By Jeremy McDonald
MEDFORD, Ore.– The NW Vandals were facing some pushback from the Five Cities Screaming Eagles 14U squad Friday afternoon at US Cellular Fields in the 14A Western Nationals quarterfinals.
Holding a 2-0 lead on the Screaming Eagles, Five Cities began to pressure Kamden Combs (Four Innings, Four Strikeouts) and her defense in the top half of the fifth inning with a walk and a double and threatening to tie the game and do further damage when the Vandals turned to Kami Gibson for some sort of change of pace.
Gibson turned a three-pitch strikeout for the first out of the fifth inning and one of Gibson’s four strikeouts in three innings of pitching as she turned a sacrifice fly that permitting a run to come in and a groundout to end the inning to limit the damage to one run.
In the bottom half of the inning, the NW Vandals pushed their lead to four runs at 5-1 after Jade Beaumont’s two-RBI that drove in Mackenzie Scott and Kiani Nakamura to give them some breathing room at 4-1. Maison Searle drove Beaumont home to make it a 5-1 ball game entering the sixth inning.
“It was pretty good, my at-bat we had two outs and I had runners in scoring position and I knew something had to be done it was 2-1 it was tight. So I got an inside pitch and just took it,” said Beaumont on her two-RBI double, the lone hit for Beaumont in the game.
But they weren’t out of the woods yet, the Screaming Eagles have been a good hitting team in this tournament and weren’t going to shy away over the sixth and seventh innings. The Vandals however, held the Five Cities Screaming Eagles to a sixth inning walk and a seventh inning single as they fielded groundballs and caught fly-balls to support their pitcher in Gibson in the circle to help keep the Screaming Eagles from making a late-game rally on them.
“They hit really well and I think us switching pitchers up kind of brought them back a little bit and it was easier for us to keep ourselves composed and our pitchers gave us groundballs and we made outs for them,” said Ruby Earhart as Gibson and Combs combined for eight strikeouts in the 5-1 victory Friday afternoon.
With the skies hazy and has moved the past two days up from 7pm to 1pm in fear of worsening air qualities, the Vandals still found a way to get to the Semi-Final round with their Saturday game scheduled for 1pm at US Cellular Fields in Medford with the same fear of air quality from the fires in the area.
For Saturday, the NW Vandals defense will need to come in clutch again as they did Friday against a Colorado Angels-Supercynski squad that has scored seven, nine and 10 runs in each of their first three wins in this tournament to get to the Western Nationals Semi-Final round and both Earhart and Beaumont both talked about how important coming out with energy will be important to get into Sunday undefeated.
“We just got to come out with a lot of energy tomorrow and we’ll do as well as we did today,” said Earhart.
“We have to come out with energy and do what we do best, we can’t come out and just ‘oh, we’ll win’. We have to come out and go and do something,” adds Beaumont. “Yesterday we came out flat and we got into a tight situations and today we came out and we were just pounding.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald