Forest Grove softball takes third place and waits to learn its playoff opponent

The Forest Grove softball team locked up a Class 6A state playoff berth with a 6-0 win over Newberg on May 1, so there wasn’t much suspense last week for the Lady Vikings’ final two Pacific Conference games.

The only real question was whether the Vikings would finish third or fourth in the final league standings, and they staked their claim to the higher position with emphatic wins over Hillsboro and Century.

Forest Grove pounded Hilhi 11-1 last Tuesday, then wrapped up the conference schedule with a 12-0 mercy-rule victory over Century on Thursday. That put the Lady Vikings all alone in third place with a 10-4 league record (18-6 overall), with all four of those losses coming against first-place Glencoe and second-place Tualatin.

With a postseason spot secured, Forest Grove will turn its attention to a pair of tune-up games this week — at home against Westview on Tuesday (results were not available at press time) and on the road today against Oregon City.

“If we had our last game on Thursday, we’d have 10 days between games,” explained Forest Grove coach Trevor Tusow. “Practice at this point in the season can get kind of stale. You sort of hit a wall with how much you can accomplish in practice, so it will be nice to play some other opponents.”

With the top 22 teams in the state already qualified for the playoffs, the next 20 teams will compete in play-in games this week to fill out the OSAA’s 32-team state playoff bracket. Forest Grove is scheduled to host a first-round game next Monday, with the opponent yet to be determined.

“We’ve talked about it all year, just trying not to look too far ahead,” Tusow said. “We just focus on what’s in front of us — go out and play seven solid innings of softball. These girls love to play the game, and they’re just excited to keep playing.”

Elsewhere, Banks wrapped up an undefeated league season last week with mercy-rule victories over Tillamook and Seaside, securing the Lady Braves’ fifth consecutive Cowapa League championship.

Banks (24-2, 15-0) hosted Dayton on Tuesday for a tune-up game, with the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs scheduled to begin next Wednesday.

Gaston, meanwhile, locked up its third straight Northwest League title, sweeping three games from Neah-Kah-Nie last week to cap a 14-1 record in league play (21-5 overall).

The Lady Greyhounds will open the Class 2A state playoffs next Wednesday.

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