By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The sun was blaring into their dugout as the temperature hit 100 degrees Sunday afternoon at Wallace Marine Park.
Cooling towels around their necks, mask on their faces. Pounding water and Gatorade like a heavyweight boxer would mid-match.
Ridgeview’s and Portland State-commit Allicitie Frost was drenching her head with water in between the bottom half of the fourth and the fifth inning as the NW Vandals 16U led 4-2 going into the half inning. She was exhausted, but had a four-inning no-hitter going following her three-home run game the game prior against the Oregon Thunder 01 as the Vandals led 4-2 as she went back to work a few minutes later.
“I just had to dig deep because I’ve done this for a while, I’ve had these heat games. Hot games I’ve had to pitch through, it helps me grow mentally as a pitcher,” said Frost. “I was just excited to come back and play with them, help them out even if I wasn’t doing good. I know this team is a really great team, and even if I had my bad time at the plate that they’ll back me up if I pitched.
“They always have hot bats, so I’m really proud of them.”
Her defense backed her, as did her offense as Reagan Davis’ three-run home run gave the Vandals some breathing room in the radiating heat that surrounded them on this day.
“It was awesome. We knew that she was pitching really amazing and we had to be tough on defense for her because if she was pitching that good in this heat we can back her up,” said the West Salem Titan in Davis.
Frost came in for relief for Allison Parker in the second inning and went to work. The heat was as relentless as their opposition in the Eugene Lightning 16U.
The Lightning picked up a Chelsea Rustik single and a Madeline Hopkins walk before Frost pinned the Eugene squad with two outs through a strikeout and line-out. An Abigale Schnoor RBI single followed before a fly-out preserved the lead as the heat was taking a toll on both squads.
“We did a super great job. It’s kind of hard to keep the energy up when it’s this hot and it’s your third game. I think we did really good, we hit super good and played defense to back up Allicitie so it was good,” said Davis, who went 5-for-10 and 4RBI’s Sunday.
Kiana Nakamura scored Mackenzie Scott in top half of the sixth on an RBI double to add a cushion against the drop-dead time limit to help seal the 5-3 victory, handing the NW Vandals 16U the 16/18 Salem Invite Gold Bracket Championship.
Frost belted four home runs on 6-for-11 with 7RBI’s in three games Sunday with seven strikeouts in two games. Parker went 5-for-8 with 4RBI’s and four strikeouts pitching.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald