By Jeremy McDonald
NEWBERG, Ore.– The NW Vandals 18U have a knack of coming back.
Banged up and battling through injuries, the 8-7 victory sounded good after finding themselves down 5-0 entering the bottom half of the first inning.
During that first inning, what could go wrong, did go wrong. Bases loaded after the first three batters, an error here and a pass ball there and the deficit quickly ballooned before they could get out of their way and out of the jam entering the bottom half of the inning.
“We had a tough start to the weekend, but our team prides ourselves on our fighting. We keep talking and keep working hard, so we try to keep pushing and don’t give up when we’re down,” said Sunset’s Lainey Wier. “We have good hitters all throughout our lineup and people who can run. We know when the first person gets on, we’ll keep rolling with it.
“If we get one bad inning, our defense and our pitching is right there. Our pitching is great.”
The Vandals chipped away at the deficit, getting it to two by innings end. Sydney Maurer, after her tough first inning, settled in during the second before handing the reigns over to Gracee Wright as they put aside Thursday’s games in an attempt to snap the streak.
“I feel like we got stronger as the game went on. We started off a little bit rough and then we started to slowly get back into our habits, doing how our team plays. Just taking it slow and easy, we just got stronger as the game went on,” said Wright. “It felt so good to finally be back in our habits and winning.”
Wright and Maurer combined for four strikeouts, two apiece. Wright didn’t yield a walk or hit in an inning-and-two-thirds pitching and pitched five innings in the Vandals 5-0 victory over the Parrish Nightmare 18U, allowing five hits and no walks while driving in 2RBI’s herself.
Just as their defense allowed a run in each of the second and third innings, their offense continued to chip away at the lead. Cedella Ritchie’s sac-hit drew the Vandals closer going into the third down 6-4, the Vandals tied the game the next inning.
Wright drove in two runs and Ritchie tied the game with an single, scoring Gracie Fredinburg to tie the game. Wright hung a zero in the top half of the fifth inning to force a walk-off situation for the Vandals with no time on the clock.
Mariah Hyre, who missed Thursday’s Pool Play, singled to lead-off. Kassidee Parazoo did the same in the next at-bat to step up Wier with a runner-in-scoring-position with no outs. She rips a groundball to center field, scoring Hyre from second for the game-winning run.
“Hopefully we keep rolling and keep winning, that’s normally how we work. We just got to get back on our feet,” said Wier. “We looked good at the end of today’s game. We’ll try to get fewer erros, some of them were on me too throwing. A bunch of it is us battling injuries, this is a long weekend of playing and hopefully we’ll keep playing.”
Wier went 4-for-5 with an 2RBI’s. Madison Gooddale went 4-for-5 with 3RBI’s, two against the Nightmare.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald