(This article was originally published on JMcDonaldMedia.com)
By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Western Christian/Salem Academy found themselves in an unique situation this year when they combined both teams as one.
Yes the eight girls from each school could’ve competed in a league at the 3A or 4A level just based on the combined school enrollment, the squad decided it was easier to go Independent as they wore their school colors on the same field as one.
“It’s going pretty good, we’re all kind of down that we can’t be in a league because we’re doing a lot better than we thought we would,” laughed the Pioneers Sydney Fahndrich. “But I think it’s going pretty well, we work pretty well together.
“Part of it is because we do click so well. We just work together, do our best and put all of our energy into it and hope we win.”
They picked up their sixth win Wednesday against Gervais 13-2 in a week in which they have four games in one week, having defeated Sheridan (20-1) and dropping a close game to Yamhill-Carlton (6-5) Tuesday with Amity Thursday.
For the Cougars, who sit tied for second in the 2A/1A Special District 2 standings with Santiam at 7-1, they gave their starting pitcher Vernonica Esquivel a rest with league opponent Delphian Thursday as Maribol Ayala saw some valuable experience Wednesday.
“Our goal is playoffs and going to State. Every practice we’re coming in and working hard and (Maribol) has been putting in pitching and fielding and I’m glad she was able to get some playing time. She did very good tonight, she held her own. It was on us, it was on the fielding part that we didn’t have her back as we should have,” said Gervais’ Abby Saalfeld.
But with the Dragons Thursday, it’s another opportunity to improve from the day before. Their mantra is ‘Big Dogs Out’ and with Delphian up next and Santiam Monday, Thursday is another opportunity to live up to that mantra.
“We’ve been preaching a lot on mental. Mental toughness and today we just really ddin’t show up with that and I definitely think that this was a wake-up call that everybody on this team…we know we can win,” said Saalfeld. “We have a really talented group of girls and I think tomorrow we’re just come out ‘Big dogs out’ and we’re going to do our best and I know at the end of the day I’m going to be proud of my team.”
Alexa Rutledge drove in the lone RBI for Gervais off a double in the fifth inning. Rutledge, Rutledge and Lex Luna all collected a hit each.
Lauren Wearne had four RBIs on 3-for-3 hitting. Sarah Halgen and Triston Brabson each drove in three RBIs each for Western Christian/Salem Academy.