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John Arntson guided the Cavaliers (29-3) to a Mt. Hood Conference title and their third OSAA Class 6A state title in 10 seasons

REVIEW/NEWS PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Clackamas coach John Arntson (middle) addresses his team after the Cavaliers clinched the OSAA Class 6A baseball state championship at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer.Clackamas coach John Arntson was named the OSAA Class 6A baseball Coach of the Year after leading the No. 2-ranked Cavaliers to a 29-3 record and their third state championship in 10 seasons.

Oregon City senior shortstop DeQuahn Dennis-Lee and Clackamas junior utility player Greg Mehlhaff landed spots on the all-state first team, while senior catcher Jordan Mambaje and senior pitcher K.C. Reilly of the Cavaliers were named to the second team.

Three other Clackamas players -- junior second baseman Bubba Jaha, senior pitcher Caden Hennessy, and senior outfielder Casey Peterson -- received all-state honorable mention in a season that saw the Cavaliers win the Mt. Hood Conference title outright and then roll to consecutive playoff wins over Southridge, Century, Westview, Sheldon and West Linn.

"It's hard to compare title teams," said Arnston, recognized as Coach of the Year three others times -- in 2008 and 2010 after guiding the Cavaliers to state titles, and again in 2013 when he was co-Coach of the Year with Sheldon's Stan Manley. "When it's over, you're always proud of your kids. I think this team was a little different than other championship teams in that it maybe was a little more of a balanced team.

"The other two title teams, we kind of had a dominant guy on the mound. This team, it was more of a dominant pitching staff, and, to be honest, the best thing about this team has been our defense. We played really, really good defense all year long, particularly in the playoffs."

In the championship final, Clackamas fell behind West Linn 1-0 in the first inning and then rallied with two runs in the fourth, and three more in the sixth, pulling away for a 5-1 victory at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer.

"I don't think getting down shook them at all," Arntson said. "They've been in that situation before and they knew that there was a lot of baseball game left. That's kind of the approach that we took."

Mehlhaff, who played third base and first base for Clackamas, batted .395 (34 for 86) with eight doubles, one triple, two homers, 27 RBIs, and 23 runs scored, hitting in the three spot. He had hits in 24 of the 31 games he played this season, including eight multiple-hit games. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles in a 2-1 win over Verrado at the Coach Bob Invitational in Arizona, and then again went 3-for-4 in an 11-3 rout of Reynolds.

"Greg was absolutely key to our success this year," Arntson said. "He came up with clutch hit after clutch hit for us all year.

"He is such a good baseball player. He works so hard at the game, expecially hit hitting. He is an extremely tough out and a very good fielder as well. He is very deserving of being a first-team, all-state baseball player."

Dennis-Lee, who hit in the leadoff spot for Oregon City, boasted a .427 batting average (38 for 89) with eight doubles, one triple, one homer, 19 RBIs and 23 runs scored. He also drew 21 walks for a .553 on-base percentage, and was 10 for 11 in steal attempts.

"We finished 15-14, but we don't have the season we had without DQ," Pioneers coach J.J. Winkle said. "The kid finished second in the league in RBIs as a leadoff hitter. You don't get that many opportunities as a leadoff hitter to drive in runs, but every time he came up with runners in scoring position, he got the job done.

"We faced a lot of adversity this year in different situations, and DQ handled it way different than he handled it in the past. It was like nothing bothered him this year. If he or anyone else made a mistake, he didn't let it affect his game."

Dennis-Lee, selected to play quarterback for the North team in the upcoming Les Schwab Bowl all-star football game, is planning to pursue baseball at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany next season.

"It's a good move for him," Winkle said. "He's a good, all-around athlete, but I think he has more upside in baseball.

"If he can go there and have a good season, you never know … he might end up palying Division I baseball before it's all said and done. He can play any position, and if he puts in the time, I think the sky is the limit for him."

Centennial senior outfielder Dawson Day was named the Class 6A Player of the Year, and Century's Kolby Somers was named the Pitcher of the Year.

OSAA CLASS 6A

ALL-STATE BASEBALL

FIRST TEAM

Pitchers

Baxter Halligan, Sr. Lincoln

Austin Carpenter, Sr. Gresham

Wyatt Smith, Sr. McMinnville

Kolby Somers, Sr. Century

Callan McCrae, Sr. Beaverton

Catchers

Justin Geyer, Sr. North Medford

Aaron Zavala, Jr. South Salem

First basemen

Isaiah Molaski, Sr. South Eugene

Jake Porter, Sr. West Linn

Infielders

Tim Tawa, Sr. West Linn

Willie Weiss, Jr. Westview

Brandon Leitgeb, Sr. Lincoln

DeQuahn Dennis-Lee, Sr. Oregon City

Mathew Ismay, Sr. McNary

Outfielders

Kevin Watson Jr., Sr. Beaverton

Jacob Melton, Jr. South Medford

Dawson Day, Sr. Centennial

Max Long, Jr. Sprague

Utility players

Greg Mehlhaff, Jr. Clackamas

Kenji Lamdin, Soph. Grant

Player of the Year: Dawson Day, Sr., Centennial

Pitcher of the Year: Kolby Somers, Sr. Century

Coach of the Year: John Arntson, Clackamas

SECOND TEAM

Pitchers

Jacob Miller, Sr. West Albany

Jonah Sherman, Sr. South Eugene

K.C. Reilly, Sr. Clackamas

Alex Giroux, Soph. Lake Oswego

Sawyer Medlin, Sr. Grant

Catchers

Nathan Springer, Jr. Glencoe

Jordan Mambaje, Sr. Clackamas

First basemen

Trace Hokkanen, Sr. Beaverton

Tanner Sorenson, Sr. Sprague

Infielders

Wyatt Christophersen, Sr. Beaverton

Sammy Willman, Jr. Grant

Justin Culpepper, Sr. Sprague

Matt Land, Sr. Sheldon

Vincent Zavolta, Sr. Grants Pass

Ben Brauckman, Jr. Westview

Outfielders

Brett Thomas, Sr. Tigard

Jack Fletcher, Jr. Grant

John Arndorfer, Sr. Jesuit

Sam Haney, Jr. Lake Oswego

Utility player

Harrison Grow, Sr. Sherwood

HONORABLE MENTION

Pitchers

Eli Morse, Sr. Cleveland

Zack Mandera, Soph. Roseburg

Caden Hennessy, Sr. Clackamas

Taylor Ott, Sr. Tigard

Mick Abel, Fr. Jesuit

Jon Forner, Sr. Lincoln

Ethan Whitney, Sr. South Medford

Lucas Denhert, Sr. Reynolds

Cody Vstal, Sr. Sprague

Catchers

Ezra Samperi, Jr. Gresham

Parker Kunz, Sr. Tigard

Even Cyrus, Sr. West Salem

First baseman

Nick Raska, Jr. North Salem

Infielders

Zach Diehl, Sr. Sheldon

Bubba Jaha, Jr. Clackamas

Tori Doten, Jr. South Salem

Jayce Lien, Jr. West Albany

Kyle Dernedde, Soph. Tualatin

Brendan Ritschard, Sr. Centennial

Outfielders

Tyler Rund, Jr. Grants Pass

Tyler Wood, Sr. Gresham

Casey Peterson, Sr. Clackamas

Chase Cosner, Sr. West Linn

Garrett Marioni, Jr. West Linn

Kasey Buchanen, Sr. North Medford

Gabe Skoro, Sr. Lincoln

Jacob Bunn, Sr. Beaverton

Utility player

Jacob Biesterfeld, Jr. Gresham

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