By Jeremy McDonald
NEWBERG, Ore.– After receiving first team All-Conference as a sophomore in the 2A/1A Special District 3 league, Jefferson’s Nayeli Hart has been back at it this Summer in preparation for her junior season as Hart played the Summer with the West Salem Titans 16U squad.
Sunday was their final game of the Summer season, a day after Hart led the Titans to a 5-1 victory with a five inning, seven-strikeout performance in the squad’s first bracket game of the 16/18U 2022 NAFA National Championship Bracket at Yamhill-Carlton High School. Hart pointed towards facing better hitters and working on locating her pitches over the off-season of work for the Lions pitcher.
“I got better experience with better teams. It was fun, I like traveling and playing with aggressive girls and being competitive,” Hart said. “Pitching wise, for pitching, it’s going to help me because there’s better girls at bat and smart ways to pitch at because these girls are good hitters. One wrong move and it’s out of here, so you got to be smart.”
What was fun, as the Summer slate drew to a close for everyone, was the opportunity to play with a familiar face for Hart as Zoe Moore picked up with the team. And despite her transferring to Blanchet Catholic going into this Fall, it was still fun to have one more game to play with another.
“We’ve played since we were little, it’s been a long time,” Hart said.
“It’s amazing, especially playing with Nayeli again. We haven’t played together in club since 12U, so it felt awesome to play with her,” adds Moore. “It felt nice getting back onto the field with a couple of the girls that I know. It was just amazing to get back onto the field.”
In the Titans tough 5-3 defeat to the NW Elite 16U-Botefur squad Sunday, Moore went 1-for-1 with 2RBI’s while catching behind the plate, a big area of focus for Blanchet going into this next Spring with Alexis Jensen graduating. Moore also spent some time in right field as well as she collected three hits and 2RBI’s on the weekend.
A fun experience for sure she points to knocking off the rust again and getting back onto the field.
“It felt amazing getting back out there again and being able to play, compete. Play some outfield, get back into catching, it felt awesome,” Moore said.
The West Salem duo of Mia Zachary and Kaylee Nicholson each had a hit in the game Sunday, Zachary also drove in an RBI in Sunday’s finale.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald