By Jeremy McDonald
DALLAS, Ore.– Wednesday’s game against Corvallis was a good knocking off the rust game. Matter of fact, even the two jamboree games entering their ten-inning win against the Spartans helped lead into the game.
With five players familiar with the program entering this year, mix in the fresh faces, it was a good start as you would hope for with the lack of practice time beforehand.
“We knew coming in that Corvallis is always a scrappy team and we knew we were going to have to put our best foot forward and I could see little jitters here and there. So for those kids like Ruby (Earhart) and (Maddie) Doig to be able to step-up in clutch situations just shows their experience and maturity as softball players,” said Dallas Head Coach Brandi Jackson. “I can hope that we all can get there and be able to string together a couple of runs together. Yesterday for example, we had a lot more opportunities to score runs and we just didn’t capitalize on them.
“A lot of that comes from experience and being comfortable, confident. It was a great start and I’m excited to see where we’re going the rest of the season.”
The squad has some travel-ball experience entering this Spring, taking advantage of the downtime from the Coronavirus Pandemic to stay fresh. Girls like Doig and Madelyn Loughary playing with the NW Bullets. Others like Kadence Morrison, who struck out 12 in her first High School start, played with Madeleine Scales, Kaelyn Golden and Clara Woosley with the Lady Dragons 14U and 16U squads in the Summer and Fall.
Morgan Dippel, Brook Dukin, Kacey Jordan were some others who saw some action with club softball, staying fresh with the hopes of a Spring season this school year.
“I think having youth programs, summer ball programs is huge in the success of our program. Being able to have the Lady Dragons, who are local and having a couple of kids who are playing at a higher-level it’s huge because we don’t have to start at the basics. We get to practice on more things that’ll make us better as a whole,” said Jackson. “So I think it’s getting those kids from summer ball and kids who don’t play Summer Ball, just getting them all together and being able to have them all confident and come together.”
Jackson points to everyone being in the same boat, being on their heels as in a normal year they would normally have two-weeks or so to prepare and not days. But just being around each other with them traveling to Lebanon Friday, getting a few more practices in as they progress into Week 2 and 3 just for the team to adjust to what Jackson is looking for and how they’ll fit into the program moving forward.
“We have a lot of new kids, a lot of young kids and it’s exciting because hopefully we can get better in the future,” Jackson said. “But being behind our returners who have played in a State Championship before, only going to make those younger players better for playing with and alongside them. Learning from them and being able to see them play and I think it’s going to make a big impact on the younger kids.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald