By Jeremy McDonald
DALLAS, Ore.– It’s been a crazy year for Dallas freshman Grace Walls.
At the beginning of the year, the frosh was down on the JV level of the Dragons softball program and adjusting to the grueling task of adjusting to the High School game while being apart of one of 5A’s top teams. Having played in the Lady Dragons Fastpitch travel softball team, Walls and her teammates were introduced to some high standards that had helped the Dallas outfielder entering her first year at the High School-level.
“It’s run super well,” Walls said of the Fastpitch program. “It’s super enjoyable. It feels like a family throughout the years with the Dallas Dragons. It feels like a family, you feel loved and it’s really good. They put a lot of pressure on us, but it’s good pressure. It makes us improve.”
When an unfortunate knee injury occurred to Katie Bucholz around the time of Dallas’ first game with Lebanon in late-April, Walls was one of the few people they tried out in place for the injured sophomore. Eventually the called-up Walls got the job and has helped the Dragons since. Dallas will be heading to the 5A State Semi-Finals Monday at Pendleton High School to play the Buckaroos for a spot in the 5A State Championship Game Saturday at Jane Sanders Stadium in Eugene.
It’s been difficult, sure, being a frosh being put into a Varsity lineup and expected to perform. But Walls has adjusted and continues to improve as the season has gone on.
“It was a bit difficult, but I’m kind of happy about it. It’s something new to try out and it’s a huge thing to be a first-year, High School freshman going up to play with the Varsity,” Walls said. “I think I’ve adjusted pretty well. I’m still kind of new so I’m getting used to it. But I think I’m doing pretty well so far.
“It’s fun. I enjoy softball and I’ve played it my whole life and just being here with the people I care about, it’s fun. I enjoy it.”
As for the pressure’s of the game on Tuesday, first pitch scheduled for 4pm in Pendleton, and knowing what is at stake, the biggest thing that Walls points out is for them just to relax. It’s just another game.
“Just play like we’re used to (playing). Just don’t stress mostly and just relax. It’s just another game,” Walls said smiling.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald