Philomath’s JBO Senior American team poses with its first-place trophy at last weekend’s Clackamas/Nelson Mother’s Day Invitational. (Photo by Pepper Borton)

Philomath’s Junior Baseball Organization Senior American team won a major tournament last weekend in the Portland area. The local group of seventh and eighth graders defeated Banks, 6-4, Sunday to win the Clackamas/Nelson Mother’s Day Invitational.

Philomath opened the tournament Saturday with a 16-2 rout over Nelson — a Clackamas team whose high school plays in 6A. The team followed up with another lopsided result, defeating Tigard, 11-1 (in 95-degree heat).

“We were just crushing the ball,” Coach Mark Woosley said. “That ended up giving us a No. 1 seed for the next day.”

On Sunday, Philomath opened with a 10-0 win over Tualatin to reach the tournament semifinals. There, Philomath defeated Grant, 12-9, to earn a shot at the title against Banks, which had been blowing out opponents.

Philomath staged a late-inning rally to earn the win. The team trailed 4-3 going into the bottom of the sixth and put up three runs to take the lead. In the top of the seventh, Banks loaded the bases with no outs but Philomath escaped the jam.

“The boys played well — we threw nine different pitchers … and we had some pitchers that had to pitch in pressure situations,” Woosley said.

The team roster includes eighth graders AJ Altishin, Gavin Bennett, Nathan Bennett, Lane Bettencourt, Colvin Henley, Jacob Hernandez, Chase Leslie, Camaron Kvidt, Matthew Noble, Austin Varnado and Rustan Woosley; and seventh graders Samuel Hernandez and Jayce Iverson.

Coaching with Woosley are Terry Stephenson, Andy Altishin, Dave Iverson, Brad Bennett and Sal Hernandez.

The JBO American team opened its regular season earlier this week.

PHS baseball seniors, from left, Silas Barton, Chad Russell, Braydon Shenk, Ty May and David Griffith. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Warriors to play at Astoria

The Philomath High School baseball team will try to play its way into the state playoffs Friday afternoon with a play-in game at Astoria. The first pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the high school’s Tapiola Park.

The Fishermen finished second behind No. 1 Scappoose in the Cowapa League. Astoria was one of three teams that ended up 5-7 in league games and went 9-13 overall for a No. 16 OSAA ranking. Philomath (11-13 overall, No. 17 ranking) enters the contest following a rough late-season stretch but is coming off an encouraging 8-7 win over a good Stayton team last weekend to break a five-game losing streak.

“If we just play to our capabilities with what we can do, we’ve got a great shot against anybody,” PHS coach Levi Webber said after Saturday’s win and before learning the team’s play-in opponent. “I mean, we beat Stayton once and we lost to them in a one-run game at their place; we played North Marion real close that first game and the second game got away from us a little bit; and we played Newport tough all year long.

“So I mean against good competition, we tend to show up and play pretty well as long as we do the things that we should do — make the routine plays and get all of the outs that we’re supposed to get and throw strikes,” he added. “If we do those things, I feel pretty good about anybody we go up against.”

The two schools had only one common opponent during the regular season — La Grande. Ranked No. 5 out of the Greater Oregon League, the Tigers beat Astoria on April 7 at home, 11-5. A month later on May 6, La Grande went on the road and defeated Philomath, 6-2.

The Philomath-Astoria winner will advance to the Class 4A playoffs.

Oregon West champion North Marion earned the No. 4 seed in the state playoffs. Stayton and Newport are hosting play-in games against Phoenix and Marshfield, respectively. Joining Philomath for a road game in the play-in round will be Cascade (vs. Hidden Valley).

Bailey Bell, left, and Adele Beckstead both qualified for the girls state tennis tournament for singles. The doubles team of Phoebe Dodson and Daniella Carlisle also made it. (File photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

Girls state tennis preview

Fresh off the singles title at the district meet, Philomath junior Bailey Bell will try to keep the momentum going in this week’s 4A/3A/2A/1A State Championships in Corvallis. The action gets started bright and early Friday at 8 a.m. at Oregon State University’s tennis complex.

Sophomore Adele Beckstead also qualified in singles and senior Phoebe Dodson and junior Daniella Carlisle will appear as well in doubles.

Bell enters state as the No. 3 seed and will try to move past the first round with a win over Valley Catholic freshman Sami Shivakumar. Those two players did not face off during the regular season. If Bell can get the win, she would play the winner of Sisters junior Brooke Harper and Oregon Episcopal freshman Ella Li.

If the seedings hold true, Bell could be on a collision course with top-seeded Raegan Farm, an unbeaten freshman from North Bend.

Beckstead has a tough draw in the first round with a matchup against No. 2-seeded Patricia Dougherty, a junior from Klamath Union. Last month in a double dual at Junction City, Dougherty defeated Bell at No. 1 singles, 6-2, 6-1. Dougherty was also the player that beat Bell in the 4A Showcase finals in 2021 by a 6-0, 6-1 count.

