BASEBALL: Forest Grove is struggling to find its form with league play on the horizon

After a rocky start to the 2008 baseball season, Forest Grove was tantalizingly close to wrapping up back-to-back victories on Monday before letting a four-run lead slip through its fingers against Reynolds.

Forest Grove (2-6) squeaked past Aloha last Tuesday in their final game at the Westview Tournament, then had Reynolds (4-2) on the ropes Monday afternoon at home.

The Vikings led 4-0 through six innings with Joe Piercey cruising on the mound. The sophomore lefthander had faced just two batters over the minimum through six, but surrendered a single, double and two walks before being relieved by Kyle Swaja with two outs in the top of the seventh. Another walk, a wild pitch and a two-run single allowed Reynolds to steal a 5-4 victory away from the Vikings.

'It was a pretty tough one,' said head coach Joe Baumgartner. 'Reynolds is a good team, but that was a tough one to lose.'

Piercey finished with eight strikeouts through 6 2/3 innings and allowed just three hits.

Against Aloha (2-4) last week, Forest Grove was able to hang on for its second win of the season behind a complete game from ace Aaron Huson. The junior struck out seven and scattered seven hits in a 3-2 victory.

'Aaron threw really well,' Baumgartner said. 'It was easily his best outing of the year.'

Trailing 1-0, Forest Grove staged a three-run rally in the bottom of the sixth for what proved to be the winning runs. An Aloha fielding error allowed Mark Sifuentes to score the tying run, and Chris Hormann followed with a go-ahead double to right-center field. Hormann came around to score on an infield single by senior Joey Flanery, and the Vikings held on to win despite a leadoff home run in the top of the seventh.

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