By Jeremy Mcdonald
ALBANY, Ore.– the West Albany softball team settled in following a tough three-run first inning against Dallas. Keeping the aggressive bats of the Dragons to a Ava Woods single in the second, a Kaelyn Golden double in the third and a Grace Walls walk in the fourth with the Bulldogs looking to get back into the game in their Mid-Willamette Conference opener Saturday evening at home.
They minimize the little things during this stretch of Dallas’ 12-0 victory, the squads first game in over a week due to the weather, as they continue to work on the mental side of the game and build upon it as they embark on the remainder of their MWC conference play.
“The two innings after the first we did really good about holding them because they didn’t score. After that, errors started happening, it was hard to keep our heads up. The mental side of the sport is the hardest part of it. Our communication, we’re going to work on that in practice and keep our heads up and the mental side of the game…that’s what it ultimately comes down to. We were keeping up and we were doing good. It’s not a skill issue, we just mentally keep ourselves up and keep our teammates up,” West Albany pitcher McKenzie West said.
In a game in which it felt like it’ll come down to that mental game with West Albany getting base runners in the first, third and fourth innings. The latter saw Kylie Carapinha reach third off a Fielder’s Choice and a Kylee Baumgartner single to threatened the shutout in what was a 3-0 game still, a quick Kadence Morrison single and a two-run Home Run by Golden to start the fifth inning seemed to firmly plant momentum in favor of the Dragons. What followed was a four-run inning that saw Dallas build upon those two early inning hits that carried to their defense in the bottom half of the inning.
The fatigue was there from their 6-0 win over Corvallis on Friday, they had to be resilient out there and battle through.
“Even when your tired, you just have to power through it and make things the best that you can,” Golden said. “West Albany isi pretty good, they have really good players so once we started getting going, we knew that we had it. Never let up and always keep pushing through every game, even if they get hectic.”
The Dragons added five more runs in the top of the sixth and closed out the game the next half inning with Dallas heading to Crescent Valley Monday and the Bulldogs heading down the road to Lebanon the same day to play the Warriors.
Serena Hattori, Baumgartner and Kidd each had a hit for West Albany with West striking out three in the defeat. Morrison struck out eight for the Dragons as Morrison and Madi Ruman each collected three hits in the process. Ruman led all hitters with 3RBI’s in the win for Dallas.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald