Oregon HS Scout Blog (3.29.22)

By: Shooter Hunt
Vice President of Scouting

LAKE OSWEGO, OR– It was a state championship atmosphere as the top two teams in PBR Oregon’s POWER 12 rankings, #1 Jesuit and #2 Lakeridge, met at the home of the Pacers in a matchup of two titans. Spectators packed the seats and lined the fences to catch an early season glimpse at some of the top players in the state, and two of the top pitching prospects in the country in Jesuit’s 2022 LHP Nelson Keljo and Lakeridge’s 2023 LHP Paul Wilson, both Oregon State recruits. However, though each pitcher (and subsequent pitcher) showcased elite arm strength and stuff, it was the bats of Jesuit’s left side of the infield that delivered a 2-0 victory for the Crusaders.

Setting the tone and silencing the home crowd early, 2023 IF Levi Jones, an Oregon State recruit, caught a 93 mph fastball from Wilson up in the zone, and squared it up with a heavy barrel. The ball left the bat in a hurry, sailing over a high left-center field fence giving the Crusaders the only run needed in the top of the first. Trotting the bases with exuberance, Jones stole the momentum of the day early, and really set the tone for the entire game which saw high energy throughout.

Jesuit got on the board again in the second inning when, after two quick strikeouts by Wilson, 2023 SS Ryan Cooney, an Oregon recruit, managed to get a barrel on another high fastball from Wilson, and watched high into the blue sky landing just beyond Lakeridge’s shallow center field fence. Cooney, a consummate winner who plays the game with crisp attention to detail on both sides of the ball, played a stellar game, taking consistently strong at-bats from the leadoff spot while captaining the defense from shortstop. Those solo home runs would be the only hits that Wilson gave up in the game. Up to 96 mph (on the pitch immediately following Jones’ home run), the 6-foot-4, 190-pound southpaw worked mostly 93-94 across five innings of work. A tighter albeit fair strikezone combined with a patient and mature Jesuit lineup helped drive the pitch count up early, and he finished with 83 (59% strikes) on the day, striking out nine and walking five. Outside of the Cooney home run in the second, Wilson really settled down after a long first, striking out six in the next three innings while working quick and efficiently. The pure stuff was down right electric at times, and the junior left-hander is likely already envisioning a rematch in the postseason. He was relieved by uncommitted 2023 RHP Erik Hoffberg who was lights out in two innings allowing no hits while striking out three and walking one. His 85-86 fastball and tight, low 70s curveball were sensational in a short stint. On the Jesuit side, Keljo’s poised demeanor and mound presence combined with an 88-91 fastball allowed him to dictate tempo and control the game for his 4.1 innings of work. Presumably on a pitch count, the left-hander threw just 64 on the day and did not allow a hit while striking out three and walking two (1 hbp). Any barrels that Lakeridge delivered seemed to be hit right at Jesuit defenders, and he mixed in just enough sliders (76-80) to disrupt timing. But the Jesuit victory did not come without a fight from the home team. Lakeridge put runners on in each inning except the third including bases loaded in the fifth and a pair of runners in the seventh. Though Jesuit reliever, uncommitted 2023 RHP Ty Alleman, did not have his usual pinpoint control (2.2 innings, 51% strikes, 2K-4BB), he made BIG pitches in big spots that helped secure the victory including sitting down the heart of the Lakeridge order in the final frame.

After two years without a state championship, and with the baseball fervent fans of Oregon craving the competitive juices that come when two strong squads are pitted against one another, this game certainly delivered. And it delivered in more ways than just the final outcome. It really served as a “welcome back” to the community of baseball, and promised even bigger moments to come the rest of the spring.


W: Nelson Keljo
L: Paul Wilson

HR: Levi Jones, Ryan Cooney
Hits: Jones, Cooney, Beau Spiekerman (Lakeridge), Tristen Seber (Lakeridge)

Make sure to follow @PBR_Oregon for extensive coverage of the OSAA season as the spring rolls on.