Whichever strategy you prefer, you can go to www.bigskyconf.com and cast your vote.

- Tribune staff