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Vikings bounced from softball playoffs

Roosevelt powers its way to a 7-2 victory over Forest Grove in the first round of the playoffs


PORTLAND — Early Monday evening, the Roosevelt softball squad posed for a team photo along the third base line of Jubitz Field at Delta Park.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KENT FRASURE
 - Forest Grove's Vanessa Gonzalez crawls over Roosevelt catcher Megan Verbout to touch home plate during the second inning of Monday's Class 6A softball state playoff game.

Along the first base line, meanwhile, members of the Forest Grove softball team hugged one another and wiped away tears.

Such is the contrast of reactions during the postseason. For the Roughriders, this game was a history-maker. For the Vikings, it was the end of the line.

Making just its third state playoff appearance ever, 14th-seeded Roosevelt rode a first-inning grand slam and a fifth-inning, two-run inside-the-park home run to a 7-2 victory in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Forest Grove finished the season at 16-12 while the Roughriders (23-5) picked up their first state playoff win in program history.

“You take those two plays out of there, it’s a different ballgame, but those plays are part of the game,” Viking coach Trevor Tusow said. “Unfortunately they made the plays and we didn’t. That’s just a tough one to end on.”

In that tone-setting first inning, Roosevelt, the Portland Interscholastic League champion, loaded the bases with three walks, and then Jenesis Spires sent a Vanessa Gonzalez pitch over the fence in center field for a 4-0 lead.

Tusow opted to put senior Emily Peters in the circle after that, and she helped hold the Roughriders scoreless for more than three innings while the Vikings tried to stage a rally.

“It was rough, but we got back up and we didn’t let them knock us down, and we kept trying as hard as we could,” senior center fielder Kendra Bailey said.

The 19th-seeded visitors pulled a run back in the second after Gonzalez drew a walk and Kinsey Barnett took a ball from Grace Ferres to the shin to reach base.

After an Emma Calouri popup to catcher Megan Verbout, Barnett stole second, drawing both the attention of the Roughrider defense and the ball. That allowed Gonzalez to break for home, and she scored when the throw home missed its mark.

Forest Grove pulled within two in the fourth when Delaney Aleshire plated Gonzalez with a single up the middle, but the Vikings would get no closer as Roosevelt scored three runs in the fifth.

The final two came after Ferres doubled to left-center. She was replaced by courtesy runner Heather Cooley, who scored on the next at-bat when Nikki Deo knocked the ball to right field. Aleshire tried to make a diving grab, but it careened off her glove and into the fence along the right field line.

By the time the Vikings could dig the ball out, both Cooley and Deo had scored to pad the lead, and Ferres retired all three batters she faced in the top of the seventh.

Still, Forest Grove offered some highlights, including a reaction catch from Peters on a comebacker in the fifth, second baseman Sierra Gunderson’s snag of a line drive in the sixth, and a Leena Silvis-based double play in the fourth. The senior first caught a popped-up ball from Amaya Porter at third base and then fired to first to get out Anna Mills, who had neglected to tag up on the play.

“I think we left it all out there,” senior shortstop Sarah Hess said. “Some people did what they’ve never done before. They left it out there. I think we did good offensively, too. I think they’re just a better team.”

For Hess, Silvis, Peters and Bailey, the game was the final one of their high school careers.

“They’re really good softball players, but they’re better people,” Tusow said “Five, 10 years from now, you don’t remember all the scores and wins and losses, but you do remember the people.

“They’re a pretty special group of kids that have left an impact more than just softball on our program, but kind of how you play the game and how you carry yourself and the pride it is to be a Viking softball player.”

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