By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.—The only thing that had plagued the promising start by Bend’s Allison Parker in the NW Vandals 18 Gold Scott’s 2-1 defeat against the Red Heat 03 18 was a few unlucky bounces against her defense.
Parker and the Vandal defense had kept the Heat’s bats in check the first three innings as an Abbi Covalt single handed the Lava Bear pitcher a brief 1-0 lead on the tough Heat squad in front of them Monday afternoon.
A deep single in the top half of the fourth drove in two runs to hand the Red Heat the lead for good going into the bottom half of the inning and into the fifth, sending the Vandals to the consolation/third-place game after the strong performance they had the first half of the game.
But in the third-place game against the Bandits Fastpitch, the Vandals came ready to play. Scoring five innings in the top half of the inning and led as much as 6-0 after three innings. Parker continued her performance from the first game, pitching the first two innings before handing off to Breanna Hilton in the third inning.
“We had more energy this game and I think we came out with a lot hotter than the first game against Red,” said Parker, who struck out six in seven innings Monday afternoon.
“We played as a team and was rallied the bats,” adds Zoe Allen, who went 2-for-3 in the finale.
It was a warm-day at Wallace Marine Park as squads finished off the Jag Labor Day Classic, West Salem’s Reagan Davis joined Allen with two hits in the third-place game of the Gold Bracket. But just as the Vandals began to think the rust of a few weeks off were beginning to wear off, the Bandits scampered back into the game.
With help from a three-run home run by Alexis Miles in a four-run fifth inning, the Bandits corralled in the Vandals. Making the 6-0 hole into a manageable 6-4 deficit going into the sixth.
Time would run out during the sixth before the Bandits could have another crack at Hilton and her defense, Hilton pitched a solid inning-and-a-third leading into the tough fifth in relief, with the Vandals walking away 3-2 on the weekend.
Team Chemistry was a big vocal point Allen touched on as the Vandals moved forward from their first Fall Tournament of the season.
“Team chemistry. Our Team Chemistry in the first couple games weren’t as good, but we picked it up and hopefully we can pick it up from here,” said Allen.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald