By Jeremy McDonald
MEDFORD, Ore.– The Oregon West Conference had a nice little finish for the NW Vandals 18U-Dippel Sunday morning in their bracket opener against the Oregon Blaze Gold.
Against the tough Alicite Frost, Ridgeview-grad and Portland State University-commit, the Vandals found ways to stay in the game against the Gold as it came down to the wild.
“That was really cool, it was really fun. I didn’t really realize at the same time of, ‘oh we’re all from the same conference’, but I think it really represents really well,” said Stayton’s Jade Beaumont. “But I think that game in general represented how we should be playing as a team and it’s how we should play. I think we pulled it off because we were playing like we could play.”
It came down to the international tiebreaker between the two squads as Beaumont was placed at second as the last offensive out from the previous inning.
Eagle teammate Cedella Ritchie reached on an error. The two teammates have been playing together this Fall, the first time the two have shared the same diamond together since right before the Coronavirus Shutdown in March. Both would share the same outfield together in their Fall Ball finale against the Hillsboro Diamondbacks 2002.
“I think that was really good because we were together since we didn’t have our Spring season together. We got to grow closer as teammates,” said Ritchie.
Ritchie would land on third following the error, setting up the stage for Philomath’s Kaili Saathoff. Second pitch of the at-bat against Frost, Saathoff hit the walk-off Home Run to move the Vandals into the second round of the USA Softball Fall Ball Classic.
As high as the moment was, it came crashing down in the game against the Diamondbacks. Everything that did went right in that first game, went against them in the Fall Ball finale 12-4. Beaumont was 1-for-3 in the game with an RBI as the Stayton Duo’s Fall Ball season came to an end with a sour taste to it.
“It sucks because we know we could do better. We knew we could have won that game and we know that it was a bunch of mental errors and a lot of we knew we could’ve do it, we’ve tried to do too much at a time,” said Beaumont.
Saathoff finished 2-for-5 with 3RBI’s. Taylor Kenworth was 3-for-5 with 2RBI’s for the Vandals Sunday.