By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
Coming out of the loser’s bracket, the NW Vandals had to beat the team that put them there to win the 14A Western National Championship, and they had to do it twice.
But the Vandals also couldn’t get too far ahead of themselves.
First, they had to knock off the Nor Cal Legends to get another shot at the Colorado Angels.
Playing in Medford on Sunday, Aug. 5, the Vandals shut out the Legends 8-0 to advance to the finals.
Abbi Covalt, a sophomore at McNary, was 2-for-3 at the plate as the Vandals scored three runs in the first inning and five in the fourth.
Maison Searle, a sophomore at West Salem, drove in three runs with a double and home run.
Reagan Davis, another West Salem sophomore, also hit a home run.
Kamden Combs, of Philomath, pitched all five innings, allowing only three hits.
The Vandals jumped on Colorado right away in game one, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning. They then added two runs in the sixth and six in the seventh to win 12-3 and force a winner-take-all game two.
Tied 0-0 with two outs and a runner at first base in the top of the sixth, Covalt singled to left field.
Kami Gibson and Bella Fleener then hit back-to-back RBI singles, scoring Davis and Covalt to give the Vandals a 2-0 lead. Gibson then finished off the Angels in the circle, holding them to just two hits over seven innings.
The tournament featured 16 teams from Oregon, Colorado, California, Washington and Nevada.
The Vandals will hold tryouts for next season at South Salem High School on Saturday, Aug. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to field 14A and 16A softball teams. For more information or to register online, go to nwvandals.com.