By Jeremy McDonald
HILLSBORO, Ore.– Head Coach Marie Scott wanted to give her girls the toughest challenge possible when she entered the NW Vandals 16U team in the Division-I Upper Bracket against some of the toughest 18U squads that came to Hillsboro Stadium for the Valley Invite this weekend.
The Vandals won two games in Pool Play, a 8-4 win over the Kitsap Titans 16U and the Southern Thunder Elite 18U Saturday before dropping a tough 2-1 game to open bracket play against the Montesano Lady Bulldogs 18U team Sunday morning.
It was their second one-run loss of the tournament as they dropped a five-run inning on Montana Sparks-Bessette team to take a 5-2 lead on the Montana travel ball team with Ridgeview’s Allicitie Frost in the circle for the NW Vandals in her fourth game the Ravens pitcher threw in two days.
“They challenged up, they lost one-run games to some excellent 18U teams. Our pool was very difficult, I think they learned a lot about the game and they’re young,” said Scott. “I’ve got two eighth-graders that are going to be freshman. Three juniors and the rest are sophomores, so it’s pretty cool. It’s pretty cool.”
Those two incoming freshman, Alli Parker and Mackenzie Scott performed well. Parker struck out seven against the Lady Bulldogs Sunday morning and three more against Kitsaps Saturday in Pool Play, while Scott went 5-for-12 batting from her lead-off position in the five games that the Vandals played over the weekend.
Frost, who’s entering her Senior Year over in Bend, struck out seven in five innings and had struck out 13 in 12-and-two-third innings pitched leading into the Sunday afternoon game.
But fatigue had began to settle in for Frost as the Sparks hit two homeruns off of her as Montana scored six unanswered runs to take the game 8-5 and ending the Vandals Valley Invite bid.
Scott joked and smiled when she said that her list is long on how they can improve entering the PGF Qualifier next weekend in Portland, but she knows she has the right team to
“I think a lot of it is that we have a lot of great girls. They’re fun to be around, they always show excellent effort. They’re super coachable, they’re good kids,” “Some of the things are the little things. Errors here and knowing where to throw the ball here and they’re some of the finesse side of softball that you don’t really learn the importance of unless you log the hours and play and play.”
The fine details that they’ll work on this week leading into Friday’s pool play in Portland.
The NW Vandals 14U went 4-1 this weekend in the Valley Invite, dropping a heartbreaking one-run loss to the Flames ’05.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald