Baseball: Tigard smacks around Forest Grove 22-5 in the rain-soaked contest
TIGARD - It took more than four hours, a pair of lengthy rain delays and a combined 11 pitchers to get it done, still Tigard seemed to enjoy nearly every minute of its Pacific Conference baseball opener against Forest Grove.
Despite the rain and chill, the Tigers' bats were hot as Tigard scored in all but one inning and shot out to a 13-3 lead through two en route to Monday's 22-5 victory over the Vikings at Tigard High School.
'That win felt really good,' Tiger outfielder Jim Blood said. 'It was a long game, but we really stayed in the game and didn't lose our focus or enthusiasm.'
Rain forced a 40-minute delay in the bottom of the first inning then another 30-minute break in the second. But while Tigard seemed undaunted by the adverse conditions, the Vikings struggled. Six Forest Grove pitchers combined to issue 10 walks and also hit three batters, while the Vikings had their fair share of blunders in the field as well with seven errors.
And the trying times started early for Forest Grove with the Tigers scoring five times in the first inning and tacking on eight more in the second, sending 24 batters to the plate in the first two frames.
The hot start was an extension of a strong preseason in which Tigard went 10-1 and won eight straight heading into Monday's league opener.
'This is probably the greatest group of guys I've ever played with,' Tigers' third baseman Pat Chabreck said. 'We had a great preseason. We're looking for the league title. That's a big goal of ours.'
Chabreck did his part in game one of Tigard's quest, going 2-for-4 with 5 RBI and 2 runs. The junior jacked a 3-run homer onto the roof of the athletic building beyond the short porch in right field to give the Tiger's an 18-5 lead in the fourth.
It was his second career home run onto the roof and couldn't have come against a better team.
'I've got a history with this team,' Chabreck said. 'In sixth grade their center fielder hit three home runs off me in one game.'
Chabreck returned the favor Monday and his team did ten-fold, pounding out a hit in each inning and 11 for the game including two each from shortstop Isaiah Ferrer, first baseman Andrew Woolfe, Chabreck and Blood.
'We were crushing the ball when they came in there,' Blood said. 'We've been hitting real well.'
It started in the first when six straight Tigers reached base to open the onslaught. Ryan Gorton, who had 3 RBIs and scored twice, walked and Ferrer was hit by a pitch before Woolfe singled to plate Gorton and tie the game 1-1. Josh Harbolt's walk loaded the bases before heavy rain forced the first delay.
But it did nothing to slow Tigard. When play resumed, Miles Kreisberg walked to score Ferrer and Chabreck singled into right to knock in Woolfe and Harbolt for a 5-1 lead.
Six straight Tigers got on again in the second with Ferrer and Woolfe singling and Harbolt walking before each later scored on separate wild pitches amidst the second rain delay. An error and two walks loaded the bases before Blood beat out an infield single to score Spencer Hanson.
Gorton followed by grounding a two-run double down the left field line for an 11-3 lead. Tigard scored two more times in the second then twice in the third keyed by Blood's triple to go up 15-3.
Forest Grove got two back in the fourth before Chabreck's blast in the bottom of the inning and a two-run single by KC Wiser in the sixth completed the Tigers' offensive explosion.
Five Tigard pitchers combined to limit the Vikings to six hits. The Tigers also turned a pair of double plays, including one to end the game, which started at 5 p.m. and finished at 9:05 p.m.