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Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Recognize Oregon

ESPNRISE.com

Baseball - West Linn


Over the last six years, the West Linn baseball team has played in 16 playoff games. While the recent stretch of postseason play has yet to yield a state title, it has produced a crop of battle-tested athletes who can compete with the state's heavyweights in the talented Three Rivers League. The Lions finished the 2008 season with 21 wins and their second consecutive league title  third in the last four years  but fell to Class 6A runner-up Tigard. This year's edition of the Lions will be unlike last season, as West Linn will be without three hitters who each slugged over .450 last year. "Our weakness will be hitting," head coach Mike Lord says. "We just have to focus on swinging the bat and put some guys in scoring position." Lord will look to seniors Ryan Barnes and Jake Hysell to alleviate the team's hitting woes. Barnes, an Oregon State-bound shortstop, clubbed six homers and drove in 31 runs while hitting .413 last spring. Hysell hit .381 and added 16 RBIs. While they may struggle at the plate, on the mound is where the Lions should thrive this season. Led by senior southpaw Eliot Smith, who was 4-1 with a 1.13 ERA last season, the Lions posted a staff ERA of 1.86 in '08. "Strong pitching seems to carry our team," Lord says. "We focus on limiting the free bases we give opponents."With a strong cast of returning starters, 2009 could be the year West Linn cashes in its playoff experience.



Softball - Glencoe


The Crimson Tide came up short in their bid for a state title last year, falling to Crater in the Class 5A finals for the second consecutive season. Glencoe went 25-6 to finish the regular season atop The Oregonian's Coaches Poll and captured its second straight NWOC League crown last spring. Pitcher of the Year Jordyn Brown graduated, but the Tide should remain in contention with the return of seniors Dacia Hale and catcher Meghan Dendinger and sophomore Alyssa Gillespie.



Boys' Lacrosse - Oregon Episcopal School


The Aardvarks have reached the title game the past six years and claimed a championship in 2004. Last year, Lincoln scored a late goal to send OES to defeat, 6-5, in the finals. Head coach Dennis Sullivan and his crew could find themselves right back in the finals this season as the team will have All-American senior Andrew Parker back in net. Senior Michael Gale and junior Peter Williams are both terrific scorers.



Girls' Tennis - Jesuit


Head coach Curt Berger has turned Jesuit into a perennial championship contender. This year, the Crusaders are on a quest for their fifth straight Class 6A championship and 12th in the last 16 years. Last spring, Jesuit tallied 23 points to defeat Tualatin, Lincoln and Lake Oswego. Senior Steffanie Mortera, junior Megan Moore and sophomore Sanji Rao are all talented players who return to the court for the Crusaders.



BREAKOUT TEAMS


BOYS' TRACK  BARLOW
Sophomore Ryan Crouser took home the shot put title to help Barlow win the Class 6A crown.

GIRLS' GOLF  VALLEY CATHOLIC
Lindsay Harmon finished third in Class 4A/3A/2A/1A as a freshman in 2008.

BOYS' GOLF  WEST ALBANY
The Bulldogs overcame a tough first round to win the Class 5A title last year.

GIRLS' TRACK  ASTORIA
Seniors Charlene Harber and Laura Bobek picked up individual titles for the Class 4A champs.