By Jeremy McDonald
NEWBERG, Ore.—It has become common theme to see the NM Magic 06 14U and the Oregon Thunder 14U at some point in a tournament.
Last week when the two squads met, Ambur Livingston and her defense held the well-coached and hard-hitting Thunder squad to two runs and five hits in the 2-0 Thunder victory at Jaquith Park in Newberg.
The two teams met again in Newberg, this time at Crater at Darnell Wright Sports Complex in the Silver Bracket Championship.
Both were coming into the game rolling. The Thunder with hot bats from their 9-5 victory over the West Salem Titans 14U minutes earlier. The Magic were coming off a mentally, physically and emotionally challenging 1-0 win over the NW Mayhem 14U where Ava Shaffer struck out six in a seven-inning game effort.
“Knowing that we had one run and I was pitching one of my better games in the circle. I had a good defense behind me and I was happy when we won,” said Shaffer.
It was hard to follow-up such a performance as the Oregon Thunder plated five runs in the first inning against Livingston. The success they had defensively in the previous game led into frustration as the lanky pitcher and her defense settled in over the next three innings, only allowing a crooked number in the third inning and two goose eggs. A learning experience for sure how to bridge together two tough games as they had Sunday.
“Normally we’re well-matched, but when we’re tired and exhausted, it gets really, really difficult. Spirits get low but, most of the time we’re able to battle back and hold them for a little bit,” said Evie West, who had the lone hit in the 8-0 defeat for the Magic. “Just keeping up our spirits and just keep talking and communicating and sharing. That’s kind of what our team struggles with is continuing to talk to people or to each other.
“So, if we keep our spirits high and keep cheering, I think that game won’t be outmatched.”
Second-place in the Silver Bracket isn’t bad considering they were one-run shy of making it to the top bracket of the tournament being the Gold Bracket, it just shows the progress that the team has been on since the start of the month when the season kicked off.
“To see our hard work, pay off, it’s awesome,” said Shaffer.
“It was really, really fun and exciting. It was fun and interesting and I really love playing here,” adds West.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald