By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It was a back-and-forth battle between the Oly’s 14U-Pilgrim Friday afternoon at Wallace Marine Park with the NorCal Blitz of Redwood City, California.
The Oly’s answered the Blitz’ three-run first inning with a three-run inning of their own three-run first inning and traded runs over the course of the next two innings before the NorCal squad built a two-run lead going into the bottom half of the sixth inning.
“We were really antsy in the first inning and let them score, but then we came back and battled,” incoming West Salem Sophomore Ava Pilgrim said.
Abby Kessler and Hannah Houts each led the offense in the opening game with three hits each. South Albany’s incoming sophomore Bella Gutierrez struck out four in six innings as her and the Oly’s defense relaxed, loading up the bases with no outs on the board.
The Oly’s struggled to get a run in over their next two at-bats, flying out in each in the shallow part of the outfield as Pilgrim came to the plate.
Pilgrim took ball one and sent a fast-ball to the outfield as Mckenzee Petersen scored with Houts storming in behind her to score. It was a stand-up double as Summer Melena beat the throw at home for the game-winning run, sending the Oly’s to the second round of the 14A Western Nationals Championship Bracket.
Avoiding the chance of having to fight through the loser’s bracket to get back to Title Contention.
“It was good because it won’t be fun going through the loser’s bracket,” laughed Pilgrim. “(We) just stay focused and not having jitters or thoughts on anything. Just leaving it all out there on the field.”
The Oly’s mounted a comeback against the NorCal Rage-Wood, coming back from 6-1 down to win 8-7 off a walk-off hit by incoming Blanchet Catholic sophomore Regan Rasmussen. Greyson Glivinski had a team-high two hits in the Friday evening game while Melena led the Oly’s with 2RBI’s.
Genevieve Osburg had 3RBI’s in the two games and Houts led the Oly’s with four hits in the two games.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald