By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– For a young team, it’s good to see the fight and grit that they may possess.
With Fall Ball getting under way and the Jag Labor Day Classic at Wallace Marine Park wrapping up Monday afternoon, the 14U Bracket third-place game featuring the Jr. Oly’s Pilgrim and the West Salem Titans 14U team saw two teams striving for the victory.
“They were resilient, they both battled through. We had that one inning where we put up three runs in the second inning, so going into the third inning it was 5-2,” said Oly’s Head Coach Jason Pilgrim. “And then all of a sudden they came back on us. We had to battle back, tied it up the next inning.
“Just tried to stay battling, staying on pitchers and keep the game going.”
The Jr. Oly’s took advantage of the opportunities in those two first innings on Dominique Bouska, McKenzee Petersen, Ava Pilgrim and Hannah Houts each drove in 2RBI’s each. Pilgrim and Houts each drove in two hits as well.
But the Titans arm in Bouska, as well as her defense, settled in after the second inning and allowed their offense to create opportunities. West scored twice on Petersen, who matched Bouska’s three strikeouts with three of her own, before the Oly’s went to the bullpen with Emma Sheets.
An error, Celine Ball RBI Single and an Aubrey Peil bases loaded walk helped push the Titans into the lead 6-5 before Sheets got the Jr. Oly’s out of the inning.
“It was a legitimate response. Given what they had to do and the chips fell where they may,” said West Salem Head Coach Tim Martin. “Moving forward, we’re going to continue to be one of those teams in the finals and see what we can do to push on Day 3 and push through the bracket play.
“We had a good run here. But it’s back to the drawing board, work hard and we’ll come out and play hard.”
It was frustrated Martin mentioned as his squad battled back knowing how the game would end up on this day.
The Oly’s tied it in the bottom half of the fourth at six. Mackenzie Bohnstedt and Bouska pushed the Titans back out front going to the last half of the fifth up 8-6.
West Salem found themselves two outs away from getting out of the inning when the time limit hit. It reverts back to the last inning, but in bracket play they can’t settle for the 6-6 tie so it reverts back to the last time there was a leader.
That was the second inning when Pilgrim’s girls led 5-2 on Martin’s squad.
Heartbreak for sure knowing West battled back to the lead. Heartbreak for sure too for the Jr. Oly’s to prove they could do the same rally back as the Titans did to them the inning-and-a-half prior.
The two teams proved one thing though through it all:
“Oh that’s the one big thing. The thing I get out of it is we got to keep battling, you can never let your guard down,” said Pilgrim.
Braeli Martin was 3-for-3 with an RBI for West Salem and Bousak was the only other Titan to have a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with an RBI in the tournament finale.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald