By Jeremy McDonald
DALLAS, Ore.– With the elements around them not so friendly as they hoped for as they open the 2018 season with the rain and wind, the Dallas softball team found a way with a few new faces to get the job down Thursday afternoon at home against Philomath.
The Lady Warriors capitalized on the first inning jitters against the Lady Dragon defense by taking a 1-0 lead and the Philomath defense kept the Dallas offense off the boards entering the second inning.
But, entering the second inning, as the rain was going from a fine sprinkle to a steady light rain, Kaelynn Simmons and her defense that has a few freshman like Jordan Dipple (left field) and Maddy Doig (shortstop), settle in for the reminder of the game.
“I know that we have each other’s backs, so if someone does make a mistake then we know that wherever the ball goes next we’ll get that person,” said Simmons. “We have their backs so when they make a mistake, we get the next one.”
Yes there were some hiccups along the way, a error here, a miscue on a play there but they overcame those simple fixable mistakes to make sure their lead remained in tack. Simmons, in the circle, was responsible for five of the last six outs via strikeout.
As for that lead though, when their bats woke up, they went off.
Known for her bat power Lauren Wallace got the Dragons on the scoreboard in the second inning with a lead-off solo home run, Dippel brought in another run in a bases loaded situation when she sent a b-line shot back to the pitcher who couldn’t field it in time to make the stop at home despite two outs on the board.
A bases loaded walk made it 3-1 and Simmons helped her cause out with a Grand Slam to make it 7-1 entering the third inning. Not bad for the first game out of the gates huh? *cue the laughter*
“I’m very happy right now, I think it’s a great way to come out especially with our bats and stuff,” said Wallace. “I think it’s important when we’re hitting we don’t let the rain bother us and I think it’s just stick with it. We’re use to playing in this, that’s why we have so many turf bags, so I’m just really happy about it.”
A few hit-by-pitch allowed Dallas to extend their lead to 10-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning, just a run short of the avoiding coming back out to hit in the bottom of the fifth as they walked back out to defense in the top half of the fifth inning.
And as eluded to above, Philomath had their chances cut the game down, but Simmons made sure they did not as the girl who started the bats would end the game with a walk-off two-run shot in the bottom half of the fifth to make it a 12-1 game to hand the Lady Dragons their first win of the season thanks to Wallace’s second homerun of the game.
Though they are young, with them overcoming their mistakes like they did throughout the game is a promising sign of the maturity of the girls entering their second game Friday in Hillsboro.
“I think that’s the best thing about this team is that no matter what, we don’t let anything like that affect us and we at least push through,” said Wallace. “That’s something (Head Coach) Brandi (Jackson) tries to instill in us a lot that no matter what happens, if we’re having a bad game and we might be down by a lot she’s like, ‘hey you got to pick yourselves up and stick with it and keep going’.”
With that mindset, the Lady Dragons will have to turn-and-burn for a 3pm game at Hillsboro when they take on Liberty at the West Turf of Hillsboro Stadium.