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In this Inner Southeast two-game baseball rivalry this year, each high school won one game

BLAKE BENARD - The short baseball series between Franklin and Cleveland High Schools concluded each day with a show of sportsmanship and respect by both teams. This is the handshake line at Buckman Field following Cleveland's 10-1 loss to Franklin on April 26th. Portland has not seemed much of a baseball city lately, although the summertime games of the Portland Pickles at Lents Park draw a crowd. But the pastime remains strong at the college and school level in Oregon, and in Inner Southeast.

Here, Franklin and Cleveland High Schools compete in baseball, and they play each other each season. This year, stellar starting pitching and chippy play highlighted the regular season varsity baseball series between the rival schools. They split their two contests.

Behind a complete game from junior Dylan Stone, Franklin's Lightning (no longer the Quakers) routed Cleveland's Warriors in game one, winning 10-1. Franklin emphasized the final with a four-run sixth, highlighted by senior Michael Bernal's bases-clearing triple. Offense was hard to come by for the Warriors against Stone. They racked up only one hit between the first and seventh innings, and struggled to amass any solid scoring against him.

"We've been on the upswing quite a bit, for the last six years that I've been here," said Cleveland head coach Steve Geiszler. "It's tough for us when we get handled like that. To Franklin's credit, they deserve the win."

Cleveland recovered the next day in the series finale, shutting out Franklin 5-0 thanks to sophomore Lucas Geren's ten-strikeout complete game on the mound. Run-scoring base hits from seniors Alex Nisbet and Luke Venneri led the way on the offensive side.

"It's a rivalry game. They know each other, and grew up playing against each other," said Franklin head coach Andy Berger. "They don't like losing to each other. That's just a part of Southeast."

The dominant victory sparked Cleveland (10-13, 7-7) into the final leg of their season. They finished the 2022 campaign winning six of their last nine games, averaging 9.5 runs per game in the process. Senior Alex Nisbet led the majority of the team's offensive categories all season. Lucas Geren's sophomore campaign on the mound was a memorable one with a 2.64 earned run average and 70 strikeouts over 47.2 innings thrown. Behind these two, Cleveland finished fourth overall in the Portland Interscholastic. They just missed out on the playoffs.

Franklin (7-16, 5-8) is also on the outside of the playoff picture, after struggling in league play. Inconsistent pitching allowed an average of nearly seven runs a game. The team placed fifth overall in the PIL.


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