Central Catholic senior Kevin Gunderson has started the baseball season the way a college prospect should Ñ impressively.

In his first two starts, Gunderson gave up two hits and no runs, striking out 22 batters without allowing a walk. The Rams won two of their four preseason starts.

'He's pretty good,' Central Catholic coach Darren Bland says with a laugh. 'And he's playing really well to start the season.'

Gunderson is a key reason Central is a potential contender in the Mount Hood Conference.

He has signed a letter of intent to play at Oregon State. He is no relation to Ryan Gunderson, the Central Catholic quarterback who also is headed to Oregon State.

MORE BASEBALL: One of the prized moments for Grant coach Rob Kennewell during the Generals' spring break trip to Arizona was a meeting with alumnus Joe Gerber.

Gerber went from Grant to Oregon State, where he hit a school-record 34 home runs before being drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2000. He played the 2002 season with Kalamazoo, Mich., in the independent Frontier League and hit a team-high 19 homers, including several that went over a building behind right field at the Kalamazoo stadium.

Gerber has latched on with the San Diego Padres organization and, Kennewell says, hopes to spend the season with the Storm, a Class A Lake Elsinore, Calif., team. He'd be two levels away from the Portland Beavers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Padres.

'It was neat seeing him,' Kennewell says. 'He's getting another chance. Maybe he'll stick with the Padres.'

Weather permitting, PIL games begin Monday. Lincoln is at Madison in a key game.

Teams will play just 16 games this season because Jefferson is playing only a junior varsity schedule.

SOFTBALL: The first round of PIL play begins Monday with all games at Delta Park. Games are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday through the last day of the regular season, May 15.

GOLF: St. Mary's, which won the Metro League girls title for 10 straight years until last season, will be challenged to continue that success in the Mount Hood Conference. The Blues have a strong sister duo in senior Sarah Shahbaz and freshman Rachael Shahbaz, but they have little experience beyond that.

'It's a different era, because we're not going to win state,' says Dan Friedhoff, an assistant coach. As head coach, Friedhoff guided the school to four state titles. 'We had quite a run of league titles and a lot of success at state. How many schools can say they beat Jesuit in anything for 10 straight years?'

The Blues are coached by Paula Patterson, who won two individual titles while at Central Catholic and was an All-American at Oregon.

TRACK AND FIELD: The key runners from Grant and Lincoln didn't compete against each other in Wednesday's dual meet and probably won't run across each other until the Centennial Invitational on April 26. But there's plenty of action between now and then, especially for Grant's Alec and Scott Wall and Joaquin Chapa. They will travel to Los Angeles for the Arcadia Invitational on April 12. The Walls are focusing on the 3,000 and 1,500, Chapa on the 800 and 1,500.

Lincoln's Mike McGrath, a state contender in the 800 and 1,500, had planned to go to Arcadia but decided to compete with his team at the Lake Oswego Invitational on April 11. Some runners from Benson will go to Arcadia.

Wednesday's Lincoln-Grant meet was a classic spring affair. Shortly before the first event, enough hail fell on the Lincoln field to make it look white. Then a transformer on a telephone pole located just outside the stadium exploded.

Notes: Wilson's track and field team will take part in the 22nd annual Mike Kostrba/Clackamas County Bank Invitational Saturday at Sandy High. The meet is unusual because it's scored on a coed basis. Beaverton is the defending champion. Sandy senior Tommy Skipper won't be pole vaulting at the meet because he's recovering from a broken thumb on his left hand. But he still can throw the javelin, an event in which he placed second at the 2002 state meet. He won the pole vault. É The PIL track schedule has one big day for dual meets Ñ April 30, when Benson is at Grant and Lincoln is at Wilson.

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