Forest Grove gives up five runs in the sixth inning and drops a 6-0 decision to the Grizzlies

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Forest Grove junior Andrew Thorud dives back into first base during last Friday's game against McMinnville.For much of Friday afternoon, the baseball game between Forest Grove and McMinnville was a pitchers’ duel.

After all, midway through the contest, Vikings starter Andrew Siemiller and the Grizzlies’ David Brosius had allowed no runs and practically no offense between them.

But McMinnville finally cracked the scoring code in the fifth inning, nicking Siemiller for a run, before breaking through for five more scores in the sixth for a 6-0 victory.

The win upped the No. 6 Grizzlies’ record to 12-2 overall and 5-1 in the Pacific Conference, good for a first-place tie with Tualatin, as the Timberwolves lost 3-2 to Glencoe the same day. The Vikings moved to 7-8 overall and 2-4 in league play, tied with Hillsboro for sixth place.

“We just gave up the big inning,” Forest Grove coach Kevin Tucker said. “We had a few mental errors, mental mistakes, which we’ve been battling kind of all season. Didn’t play a bad physical game, but a team like that, their pitching staff is so deep. What separates great teams is the ... pitching that comes out of the bullpen, and they’ve got it.”

After Siemiller retired the Grizzlies in order in the top of the fourth, McMinnville scratched out the definitive run in the next inning. Cameron Fox led off with double down the third base line, and he moved around the bases on a sacrifice bunt and then a sacrifice fly to right field for the game’s first run.

Though that run broke the stalemate, Siemiller limited the damage to the one score by inducing a fly out to center field from Gage Gubrud.

“He’s been solid for us all year,” Tucker said of Siemiller. “I haven’t started him a whole lot. He’s been kind of coming in as a reliever, but I gave him a shot tonight. I thought he’d give us a good shot to win, and he did. He did exactly what we needed him to.”

The Vikings looked like they might have an answer in the bottom half, when Andrew Thorud’s single dropped into right field and Daniel Daughtry’s walk put runners on first and second with no outs. But Forest Grove then hit into two consecutive force outs, at third base and then at second base.

While that sequence did allow Daughtry to move into scoring position at third, the Vikings could not capitalize, as Aaron Elich struck out swinging to end the threat.

In the sixth, the visitors finally found some offensive rhythm, getting a big leadoff triple to right field from Jacob Bannister and then back-to-back RBI singles from Zach Rhoads and Brosius.

In all, McMinnville went to bat 11 times during the sixth, scoring its final three runs on a two-RBI single and a wild pitch. During that stretch, Daughtry moved over from right field to relieve Siemiller with the score 5-0 and two outs.

“They were hitting my fastball,” Siemiller said. “Earlier on in the innings, I was able to throw my curveball and it was working, but they just caught on to my fastball.”

After a loss that was much more competitive than the score alone might indicate, Tucker left the contest feeling optimistic about his team’s capabilities if the Vikings can straighten a few things out.

“Like I said to the guys, I wasn’t disappointed,” Tucker noted. “It’s just the one inning. You can’t give that up. When we learn to cut out those mental errors, we’ll have something.”

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