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Vikings battle tough schedule

BASEBALL: Forest Grove drops its first two non-conference games of the season against Westview and Aloha

Forest Grove is battling through some early-season growing pains.

The Vikings (0-2), whose pitching staff was a big question mark heading into the season, have been torched twice in a row in the first inning of games, losing 6-3 to Westview last Thursday and 12-1 to Aloha on Friday.

Forest Grove pitching surrendered six runs in the top of the first against Westview and five in the bottom of the first against Aloha.

'We really didn't play that bad (against Westview),' said head coach Joe Baumgartner. 'We gave up six runs in the top of the first and that was basically the game. It was the same thing against Aloha. We got down five runs in the first inning. It's tough to dig out of a hole like that.'

Forest Grove fought back against Westview, getting a two-run single from senior Brett Baumgartner in the second and a sacrifice fly from Addison Hummel in the fifth, but that would be as close as the Viks would get.

'Our first time out of the chute to give up six runs right off the bat, that's a tough way to start the season,' Baumgartner said. 'It was Westview's third game of the season, so I think they definitely had an advantage because of that.'

Friday's game was not any better, with Aloha scoring five runs in the first before the Vikings even recorded an out. Forest Grove's only run came in the fourth an an RBI single by Hummel, who went 1 for 2 on the day. Junior slugger Kyle Swaja accounted for the Vikings' only other hits, going 2 for 2.

'Right now we're playing teams that are very, very competitive,' Baumgartner said. 'We're in the middle of a pretty rough stretch of schedule.'