Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Vikings gears up for conference play


Forest Grove hosts a three-day baseball tourney over spring break and goes 2-1

The 2013 season has been a mercurial one thus far for Forest Grove. But if the Vikings can turn their promise into consistency, they might be just fine in conference play.

“We have a phenomenal group of guys. They practice hard. They come in and they work very hard,” Forest Grove coach Kevin Tucker said. “It’s just for whatever reason, during games we make mistakes at some critical times. But then again, in some other games, we come up with huge plays at critical moments too. So it’s kind of tough to know what you’re going to get from day to day as far as game play goes.”

That inconsistency was on display last week, when the Vikings went 2-1 in their own spring break baseball tournament and evened their season record at 4-4. They opened the round-robin tournament with a 9-3 win against Centennial before dropping a 7-1 decision to Class 5A St. Helens and then rebounding with a 13-0 victory against Class 3A Amity.

The Vikings are still dealing with the graduation of their top two pitchers from last year’s team, and they remain without the pitching services of Levi Egg, the team’s third starter in 2012. Egg has been unable to pitch so far this season because of tendinitis in his throwing elbow, Tucker said.

So the Vikings are “pitching by committee,” Tucker said. In fact, 11 players pitched at least one inning of a non-conference game this season. Tucker noted the pitching of Andrew Stanich, playing his first varsity season as a senior, and is enthused about sophomore Andrew Thorud, “who’s been a big surprise at the plate and on the mound.”

Thorud was scheduled to start in Forest Grove’s Pacific Conference opener at home against Hillsboro on Tuesday (after press deadline) and plays third base when he is not pitching. He led the team in non-conference play with a .435 batting average, followed by Stevan Izquierdo’s .368, while Kyle Townzen had a team-best eight RBIs.

Forest Grove is scheduled to wrap up its series with the Spartans today with a 5 p.m. game at Hare Field in Hillsboro before traveling to McMinnville on Friday.