By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Travel softball can be a mixed bag sometimes. You can’t really tell how your opponent is early on in tournaments until you are in between those lines playing the game.
For the NW Vandals 16U squad, three of their first five games of the 18U Western Nationals tournament at Wallace Marine Park have been wins of 10 or more runs as they advance to the second day of bracket play Saturday with their 17-0 win over SLC Ballistik 18U to close out the day.
But, as they go through the losers bracket with the hope of getting to the Championship Game Sunday afternoon, their 12-0 Friday afternoon loss to the Benicia Outlaws that was followed by their losers out win right afterwards served as a good reminder for them moving into Saturday’s games.
“I think it’s important to go into every game with the same mindset no matter what the pitching your going to see, just make sure your going to come out hot every inning,” said Abbi Covalt, who went 4-for-8 with two RBI’s Friday. “Just got to come out hot in the first inning, hit balls really hard and be selective with balls.”
With roughly 15 or 20 teams going into Saturday’s games after Fridays first couple of rounds, the level of competition is only going to get tough with teams like an Benicia vying for another game.
It’s survive and advance now and the next game isn’t guaranteed. All you got to do is go into every game with that sharp mentality as the last, and their 17-0 win to close out Friday was good momentum entering their noon game Saturday as they await the results from the morning games of who they’ll be playing next.
“We just got to remember to have good energy, even when we make errors just to flush them and get rid of them and come out hot like we did in this game (versus SLC Ballistik),” said Alli Parker. “It’s really crucial, I think we just need to come out and hit and make sure everything is working for us to have a good day tomorrow.”
Parker, who struck out two pitching versus Benicia in two-and-a-third innings, was one of three Vandals to hit home runs Friday. Sydney Conklin (two-run) and Kiani Nakamura (three-run) hit homeruns in Friday’s first game against Spokane Diamond Elite. Allicitie Frost struck out 12 in that game against Spokane, a 10-0 win for the NW Vandals.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald