By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– It was a good change of pace for the NM Magic 16U squad Tuesday evening for practice.
Come strolling in from a workout with the Chemeketa Community College Softball program was Newberg-grad and Storm Sophomore Jayden Yoder, warming up to throw a bullpen session against the group of girls playing for the Magic.
The Chemeketa pitcher hadn’t seen live batting since the Spring. Just four-and-two-third innings however on the heels of seeing nearly 83 innings the year before as a freshman, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic that cut short her sophomore season.
“I’m really grateful because this year I probably wouldn’t have played, so I was so sad. I was like, ‘I have to play another year, I can’t end it’,” said Yoder, who also played Volleyball last season as well. “I only pitched like three innings and that was it. I don’t want to end like that so I was like, ‘I really want to play’ and they’ll love me and everything. So, I’m really grateful for that.
“They (the Magic), they’re really good. Especially with live hitting, we haven’t had any live or full…this was my first time pitching full in months. I haven’t pitched in a while and it wasn’t as bad as I thought.”
Three Magic catchers had gone out and caught for the second-year sophomore, trading out so the other could take a hack against the pitcher. A pitcher who has 48 strikeouts to her name to this point of her collegiate career.
Eighth-grader from Silverton Middle School Greyson Gilviniski got the first wave. West Salem’s Chole Vidrio came in for Gilviniski before Molalla’s Marinda “Mo” Haak, closed out the throwing session for Yoder. Seeing life against Yoder in the box as well as behind the dish catching her pitches.
“It made me…I kind of had instincts with it. It just came at me like, 75 miles an hour and I was like, ‘frame’,” smiled Vidrio. “I had more of a thought process. Even though it was faster reflexes, I had more thought processes of just do it. I think that will help with me because I’ll know the situation better with less thinking and more natural reactions.”
“With the higher level of experience, it was good to get that so early on in your softball career catching for a great pitcher in college. That’s amazing, it’s fun too,” adds Gilviniski. “It’s kind of intimidating (going up to bat) knowing that they are that level, but it’s fine once you’re up there. You just got to be confident up there and know that you’ll hit it.”
It’s just a matter of adjusting. For Yoder, her season doesn’t start for another few weeks as her arm fatigued showed down the stretch, she’ll have time to work on it before her final ride at Chemeketa. As for the NM Magic, they’ll have one more practice before their weekend tournament at North Marion High School.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald