Forest Grove splits opening games of spring break tourney
Following a cool and wet early-morning game to kick off Forest Grove's 2018 Milwaukie High School Spring Break Tournament, the Forest Grove Vikings were looking for a little redemption versus Central Catholic.
The Vikings committed more than a handful of errors in a 13-9 loss to Hillsboro, but they rebounded in their afternoon contest to defeat the Rams 6-4 Monday, March 26, at Hood View Park in North Clackamas.
"We were much better than in that first game," said Forest Grove head coach Katy Carrillo. "We let the elements get to us this morning. We were tired and it was rainy, but this game, we had a much better mentality, played better defense and supported our pitchers."
Delaney Aleshire started the game in the circle for the Viks, throwing four innings, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out three and walking one. The Forest Grove senior also added three hits at the plate and was joined by fellow senior Vanessa Gonzalez with three hits of her own, while Taylor Richards drove in four of the Vikings' six runs.
In all, the Viks managed 11 hits in the game and repeatedly took what the pitcher gave them, driving the ball to the opposite field, much to the pleasure of their coach after the game.
"I thought we had a really good approach at the plate," said Carrillo. "Their pitcher mostly pitched outside and our girls did a nice job of going with the pitch. It took them a couple innings to adjust, but we got there."
Forest Grove got two runs in the bottom half of the first inning when Aleshire led off with a single and moved to second when Gonzalez was hit by a pitch. Then, after a Kinsey Barnett popout, Richards drove them both in with a single to right field to give the Viks a 2-0 lead.
The Rams answered in the second when back-to-back hits put runners on the corners, then a botched pickoff attempt to get the runner stealing at second led to the first Central Catholic run of the game, cutting the lead to 2-1.
The Vikings made it 3-1 in their half of the second, the Rams cut it to 3-2 in the third, and the two teams continued trading runs until the Central Catholic tied the game 4-4 with two runs in the fourth.
Carrillo made a pitching change to start the fourth, bringing in freshman Carmen Sahlfeld. A gamble to some, but strategy for both the short and long term for the second year Forest Grove coach.
"Delaney threw really well for us, but our freshmen offer a nice change of pace," said the coach. "We have four freshmen pitching prospects, so we want to mix them all in to get some varsity experience for next year because our pitchers are both seniors. It's also a good way to mix up tempos and styles, so we'll be using that throughout the year."
And it paid off.
Sahlfeld worked fast, retiring six of the eight batters she faced, and the Viks broke the 4-4 tie in the fifth when Gonzalez reached on a hit, stole second, moved to third on a ground ball, then scored on a Richards grounder to first to give Forest Grove a 5-4 lead.
Forest Grove wouldn't look back from there, getting an insurance run in the sixth, then icing the game when freshman Haleigh Colfelt set the Rams down in the seventh, allowing just one baserunner on a two-out error.
"I was pleased with the performance," Carrillo said. "We swung the bats well and we got to use two of our junior varsity pitchers, and they did awesome."
Forest Grove was set to play games against Roosevelt and Centennial Tuesday, March 27, after this paper's print deadline, before opening Greater Valley Conference play next Tuesday, April 3, at McNary.
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