By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It’s just another day pitching for South Salem’s Rowan Thompson. Putting in a six inning, 14-strikeout, one-hitter performance Monday afternoon at the Labor Day Classic/Alliance Qualifier Tournament before heading to volleyball practice later in the afternoon. Leading the NW Vandals Vasas/Scott 18G squad to the Tournament Title Game behind that performance against the Washington Ladyhawks.
The lone hit that Thompson surrendered was to Corvallis’ Holland Jensen in the top half of the fifth inning. What was weird, and credit Thompson’s work on staying with it through the Summer into the first Fall tournament of the year, was that the Vandals were trailing for much of the game due to a few defensive mistakes in the opening inning of the game.
“It was absolutely the biggest thing. I was like, ‘if I’m going to do anything. I’m going to stay in this game mentally’. After that first inning, I had an error, I knew that was on me and I had to pick up my team after that no matter how I could. I had a double, I knew I had to find a way to get this,” Thompson starts. “And I had my team pick me up with the bats. That was crucial especially against a team like this who’s good.”
Consistency pitching is something that Thompson, who was a first-team All-Mountain Valley Conference pitcher this past season as a sophomore, has been working on.her offense as a back-up. Becoming more a two-way player going 9-for-14 with 5RBI’s and two Home Runs in the first six games of the tournament.
“It’s been really big this weekend especially,” Thompson starts. “I’ve hit decent so I’ve been able to…I feel like I’m contributing both ways. Last night I struggled pitching, it was a rough night but I was able to pick up my team with the bats and score some crucial runs there.
“The biggest thing I’m working on this year is staying as close to the zone as possible with my misses being competitive. Like my misses being as close to the zone as possible. No pass balls and consistency. Like if it’s going to miss, it’s going to miss by an inch off the plate…that’s my goal.”
The Saxons went 19-8 in 2022 and reached the second round of the 6A Postseason.before falling to eventual State Champions in Tigard 2-0. In three games pitching this weekend, Thompson pitched 12 innings with 26 strikeouts.