little league -- Forest Grove rallies twice to get past Tigard in a District 4 Tournament semifinal showdown

PORTLAND - Forest Grove battled back.

It battled back again and again and, finally, it battled its way into the District 4 Tournament championship game.

Forest Grove, rebounding from deficits of 6-0 and 9-6, secured an 11-9 win over Tigard in a District 4 Majors (ages 11-12) Little League tournament semifinal game played Sunday at Alpenrose Dairy. With the win, Forest Grove advanced to the District 4 tournament title game, where the team faced Murrayhill on Monday.

Tigard took control early in Sunday's game, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning. Harrison Bruce led off the frame with a double to left-center field. He moved to third on a single by Ryan Stevens and then scored the game's first run on Nick Bland's single to left. Jeff Robinson followed with a single that plated Stevens, making it 2-0.

One out later, Scott Brennan drew a walk to load the bases. Sam Meyer then belted a grand slam home run over the fence in right-center field to give Tigard a quick 6-0 lead.

Forest Grove rallied right away, scoring six runs of its own in the top of the second to tie the game. Kyle Vanderkin had the big hit of the inning with a two-run home run to center field. Jake Jensen had a two-run double in the frame while Michael McClure and Joshua Cohrs each had RBI singles.

Tigard answered in its half of the second, scoring three times to regain the lead. Bruce led off the frame with a single to left and he ended up scoring on a fielder's choice off the bat of Bland to put Tigard on top 7-6. Robby Chabreck singled in Robinson later in the inning and Jesse Wantland scored on a wild pitch to give Tigard its 9-6 advantage.

Tigard held that lead until the top of the fourth, where the persistent Forest Grove squad battled back yet again.

Coin Ronek drove in Vanderkin with a single to right field and Jacob Bennett scored on Pedro Gonzalez's double to get Forest Grove within one, 9-8.

But Forest Grove didn't stop there.

David Makus doubled to the gap in left-center field, bringing in both Ronek and Gonzalez to give Forest Grove its first lead of the game at 10-9. McClure followed with an RBI single to push the lead to 11-9.

Tigard threatened in each of the final three innings but couldn't push a run across against Vanderkin, who picked up the win with 5 2/3 innings of relief. He gave up three runs while striking out five and walking one.

Forest Grove opened the tournament on Thursday by scoring a 9-6 win over Cedar Mill in a pool play game. On Friday, Forest Grove downed Raleigh Hills 11-8 in pool play.

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