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Tigers get off to a smashing league start

Baseball: Tigard opens Pacific Conference play with a 6-2 victory over Forest Grove
by: DAN BROOD, BRINGING THE HEAT — Tigard senior pitcher Ryan Gorton struck out 11 in the Tigers' 6-2 win over Forest Grove.

TIGARD - Smacking a baseball hard off the windshield of the car that belongs to the wife of your head coach usually can't be a good thing.

That is, unless that car is parked some 400 feet away from home plate beyond the fence in right-center field.

Tigard High School senior Patrick Chabreck blasted a long, two-run home run, with the ball bouncing hard off the car of Carrie Campbell, wife of Tigard coach Tom Campbell, helping the Tigers score a 6-2 win over Forest Grove in a Pacific Conference opener played Tuesday at Tigard High School.

'I told coach he could stay at my house tonight if he was in trouble with his wife,' Chabreck said with a smile after the game.

With the victory, Tigard improved to 7-3 on the season and, more importantly, the Tigers got their league schedule off to a winning start.

'That's real important,' said Tigard senior Ryan Gorton, who recorded a complete-game pitching victory. 'We lost our last two games before this one and we weren't playing well. We needed to get some momentum going again. We didn't want to overlook our preseason games, but this is what it's all about.'

Tigard took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning of Tuesday's league-opener. Tiger senior Ty Morrison led off the inning with a double to left field. He moved to third base on a Forest Grove error on a pick off play and then scored the game's first run on a sacrifice fly to center field off the bat of senior Eric Chesnutis.

Forest Grove knotted up the game with a run in the top of the third inning. Mitch Andressen led off the inning with a single to center and he scored from third base when Viking junior Aaron Huson drew a two-out bases-loaded walk.

The Tigers answered back with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame. Sophomore Dylan Case walked to lead off the inning. Senior Isaiah Ferrer and Morrison followed with back-to-back bunt singles.

One out later, Gorton hit a sacrifice fly to right field, plating Case to give Tigard a 2-1 lead.

The Tigers tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs in the inning, Morrison singled to right and moved to second on a Viking error on the play. Morrison then stole third base and scored on a throwing error to up the margin to 3-1.

Later in the inning, senior David Walker, who reached base on a walk, scored on Gorton's single to left field, increasing the Tigard lead to 4-1.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, after senior Andrew Woolfe drew a leadoff walk, Chabreck blasted a first-pitch home run to make the score 6-1. It was his first home run of the season, but it wasn't exactly a surprise.

'I had hit home runs against Forest Grove in league openers two other years,' Chabreck said, referring to his freshman and junior seasons. 'I said to my buddies I was going to get another one - it's a tradition. And, after my first two at-bats, I felt that I owed it to the team to do something.'

Forest Grove scored a run in the top of the seventh inning to cut the lead to 6-2, and the Vikings loaded the bases with one out, but Gorton ended the game and secured the win with back-to-back strikeouts.

'We struggled a little bit, but it was nice to get this first one,' Campbell said.

Gorton, in a complete-game performance, gave up four hits while striking out 11 and walking six.

'It wasn't my best, but I threw enough strikes to get it done,' Gorton said. 'I'm glad they let me pitch the last inning. I was still feeling good.'

Tigard had seven hits in the victory. Morrison had three hits, senior Conor Clark, Ferrer, Gorton and Chabreck added one hit apiece.