SOFTBALL: Forest Grove girls drop a tough 5-3 Pacific Conference game at home against Newberg
A day after playing their first errorless game of the season, the Forest Grove Lady Vikings turned in a sloppy effort against Newberg and were saddled with a 5-3 loss as a result.
Forest Grove (7-5, 2-1) committed three errors and dug itself a 5-0 deficit before mounting a last-ditch rally in the bottom of the seventh. Faith Evenson smacked an RBI single that scored Lindsay Rennie from third, and Leah Van Domelen ripped a two-run single to make it 5-3 after Krystal Huffman's double put runners on second and third with two outs. The rally would end there, however, with a line out to third base.
'We just came out and made too many mistakes,' said Forest Grove head coach Ole Evenson. 'In the Tigard game we didn't make any errors, then against Newberg we make three.'
Emily Kaufmann got the start on the mound after a strong relief outing against Tigard on Thursday, but the junior lasted just 1/3 of an inning before giving way to sophomore Emma Gronseth.
Already trailing 2-0, Gronseth worked her way out of the jam in the top of the first but would run into trouble again in the sixth. A Forest Grove error and two bloop singles opened the door for three more runs and suddenly the Lady Viks were staring down the barrel of a 5-0 deficit.
'We hit the ball well, but (Newberg) made some great plays to keep us from making things happen,' Evenson said.
Earlier in the week, Forest Grove survived a deluge on Wednesday and an upset bid from Tigard in the make-up game on Thursday. Wednesday's game was washed out after just half an inning, and the weather did not look cooperative on Thursday, either. Luckily, the storm clouds broke and the teams were able to squeeze in seven innings of exciting softball.
Gronseth pitched six innings of shutout ball before a Tigard comeback in the top of the seventh tied the game at 2-2. Kaufmann came on in relief and stranded a runner at third by inducing two straight groundouts.
With new life, Forest Grove mounted the winning rally in the bottom of the seventh. Rennie led off with a single and Huffman - in as a pinch runner - stole her way over to third base. With two outs and a 2-2 count, sophomore Claire Van Domelen laid down a picture perfect squeeze bunt and Huffman slid into home plate with the winning run.
'(Tigard's) coaches had the corners back,' Evenson said. 'Claire is a good bunter and she's fast. My feeling was, if she could lay down a good bunt it would be hard to get her at first. So I called for the squeeze.'
Forest Grove had taken a 2-0 lead on an RBI double by Gronseth in the first and a Tigard throwing error in the fourth. Gronseth was cruising on the mound with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings of work, but a walk and two doubles in the top of the seventh allowed Tigard to tie things up.
'It was a fun game,' Evenson said. 'It was our first errorless game of the year, so it showed what we're capable of doing. You've got to make your own breaks. Everyone in this league is beatable, including us.'