Forest Grove softball is well represented on the Pacific Conference all-star team

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Forest Grove junior infielder Leena Silvis fields a ground ball during a game earlier this year against McMinnville. Silvis 
was recently selected to the Pacific Conference all-star team.At the end of a yet another solid season, the Forest Grove softball team has landed seven players on this year’s Pacific Conference all-star team.

Shortstop Sarah Hess led the Vikings as a unanimous first team selection at shortstop. Infielders Emily Peters and Leena Silvis and outfielders Kendra Bailey and Maddie Haugen were second team picks, while Siera Martinez and Shelby Turner were both honorable mention selections.

Voting for the all-league teams was based on statistics for Pacific Conference games, rather than the full season.

“We had a pretty good showing,” Forest Grove coach Trevor Tusow said. “They all are appreciative of the recognition.”

Hess was a rock for the Viks in the middle infield. She hit an outstanding .468 in league play and .402 overall, both team-best averages. Her 33 hits and 22 runs scored also paced the team. In 14 conference games, the junior recorded 20 hits, including six doubles, as well as 13 RBIs and nine runs scored. On defense, she recorded 22 putouts and 30 assists, posting a .963 fielding percentage.

“We get to see her play every day in practice,” Tusow noted. “For us it wasn’t any surprise that she was a first team athlete. Had she ended up anywhere other than first team, there would have been something wrong. She’s a very complete player.”

Functioning like a leadoff hitter from the No. 9 spot, Peters often played second base when she was not pitching. The junior batted .371 in conference play to go along with 13 hits, 10 runs and three RBIs. She put up 25 assists and a .971 fielding percentage on defense.

“She’s not a kid that generates a ton of power because she’s so small, but she hit going the other way and dropped bunts down — a versatile hitter,” Tusow said.

Yet another member of the team’s standout and well-rounded junior class, Silvis split time at third base and catcher. She recorded a .356 batting average, as well as 16 hits, nine RBIs, six runs, nine putouts and a .982 fielding percentage.

“She’s kind of a big piece on defense,” Tusow noted. “She covers a lot of ground and is really good at getting rid of the ball quickly and making accurate throws.”

Haugen played pretty much all over the field, including in the pitcher’s circle and at third base, but she earned her honors as an outfielder. A .390 hitter in the leadoff spot, she put up 16 hits, nine runs and six RBIs on offense to go along with a .900 fielding percentage on defense.

She also played a key role in the team’s signature victory this season, earning the win in the circle and batting 4-for-5 in a 12-7 comeback victory at No. 3 Tualatin.

“She was an absolute stud for us this year as a freshman,” Tusow said.

After patiently waiting behind an all-senior outfield last year, Bailey made the most this spring of her increased playing time, batting .341 and recording 14 hits, 14 RBIs and nine runs. She notched 19 putouts and two assists from center field to accompany a .963 fielding percentage.

Bailey also, Tusow noted, took a young and inexperienced outfield under her wing.

“We asked Kendra not only to play center field and cover a ton of ground but really help (the team’s) freshmen come along,” Tusow said. “She did a great job of it, and the freshmen did a great job of taking her lead.”

As for Turner, who split time with Peters at second base and in the circle, her numbers were not quite what they were during her junior season, Tusow said, though that had a lot to do with her reputation preceding her.

“They knew what kind of a threat she was hitting,” Tusow said about the Vikings’ opponents. “They really tried to pitch around her and tried not to give her too much that she could do damage with or hurt them with.”

Even still, in league play Turner hit at a .348 clip and put up 16 hits, 11 runs, seven RBIs, 21 assists and a .879 fielding percentage. The senior was a first team all-league and honorable mention all-state pick in the infield a season ago. She will continue her softball career at Pacific University.

First baseman Martinez, a sophomore, earned her first league honor. Though she hit just .250 in league play, she posted 13 RBIs as well as 10 hits, four runs, 107 putouts and a .982 fielding percentage. Her 22 RBIs for the season were tops on the squad.

“Probably more than anybody, she hit the really hard-hit balls that happened to be hit right at people, and so her batting average probably didn’t reflect how well she hit this year, but I think those RBIs do,” Tusow said.

Forest Grove finished at 14-13 overall and 8-6 in league play for third place. The No. 14 Vikings were an out away from advancing past the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs for the third consecutive year before falling 6-5 to Roseburg on May 26. Turner and Jessica Doyle were the squad’s only seniors.

As for overall honors, Glencoe shortstop Courtney Clayton repeated as league player of the year. Emily Sorem of league champion Tualatin was voted pitcher of the year. The Timberwolves’ Jenna Wilson and Newberg’s Steve Richards shared coach of the year honors.

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