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Lady Vikings miss out on state playoffs

Westview tops Forest Grove 5-4 on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh

For the first time in 20 years, Forest Grove will stay home for the OSAA state softball playoffs.

The Lady Vikings' roller-coaster season ended last Tuesday with a 5-4 loss to Westview in the play-in round of the Class 6A state playoffs, snapping a streak of 19 straight postseason appearances for Forest Grove.

'It was an exciting game, we just made too many mistakes. It kind of epitomized our entire season,' Forest Grove coach Ole Evenson said. 'We could just never be consistent. We'd go from great to mediocre and there was nothing in between.'

That was the case last Tuesday, as the Lady Viks led 3-0 through four innings and 4-3 going into the bottom of the seventh, only to watch as Westview (10-17) snatched away the victory with a two-run rally.

Alexis Richey singled home a run for Forest Grove (13-13) in the third inning and Allison Thorud added a two-run double to make it 3-0, but the Wildcats tied things up in the bottom of the sixth.

Natalie Sydenstricker put the Lady Viks back on top with a solo home run to center field in the top of the seventh before Westview rallied one more time in the bottom of the frame.

'The good thing is that everybody's back,' Evenson said. 'We lost two seniors and they did a great job for us, but we return all nine starters next year.'

The Lady Vikings showed flashes of brilliance this season, like the sparkling 3-6-4 double play turned by Sidenstricker, Taylor Schmitt and Taylor Lira that helped bail the team out in the bottom of the sixth.

'That was one of the most beautiful plays I've ever seen in my life,' Evenson said. 'We've got so much talent, it's just a question of how to get them to have that killer instinct.'