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Off and running

Ashland romps past Forest Grove in its opener of the Ashland Invitational

Although the Grizzlies have dropped out of the top 10 following a pair of losses and aren't sneaking up on anybody this year, it's once again pitching and defense that carries them.

The Grizzlies rode those elements to another victory on Tuesday at North Mountain Park.

Mike Allen tossed a shutout, and Ashland spread around 14 hits and played spotless defense to rout Forest Grove 10-0 in a five-inning game in the Ashland Invitational.

Allen struck out six and walked four to record his second win against one loss.

"I thought Mike Allen threw exceptional," said Ashland coach Doug Stover. "As a team, we hit the ball real sharp and played great defense.

"That (defense) is what we lived off last year."

The Grizzlies jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings and put the game away in the fourth.

Forest Grove recorded the first two outs of the inning before Ashland put a string of six straight hits together and pushed across four more runs.

"All in all, I'm very pleased with how we played," said Stover. "We've got a tough one against Hillsboro (today), so hopefully we can keep it up."

Bill Rowe led the Grizzlies (4-2) with three hits in four plate appearances, while Torrance George, Titus Weston and Zachary Brewer each added two hits.

"They are a pretty decent team," said Forest Grove coach Joe Baumgartner, whose team dropped to 4-2. "We got off to a bad start, and Allen threw really well, but it's the preseason, so we're just trying to work some things out.

"They do have some really good hitters in the middle of that order that hurt us."

In other tournament games, Glencoe blanked Gladstone 6-0, Rex Putnam downed Aloha 5-3 and Hillsboro nipped Cleveland 3-2.

Forest Grove...........................................000 00 - 0 — 2

Ashland..................................................202 42 - 10 14 0

D. Jones, Berg (4) and Olson; Allen and George. W - Allen (2-1). L - D. Jones. 2B - A: Dotterer, Rowe 2.

Ashland first baseman Bill Rowe slaps a tag on Forest Grove's Jeremy McDaniel during a successful pickoff attempt in Tuesday's game. - Photos by Roy Musitelli / Mail Tribune