Forest Grove advances to the second round of the playoffs with a 2-0 victory at home

The Forest Grove softball roster isn’t exactly overflowing with state playoff experience, so head coach Trevor Tusow lined up two games last week against playoff-bound opponents, and the results were just as he had hoped.

Forest Grove got a 3-1, come-from-behind victory over Metro League champion Westview last Tuesday and a wild 12-7 win over Beaverton on Thursday. Those two victories gave the Lady Vikings a taste of postseason softball, and they went out on Monday and beat David Douglas 2-0 in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs.

“It was really nice to have them be able to play a couple playoff teams,” Tusow said. “The girls definitely had some nerves beforehand, but once the (Westview) game started they just got more and more comfortable. That win definitely boosted our confidence.”

The Lady Vikings won on Monday with the same formula they’ve used all year — good defense and timely hitting.

Emily Peters threw a complete game shutout, allowing three hits and no walks. She also did not strike out a batter, getting steady support from the Forest Grove defense, including a game-saving double play in the fourth inning.

Forest Grove (21-6) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Freshman Siera Martinez led off with a double down the right field line, Peters bunted her over to third, and Iesha Johnson drove her in with a sacrifice fly to deep left.

In the top of the fourth, Peters gave up a leadoff single, but she erased the baserunner when she snagged a sacrifice bunt out of the air and doubled off the runner at first base.

It was a crucial play, because the next batter smashed a triple off the fence that would have tied the score and put another runner in scoring position.

“When you look back at it, you think, ‘Holy crap, that was close,’” Tusow said. “With a good offensive team like (David Douglas), you just never know what’s going to break the dam for them. That could have been the inning where they broke loose for a bunch of runs. That was a huge play.”

Forest Grove picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth when Alexis Richey and Shelby Turner belted back-to-back doubles, giving the Lady Vikings a 2-0 lead they would not relinquish.

“Emily pitched really well and we played really solid defense,” Tusow said. “We made a couple difficult plays look easy, and we were just kind of smooth all the way around.”

Monday’s victory earned Forest Grove a trip to the second round of the playoffs, where the Lady Vikings will meet a familiar foe — regular-season Pacific Conference champion and No. 2-ranked Glencoe (25-1).

The teams are scheduled to play today at 5 p.m.

In previous years, conference opponents would be placed in different parts of the state playoff bracket so they couldn’t meet until later in the postseason.

The new bracketing procedure takes all 32 qualifiers and seeds them based on their OSAA Power Ranking, so conference affiliation is not a consideration.

That resulted in all four Pacific Conference teams being lumped together in the same part of the bracket. The winner of today’s Forest Grove-Glencoe game will play the winner of Clackamas-Tualatin on Friday, which means that by the end of the week, only one conference team will remain.

“I know there are some people who are frustrated,” Tusow said. “It’s unfortunate that we will all basically have to eliminate each other.

“Glencoe is a very good team. We know we’re the underdog, but if you’re going to go far in the playoffs, you’re going to have to pull an upset or two.”

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