By Jeremy McDonald
ALBANY, Ore.– Dallas took advantage of the opportunities through the first two-and-a-half innings that the West Albany defense gave them building a 5-1 lead on the Bulldogs entering the bottom of the third inning.
West Albany, who have appeared in the last 11 postseasons as they started the season 12-2 following their comeback win over the Dragons 14-5 Friday afternoon it home. The record is spiffy and all, but it’s all about learning their mistakes and moving forward.
“I’m really excited. All I wanted is for us to win every single game with passion. Outside of couple of slip-ups we’ve had, a couple of slip-ups where we didn’t win or as big of win as we wanted it to be. Every time that happens, we bounce back and pound the next team,” said the Bulldogs Ellie Babbitt. “So that’s all I cared about is that we’re learning from our mistakes and still winning.
“The energy, it was a giant snowball and we just kept it going. Miracles happen when we’re all excited,” said Babbitt. “I think outside of couple errors, that was one of our best defensive games I’ve seen us played collectively as a group.”
Babbitt mentioned a few adjustments they made in moving players in the outfield and changing up their infield lineup entering the game to present more of a challenge to the offense they were facing.
The Bulldogs defense slowed the bats of Dallas down to a crawl as their offense began chipping around the raindrops that arrived in the bottom half of the third. West Albany scored three quick runs in that half to get the score to within one entering the fourth innings.
Both defenses stalled the other offenses with the lone scores coming way by West Albany’s Danielle Sally’s solo shot to tie in the fourth before Babbitt’s solo homerun gave the Bulldogs a 6-5 lead entering the sixth.
But as Ruby Earhart made a nice double play at first with a catch and tag and Adrian Lee had a nice throw out to Zoe Withlow at third for an out, the bottom of the sixth inning proved to be one of those bad luck innings that you never hoped for.
“I felt like it was a great ballgame up until that inning where we beat ourselves unfortunately. So we just got to learn how to compete and stop the bleeding and not let the errors be a domino effect and somehow figure out how to stop it when we’re ahead,” said Dallas Head Coach Brandi Jackson.
Four errors, three walks and two hits helped turn a one-run game into a 14-5 lead by innings end.
“I think we played exceptionally well the first couple innings. We ran well around the bases; we were very aggressive. We did very well in the field. our talk was up, our energy was so high and we just did so well in the first couple of innings and we had that one bad inning,” said Dallas’ Maddie Doig. “The energy just plummeted down and it just wasn’t very good.
“But you got to learn how to bounce back and shut the door when we’re ahead. When you start off 2-0 or ahead 5-1 and they start to comeback, you just got to learn how to shut the door and stay ahead.
Dallas, who travels to Corvallis Tuesday before hosting Crescent Valley Friday, it was a good learning experience on how to shut the door when you’re ahead on a team.
The Dragons Kaelynn Simmons went 3-for-3 with seven strikeouts, Zoe Withlow drove in two RBIs. West Albany’s Presley went 3-for-5 and Gamble added six strikeouts with her two RBIs.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald