Jesuit will try to reach the Class 4A state final in baseball for the first time when it plays Oregon City at 4:30 p.m. today at the University of Portland.

Jesuit, the Metro League champion, won its three playoff games last week over Lincoln, Crook County and McMinnville by a combined score of 37-11.

If the Crusaders win today, they would play at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer on Saturday. Unlike last season, when two No. 4 seeds reached the state final, the remaining semifinalists all finished first or second in their leagues.

Grant, the PIL champion, nearly reached today's semifinals with another comeback win, but the Generals fell 3-2 to visiting Newberg on Friday.

The Generals, who rallied to beat David Douglas and Klamath Union earlier in the week, scored twice in the bottom of the sixth inning, then had the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh with one out against Dallas Buck. Newberg's dominating senior pitcher then struck out the next two batters and finished with 14 strikeouts.

'We were the comeback kids, and I thought we were going to have another one,' says Matt Hibbitts, who hit a run-scoring double in the sixth. 'We just needed one more hit.'

Grant senior John Fisher, the PIL player of the year, was ejected in the sixth after taking a called third strike for the second time. The game ended with his replacement at the plate.

'Buck is the most impressive pitcher I've batted against,' Grant senior Gabe Chase says. 'He's as good as Mike Aguilar or Jeff Pry of Franklin, but he has more poise on the mound. He was just awesome out there.'

Most of the Grant players will stay together through the summer and try to win the American Legion state title. Their chances will be improved because their team will include players from Madison and Roosevelt on an all-star team of sorts. Metro area teams voted to only include players from one school more than a decade ago, but that's been rescinded so teams can compete better against downstate programs.

Franklin, Cleveland and Marshall also plan to combine efforts during the Legion season. This season's Legion World Series will be played in Bartlesville, Okla.

Oregon Legion teams are gearing up for next season's festivities, when the Northwest regional tournament will be played in Roseburg and the World Series will be played in Corvallis, the third time the Series will have been played in Oregon in 12 years.

Notes: Grant boys basketball coach Tony Broadous says LeBron James' recent $90 million contract with Nike barely registers with the players on his team. 'They don't even see him as being a high school player, so it's not something they are going to have access to,' Broadous says. The Generals' top player, Donnie Harrison-Davis, is being recruited by schools along the West Coast, including the University of Portland. É Wilson defensive lineman Joe Bozikovich appears headed for Oregon State, unless he winds up at Notre Dame or Michigan Ñ schools that rarely recruit Oregonians.

The PIL will not have a championship game in football next season because there won't be two divisions. Coaches voted to eliminate the divisions but retain nonleague games. Each team will still play seven league contests. É The PIL has four state playoff representatives next season. Defending champion Wilson is tentatively scheduled to play Grant, Jefferson and Lincoln, teams that are likely to be playoff-bound, in the final three weeks of the season. É Grant is scheduled to play another home football game at Grant Park in September. É Now that the Los Angeles Avengers have lost in the Arena Football League playoffs, Steve Pyne's coaching staff at Central Catholic can fully unite. Assistants Chris Butterfield (Los Angeles) and Barry Dillard (Chicago) play for Arena teams that reached the playoffs, but have been eliminated.

Contact Cliff Pfenning at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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