Vale Vikings cage Panthers for 12-2 win

Vale second baseman Morgan Hager makes the throw to first baseman Sydnee Thomas to complete the double play in the loss to Yamhill-Carlton on Wednesday, March 28. The Vikings were without two starters due to spring break. (The Enterprise/John L. Braese)

VALE – After a tough preseseason schedule led to four losses, the Vale softball team found win No. 1 with a 12-2 victory over Parma on Monday.

The Vikings led the entire game, with Demia Hardin on the mound limiting the Panthers on both hits and runs.

In windy conditions, both teams found handling the ball a chore, and there were errors on both sides.

“Even discounting the wind, we still have some things to work on,” said Vale coach Darin Johnson. “Demia pitched well and we made some adjustments in this game.”

The game also allowed Johnson to move some people around and have some people on the bench grab playing time.

“It was nice to get some people in the game and get some real playing time,” said Johnson. “We have some work to do, but we are getting there.”

The win followed a spring break loss to Yamhill-Carlton on Wednesday, March 28.

Missing both Izzy Sigrah and Sierra Cleaver, the Vikings were able to remain close to the visiting Yamhill-Carlton team before watching the Tigers score 5 runs late in the game and walk away with a 6-0 victory.

The Tigers scored off a Vale error in the top of the second inning for the early 1-0 lead. From there, neither team could cross home plate until the top of the fifth inning.

Yamhill-Carlton opened the inning with a single and a bunt advanced the Tiger runner to second. A double from the next batter scored two runs and a sacrifice fly put the Tigers ahead, 4 to 0.

Vale’s hope for the victory quickly disappeared in the top of the seventh as Yamhill-Carlton’s Megan Gaibler blasted a two-run homer deep over the center field fence. That gave the Tigers the final runs of the game and a 6-0 victory.

“I am proud of the girls,” said Johnson. “On defense, we had a few mental mistakes while on offense, we just need to make a few adjustments. We are overthinking ourselves when we get up to the bat.”

Demia Hardin went the distance for the Vikings on the mound, allowing nine hits with just a single walk and striking out five Tiger batters.

Offensively, Gracee Jacobs had two singles for Vale and stole three bases.

“I would rather play like we did today and lose and they play down and win,” Johnson said. 

Vale (1-4 overall) is on the road this Friday to start the Special District 2 season. 

The Vikings travel to Joseph to take on the combined team of Enterprise/Joseph/Wallowa (3-3 overall) for two games. Vale is home next Tuesday, April 10, hosting Nyssa (3-2 overall) at 5 p.m. 

With the season still young, the combined team of Grant Union/Dayville/Prairie City is undefeated with a perfect 7-0 starting record and ranked second in the state polls.

Nyssa and Enterprise/Wallowa/Joseph are both ranked above the Vikings as the league season kicks off across the state this week.