EUGENE — Sage McVay was in shock as she gathered with Ridgeview teammates to take photos with the OSAA Class 5A state championship trophy.
The dream had become reality.
“It doesn’t feel real but I knew this was going to happen because we definitely deserve it,” McVay said after Ridgeview defeated Dallas 5-1 Saturday afternoon at the University of Oregon’s Jane Sanders Stadium. Ace pitcher Allicitie Frost struck out 15 batters as the Ravens claimed the school’s first state softball championship.
“Thinking back to January when we had those team meetings and talked about the steps to get to the state championship and what we needed to do in order to accomplish that and every milestone we accomplished, it feels good,” McVay gushed.
“I’ll remember this forever.”
After Ridgeview failed to get a hit off Dallas pitcher Kaelynn Simmons the first time through the lineup, McVay sparked the offense in the bottom of the third inning, tripling to center field.
“I was just trying to hit the ball,” McVay said. “I really didn’t expect it to go that far. I’d been struggling with dropping my back shoulder. I was really focused on that point and I wanted to get on board because when I get on board our team starts to rally. I needed a good base hit to show the team this is possible.”
Natalie Hill drove in Ridgeview’s first run, singling up the middle to score McVay from third.
“I think our energy was kind of lacking at first,” Hill said. “I think when she (McVay) got that (triple) we kind of settled into the game and being on a college field for the first time. It was really intimidating. It was kind of hard to bury your feelings. You have to push them down deep and play like it was any other game.”
Marley Sargent doubled to left field to drive in two more runs and give the Ravens a 3-0 lead after three innings.
That was all the run support Frost needed.
The Ridgeview junior allowed five hits and one run to go with those 15 strikeouts over seven innings.
“I’m truly honored to be here,” said Frost, who also had two of the Ravens’ six hits, including a double in the fifth inning. “It’s great to be at the Ducks field. It’s incredible. This is one field I’ve always wanted to play on.”
Ridgeview senior Lorena Vasquez extended the lead to 5-0 in the fourth inning with a two-run home run to left field.
“I was just looking for a pitch to drive,” Vasquez said. “There’s no better way to go out. This is the best. It’s almost unreal that it happened. I didn’t know if I wanted to cry. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Dallas scored its only run in the sixth inning, but Frost retired the Dragons 1-2-3 in the seventh, all by strikeout.
“Over the winter she really developed her change-up and drop,” Ridgeview coach Sandy Fischer said of Frost, who averaged 12 strikeouts per game during the playoffs. “Her goal is to go to college and play (NCAA) Division I and whoever gets her is going to be really lucky. She’s just so thirsty to learn. She’s going to be a pleasure for someone to coach at the next level. It takes a lot of work and she’s willing to do it.”
The Ravens, who finished the season 24-2, are the first Central Oregon softball team ever to win a state championship. That’s in any classification dating back to the OSAA’s first softball state championship in 1979.
“I’m grateful that all of their hard work paid off and that they bought in early,” Fischer said. “Anything we asked them to do, they did, and as a coaching staff you can’t ask for anything more.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0307, email@example.com