By Jeremy McDonald
MILWAUKIE, Ore.– Mother Nature certainly threw a knuckleball for the NW Vandals Sunday at the North Clackamas Park with not just rain and wind, but also Thunder and Lightning that wasn’t just coming from the sound and effect of the bats.
“We were just ready to play and we came back super hard and downed them really quickly, and we were just super excited to get to play,” smiled and laugh Kamden Combs, who started the last game of the day against the Rampage Rise Sunday night in the circle after pitching five innings the day before versus Elite Diamond ’03.
“Oh we just wanted to play, like it was just thunderstorms. I don’t know, we were anxious to play,” adds Kami Gibson too with a smile on her face about the rain delay.
After a scoreless first inning, the Vandals scored five in the top half of the inning that saw a pass ball as the first score before RBI sacrifice hit by Carley Schlag, RBI singles by Mackenzie Scott and a two-RBI single from Jade Beaumont highlighted the five-run inning to put the NW Vandals up 5-0 entering the bottom half of the second inning.
The pitching staff was on fire this weekend with Combs completing her second inning in the circle with two strikeouts and one hit before handing over the reins to Aliah Wisley in the third inning.
In a matter of fact, Gibson started Sunday with a 11 strikeout, three-hit performance as her and her defense behind her settled in after allowing a big bottom of the second inning defensively with four runs before settling back in for the day. Scott, Beaumont and Combs all recorded two RBIs each in the 14-4 win.
“It was really good; all the pitching staff came together as a team. But what made it great was that the infield was always there to back us up,” said Wisley, who pitched eight innings this weekend allowing one run over those eight innings. “Like we could get easy groundballs, we didn’t have to worry about striking people out because we knew our infield was there to back us up. So, it was a whole team effort this weekend.”
And this weekend was a good stepping stone for the squad as they take their talents to Colorado next weekend to compete in the Colorado Sparkler Jr Tournament at Colorado Springs following their 4-0 weekend in the Valley Invite.
One thing Combs points out as they leave the diamond for the evening, was just the small things along the way that they’re always somewhat good at:
“Just talking, working as a team and being closer together. Working as a team, we do pretty good with that,” said Combs.
Wisley points out too that this weekend serves as a good preparation tool for them as they look forward towards their next big challenge here in a few days.
“Like some of these harder teams that we’ve faced here, it gives us preparation,” starts Wisley. “We also have to learn that we might have one bad inning here, but we have to make sure that we pick each other up because it won’t be as easy next week.”