Enjoying The Game

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

SALEM, Ore.–  The rain was slowly creeping into Salem and Wallace Marine Park Saturday afternoon as the Summer Travel Softball season kicked off the 16A/18A Memorial Day Salem Invitational.

West Salem soon-to-be-grad Meaghan Boyles stopped by the Oregon Bombers 16A team, waiting for her team the Salem Aftershock, to roll on in for their 1pm game to start Pool Play on this rainy day.  Supporting teammate Ava Pilgrim for a moment before joining her team.

It was weird, technically old enough to be a junior, having been done with High School a year earlier than the rest of her class.  Senior Day a year early was different for sure as she, and freshman Braeli Martin, split time in the pitching circle this past season with the Titans.

“It’s a little weird because I wasn’t really expecting it until (this past) January when I decided to graduate (early), but I still got a Senior Night,” smiled Boyles about this past year.  “(This year) was really fun.  We got along better than most teams I’ve ever been on.  We really clicked as a team.

“Even though we were younger, we showed a lot of potential and it was fun.”

Boyles delivers a pitch at South Salem this past Spring. Boyles will be graduating early from West Salem this year (Picture by Jeremy McDonald)

West Salem went 12-15 in 2022 with a 6-8 record in the Mountain Valley Conference.

Boyles will be heading to Chemeketa in the Fall and eventually will head to Oregon State University with aspirations to become a Forensic Biologist.  Going down the road of Biology with an emphasis in Genetics.

“It’s really interesting.  I’ve been interested in doing something with crime, but I don’t think I have a strong enough heart to see the crimes.  So I wanted to do something to help in some way,” Boyles said.

Softball has meant a lot to Boyles, and having two more Summers to play the game she loves is a plus despite Saturday’s games getting rained out midday before the Aftershock could get their first game in.  But the squad will be back at it Sunday at Wallace Marine Park.

“I think the past few years it’s been about enjoying it because I knew I wasn’t going to play in College since I didn’t want to.  I’ve actually seen myself improve since then,” laughs Boyles.  “It’s actually been nice.  I’m going to play for two more Summers.

“(Softball) has meant a lot to me.  It’s been where I met most of my friends and I’ve gotten a lot of bonds in this sport.  It kind of made me who I am now.  It’s given me work ethic too.”

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