By Jeremy McDonald
MEDFORD, Ore.—The Blaze United Elite 18A squad started the Sunday bracket play with a sound 9-1 win over the 18G NW Rampage with Madison Goodale throwing a five-inning, complete game with five strikeouts to advance in the tournament to lead the defense and an offense that produced 12 hits.
But, the hour-or-so breather in between games kind of slowed the pace of the Blaze entering their second game versus the Southern Oregon United as they fell behind 5-2 entering the third inning after a strong start by the United.
With runners on first and second, Dallas High School-graduate Lauren Wallace sent a line drive through the gap that brought two runners home to get the Blaze United on the board again and to within one of the Southern Oregon United with Goodale coming up to plate.
“It was fun, and no matter what, as long as I’m doing my job getting base hits and everything like that. You don’t need a big hit every time, just base hits is what going to win ballgames and I’m happy I was able to pull through and help my team get there,” said Wallace. “It was nice, I can say I’m absolutely sore. It’s tough only having two catchers right now so its back-to-back and all the time, you just have to know to push through and you’re doing it for your team and not yourself.”
It seemed as if Wallace didn’t miss a beat since her Spring season with Dallas High School a few months ago where she helped the Dragons go 26-2 in 2018 before graduating in June. Wallace found herself playing shortstop and catcher Sunday where she had a few ground-balls her way and a nice pick-off move from behind the dish in the team’s final game
Wallace went 6-for-9 with four RBIs over Sunday’s three games for the Blaze United Elite 18A squad that finished third in the South Valley Triple Crown tournament this past weekend at the US Cellular Fields in South Medford. And though she decided to take the year off from softball, it was still fun to come out and have some fun while she still has some eligibility left with the age limits with Travel Softball.
“I’m back because I am so young and being able to play is a lot of fun and I enjoy it, this game is so amazing. You get attached to it for how many years of your life,” said Wallace who’s going to be associated with the Blaze Unite this summer. “I’m going to be playing summer ball with this team, but I’m essentially a player-coach combo. Where I’ll be coaching catchers as well as playing so they can learn from that as well.
“Next year, I’m just seeing where I’m going to be at and seeing if I want to go to College or if I have a job all that kind of stuff. It’s just kind of touch-and-go right now.”
Goodale tied the game up at five before Kate Fogle scored on an error to win the game 6-5. The ride would end for the Blaze in the Semi-Finals round the next game, falling to the Blaze Gold 11-3 for third-place in the tournament as the sun began to set in the Southern Oregon sky late Sunday afternoon.
Current North Marion Senior Samantha Baylie said that it was a crazy end to the season seeing how this team started the Fall ball season to where they ended up on October 14.
“It’s crazy because at the beginning of the year you would never guess that we would be finishing third in this tournament. Especially with this caliber of a team,” said Baylie.
Baylie was one of about three or four girls on the team who are still in High School, and with her Senior Season of softball rolling around for the Huskies outfielder, this offseason is going to be crucial as she hopes to snap out of her Fall offensive slump before Spring.
“Got to work harder,” laughed Baylie, who drew two walks in three games Sunday. “It’s what it comes down too. To hit all offseason if you want to be better. A bucket a day, I don’t know you just got to hit basically.”