So much for the theory that Central Oregon’s long winters and almost nonexistent springs stunt the development of the area’s high school baseball players.
Redmond, Bend and Sisters all are one win away from state championship games in their respective classifications, as all three programs play semifinal contests Tuesday.
That will be five state semifinal appearances for local teams in the past two years — Bend and Summit were Class 5A semifinalists last season, and the Storm, who lost to Wilson 7-6 in the 2012 championship final, came within one bad inning of winning Central Oregon’s first state baseball title since the Lava Bears won the 1987 AAA crown.
Here is a quick breakdown of Tuesday’s games, all of which are on the road for the local teams:
Class 5A semifinal round
No. 2 seed Bend (19-8 overall) at No. 5 seed Wilsonville (17-12), 4:30 p.m.
The Wildcats finished the regular season a mediocre 14-12 before catching fire in the postseason. The third-place team from the Northwest Oregon Conference, Wilsonville upset Marist on the road 5-1 in the play-in round before topping Dallas 5-2 in the first round of the state playoffs and then beating Madison 8-5 in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats were state semifinalists in 2011 and 2005.
The Lava Bears, who took second in the Intermountain Conference behind Redmond, are back in the semis for the second year in a row under second-year coach Bret Bailey. ... All-IMC first-team pitcher Duke DeGaetano will likely take the mound for Bend. The senior hurler was 4-1 with a 1.86 earned-run average and 34 strikeouts in 30 innings for the Bears during league play this spring. Clayton Gelfand, who earned the win in Wilsonville’s first-round game, is available for the Wildcats. Gelfand missed much of his senior year due to arm troubles but is healthy now. Earlier this spring he struck out 17 in a 2-0 win over Milwaukie.
No. 2 seed Redmond (21-6 overall) at No. 4 seed Sherwood (23-6), 4:30 p.m.
Winners of the Northwest Oregon Conference, the Bowmen have allowed just 88 runs in 29 games this year, the lowest runs-against mark in Class 5A. Sherwood, the 2011 state champion, lost to Summit 11-1 in last year’s state semifinal round. ... The Intermountain Conference-champion Panthers are looking for their first state final appearance in school history. Redmond enters Tuesday’s semifinal round on a nine-game winning streak. Senior J.D. Abbas, the IMC’s pitcher and player of the year, is expected to get the start on the mound. Abbas went 4-0 with a 1.12 earned-run average in IMC play, fanning 32 batters over 32 innings. The Panthers could face Sherwood junior Riley Moore, who led the Bowmen to a 2-1 first-round victory over Crescent Valley last Wednesday. Moore is 9-0 this year with a 1.42 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 59 innings with only 10 walks.
Class 4A semifinal round
No. 2 seed Sisters (26-2 overall) at No. 1 seed Henley (23-5), 4:30 p.m.
The Hornets handed the Outlaws one of their two losses on the season, topping the Sky-Em League champions 14-2 in Sisters back on March 19. ... Henley has survived a pair of close state playoff games to reach the semifinal round for the second consecutive year. The Hornets, who won the Skyline Conference with a 12-3 record, defeated South Umpqua 9-6 in the first round before holding off league-rival Hidden Valley 8-7 on Friday in the quarterfinals. ... Sisters, which last made the semifinals in 2008, is aiming for its first title appearance since falling to The Dalles 17-6 in the final of the old Class 3A in 2002. No one in the state has been as hot as the Outlaws lately. Sisters has won a school-record 24 consecutive games. The Outlaws knocked off 2012 champion Ontario 2-0 on Friday in the quarterfinal round. ... The winner of the Sisters-Henley semifinal will face either Klamath Union or Newport, who play in the other semifinal, also on Tuesday.