Softball - Lady Viks win two of their last three games heading into conference play

It's unusual for a team to play its best softball the first week of the season, but Forest Grove head coach Ole Evenson is suddenly wishing his team would resort to its early season form.

Forest Grove (8-2) won its final two non-league games of the season last week, getting past Glencoe and Aloha, but Evenson is worried about his team's sudden dropoff at the plate and in the field.

'I want to get back to where we were those first few weeks this year where we were real sharp,' Evenson said. 'We're not quite there yet.'

The Lady Vikings started the season on a tear, scoring 34 runs in their first four games while posting a .406 team batting average and .563 slugging percentage.

Last week was a different story.

Against Glencoe (6-5) last Thursday, Forest Grove managed just five hits in a narrow 2-1 win. Earlier in the week against Westview (5-2), the Lady Vikings had only two baserunners all game in a 3-1 loss. Compounding that was a startling defensive regression - Forest Grove made nine errors in the game, including five in the top of the seventh inning that allowed the Wildcats to score three unearned runs and steal the victory away.

'We had been doing really well,' Evenson said. 'We talked about feeling the pressure from last year and I think sometimes the kids try to do too much. When you try to make the spectacular play every play, you're going to get yourself into trouble.'

The Lady Viks did rally to close out non-league play with a 7-5 win over Aloha (3-7) on Friday. The team opens its Pacific Conference schedule this week against Tigard and Newberg.

One of the highlights of last week's games was a strong start from Molly Normandin against Aloha. The sophomore cruised through six innings, keeping Aloha at bay with a variety of off-speed pitches. She ran into trouble in the seventh, however, and junior Emma Gronseth came on in relief and struck out the final batter on three pitches.

'Molly did a great job of hitting her spots and changing locations,' Evenson said.

Against Glencoe, last year's 5A state runner-up, the Lady Vikings scored two early runs and then leaned on Gronseth, who scattered four hits over seven innings and struck out 10 for her fifth win of the season.

Lindsey Rennie belted an RBI triple to right-center field that scored Normadin in the second, and Krystal Huffman added a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead. Glencoe would get a run back in the top of the third, but Gronseth cruised the rest of the way.

Forest Grove opened Pacific Conference play on Monday with a come-from-behind, 2-1 win over Tualatin. The Lady Viks will face Tigard today and Newberg on Friday before a huge early-season showdown with McMinnville next Monday.

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