Dodson and Carlisle settled for fourth place at districts and will enter state unseeded. In the first round, the pair will play the No. 3 seed — senior Lily Wand and freshman Amanda Perez of Catlin Gabel. Philomath and Catlin Gabel, the defending state champions, played back in mid-March up in Portland and Dodson and Carlisle lost in straight sets that day to Wand and Elsa McDermott. Perez played No. 1 singles against the Warriors and lost to Bell, 6-0, 6-0.

Oregon Episcopal’s Sophia Dube and Marin Roseman enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed.

Sophomore Janice Hellesto sprints to victory in the 100-meter dash at last week’s Wally Ciochetti Invitational at Cottage Grove. (Photo by Eddy Pausch)

Track and field regionals

Philomath High’s boys and girls track and field teams will be favored to repeat as champions at the Oregon West Conference Championships Friday and Saturday at Sweet Home.

The top two finishers in each event will qualify for the state meet, which is scheduled for May 26-27 at Hayward Field in Eugene. In addition, third-place wildcard berths will be awarded to the best times and marks from the six conference championship meets combined.

The meet’s first day begins at 3 p.m. with field events and 4 p.m. with running events. Among the running events, all will be prelims except the 3,000. The second day gets started at noon for the field events and 1 p.m. for the running events.

For the girls, athletes heading into the conference meet with the best times or marks this season include sophomore Janice Hellesto in the 100, 200 and long jump, sophomore Natalie Dunn in the 400, senior Ingrid Hellesto in the 100 hurdles, the 4-by-100 relay, the 4-by-400 relay, junior Ahnika Tryon in the javelin, sophomore Anneka Steen in the high jump and triple jump, and junior Madison Schaffer and junior Madison Juhl in the pole vault (sophomore Hanna McDaniel also tied for the top height cleared in the pole vault, which she did earlier this week at a JV meet, but is not entered in that event at the OWC meet).

On the boys’ side, those with top league times and marks include sophomore Warwick Bushnell in the 200 and 400, junior Simon King in the 800, senior Ben Hernandez in the 1,500, senior Mateo Candanoza in the 3,000, senior Micah Matthews in the 110 hurdles, high jump and pole vault, the 4-by-100 relay, the 4-by-400 relay and freshman CD Nuno in the long jump.

Oregon West JV results

Philomath swept the team titles at the Oregon West Conference junior varsity meet on Monday. The Warrior boys won with 46 points to Cascade’s 30. The PHS girls had 76 points with Cascade second at 33.

Winners from Philomath High in the boys events included freshman Cameron McLennan in the 400 (58.63), freshman Blake Hauck in the 800 (2:32.94) and pole vault (9-0), senior Kellen Houchin in the 1,500 (4:48.98), junior Caleb Garcia in the long jump (16-8), freshman Luke Arthurs in the triple jump (33-4-5) and the 4-by-400 relay with Hauck, freshman Tiernan Bovbjerg, McLennan and Houchin (4:02.87). 

For the girls, PHS winners included freshman Maggie King in the 400 (1:10.63), sophomore Hallie Morrison in the 800 (2:54.40), sophomore Hanna McDaniel in the 1,500 (5:39.40) and pole vault (8-0), freshman Delaney Thomas in the 100 hurdles (20.59) and 300 hurdles (1:02.37), freshman Abby Phelps in the long jump (12-11.5), sophomore Brooke McDaniel in the triple jump (29-8.5), the 4-by-100 relay of sophomore Kynlee Albin, sophomore Carlota Pastor Infantes, junior Isabelle Dory and sophomore Baylee Stewart (58.24) and the 4-by-400 relay of Maggie King, freshman Lucy King, Brooke McDaniel and Hanna McDaniel (4:39.67).

Philomath High’s softball seniors, from left, Elizabeth Morales-Marquez, Mia Bennett, Kori Galvan, Grace Bennett, McKenzie Hauck and Adrianna Hunter. (Photo provided by Marla Bennett)

Softball concludes season

Philomath High’s softball season wrapped up last week with losses to Stayton, Newport and Sweet Home. The Warriors’ records end up at 4-11 in the Oregon West, 5-19 overall.

The team recognized six seniors at its final home game on May 10 against Newport. Those suiting up for the final team included Mia Bennett, Grace Bennett, Kori Galvan, McKenzie Hauck, Adrianna Hunter and Elizabeth Morales-Marquez.

Stayton automatically qualified for the 4A playoffs as the Oregon West champion. Three other league teams will participate this week in play-in games — Cascade at home vs. Cottage Grove, Newport at Marist Catholic and Sweet Home at Hidden Valley.

(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at

Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

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