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Forest Grove baseball falls to West Salem, ends disappointing season

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The Vikings fall twice to the Titans and finish 1-15 in Greater Valley Conference play

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Forest Grove's Derrick Heisler swings at a pitch during the Vikings' game against West Salem, May 10 at Forest Grove High School.Two days removed from their first conference win over West Albany and a day after a make-up loss to Sprague, the Forest Grove baseball team found a little momentum versus West Salem – it was just too late.

The Vikings fell behind 7-1 early and 10-1 through four-and-a-half innings before rallying to get within four until ultimately falling 11-6, Wednesday, May 10 at Forest Grove High School.

Titan senior Ross McConnell finished 3-for-5 with two singles and a two-RBI triple, and was aided by a Titan offense that accounted for 20 hits and consisted of six starters with at least two hits apiece. They scored two in the second, five in the third, and three more in the fifth before there last run in the top-half of the sixth.

Forest Grove was led by senior Tanner Heikes who managed two hits, while fellow senior Derrick Heisler drove in two of the Vikings' six runs in defeat.

After a scoreless first, West Salem drew first blood in the second. McConnell singled to start the inning then scored when Noah Juarez doubled to left field. Following consecutive outs, Juarez made it 2-0 when Austin Ailstock beat-out a groundball for an infield hit and RBI.

However, the Vikings didn't sit idle in their half of the inning. Heisler walked to start and advanced to second on an Enrique Barquero groundout, then following a Trevor Rhorer strikeout, senior Vincent Beach singled to left to make it a 2-1 game.

West, seemingly disinterested in a close game, opened it up in the third, battering Forest Grove pitcher Trevor Rhorer. Alex Hurlbert singled to start, Anthony Zellner followed with a double, then McConnell tripled to left-center scoring Hurlbert and Zellner and making the score 4-1. Juarez next reached on an error, and after another West two-bagger, Grant Theis singled to make it a 7-1 game.

The Titans added three more in the fifth and appeared headed towards an easy victory before the Vikings answered with a little life in the bottom half of that same inning. Beach drew a base-on-balls to start, then following a Tanner Vandecouvering single, West Salem starting pitcher Austin Ailstock walked Heikes before being pulled for Cam Hagen.

Hagen wouldn't last long. The junior allowed a run on an Aaron Cardinal sacrifice fly, and another run on an infield error before giving-up back-to-back doubles to Heisler and Barquero, pulling the Vikings within 10-6 and forcing West to their third pitcher of the inning, junior Jacob Wagner.

Wagner walked Rhorer before getting Beach to fly out to end the inning, then the Titans tacked-on a run in the sixth to make it 11-6.

The Vikings threatened again in the sixth when Heikes and senior Nate Maitlen singled to start the inning, then Cardinal was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But after a strikeout and a double play ended the inning, Forest Grove went quietly in the seventh to end the game and give West Salem the road win.

Forest Grove finished their season three days later with a 5-0 loss to that same West Salem team at Scio High School.