By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM. Ore.– It was one of those playoff games that they needed entering down the stretch with playoffs looming beyond May 14.
Aliyah Wilsey and her defense held Bend to one run as they entered the bottom of the seventh inning tied at one apiece.
“I feel like this one of the best games we’ve focused in all seven innings, we didn’t fluxate too hard. Our energy was high the whole time and I think that’s what helped us the whole time is just to make the plays on defense because we focus so much,” said Wiley, who struck out six.
The Lava Bears did pick up six hits along with two walks against the Titan defense Saturday afternoon in the home game for West. The Titans did have their opportunities to do further damage than the two runs they scored in the 2-1 win, but leaving eight on base left a weird taste in their mouths after their 10-1 win over the Lava Bears on April 17 in Bend.
But as they loaded up the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out and Taylor Holmquist coming to bat, the grit of the team and all the practice they’ve been putting in all year is coming around when it matters the most in crunch time.
“From working so hard in practice, we’ve been working on all of this stuff constantly. So it speaks a lot of our character to bounce back when we don’t make a play or something and I think it’s really cool that we’re all coming together,” said Holmquist.
Wilsey after the game in the post-game huddle, credited and gave her defense all the props for supporting her in the win. Grinding it out with her as the sophomore pitcher is coming into her own in the circle this season.
“As a pitcher they’re my back-up. I mean I can’t strikeout every person, I need them there no matter what game it is,” said Wilsey. “That last out, that last one play I just personally want to go up and say ‘you had my back there’, so I’m going to make sure they know I appreciate all of their hard work.”
Holmquist and Wilsey each had two hits each and Holmquist’s last one in the seventh inning gave the Titans the win that brings West into a two-way tie with Bend for second in the Mountain Valley Conference at 8-3 with three league games remaining against Summit, McKay and Sprague.
“If we just keep working hard and we start out games all hyped up like we did today, then it’ll help us keeping winning,” smiled Holmquist as West Salem closes out the regular season versus Jesuit on May 14.
Along with Holmquist and Wilsey, Reagan Davis, Jenny Ball, Maison Searle and Paige Wiley all recorded a hit in the win.