We acknowledge things take time. After all, people say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The process of building a competitive team isn’t something that happens overnight. Breakthroughs somethings come suddenly but are processes that often go unnoticed, as people generally only pay attention once success has arrived.
And so it is for the Bandon softball team, which is building from irrelevance to competitiveness under Brandon Gallagher.
“It’s a young team,” Gallagher said. “I’m excited for this year. I really am. I think we have a good shot.”
Take last week’s result against first-place Toledo, for instance.
Toledo consistently handled the Tigers in previous years. The Boomers were 2-0 last year against Bandon by a combined score of 26-2. But outside of a big inning late, Bandon was step-for-step with Toledo last week before finally falling 10-4.
“The last two years’ we’ve gotten our butts handed to us by Toledo,” Gallagher said. “I love (Toledo coach) Howie (Richards) and Toledo’s a good team, so he’s usually really nice when he plays us and tries not to run the score up. So for us to go 10-4 and hold them within six and all those came in the seventh (is encouraging).”
It is encouraging, truly.
The bottom of the seventh might be the most encouraging part of the loss.
Toledo took a 5-3 game and blew it open with contagious hitting that all but decided the result with three outs to play, but Bandon didn’t bail.
It’s easy to mentally walk away from a game that was close for six-plus innings then have to hit one last time with the result seemingly out of reach. It’s easy to pack all your gear up and simply wait for the conclusion of the contest, knowing deep down there’s nothing you can do.
Bandon didn’t do that. It used its at-bats and its last three outs to at least try to mount a comeback, an attitude that, among other things, has been lacking in the Tigers dugout.
The Tigers, who still sit in second place in the 2A/1A Special District 4, lashed three straight singles to start the last frame, the last of which from Bella Erenfeld scored a run.
It was all Bandon got in the frame and it didn’t do much to change the result, but it was something, one of the blocks initially set to begin building something like a city, which isn’t built overnight.
“This is a realization point,” said Bandon pitcher Avery Pounder, who threw a no-hitter against Gold Beach on Tuesday. “We’ve won every game, and once we’ve started playing good teams, we know what we need to get done.”
That building is still coming along.
Bandon rebounded from the loss last week with an 11-2 win over Gold Beach on Tuesday, demonstrating a resilience in the group that will allow it to keep improving as the freshmen-laded group ages and gains experience and confidence.
“I have a young team,” Gallagher said. “It’s a learning experience.”
Angelina Moronos had two hits and scored two runs in the win over Gold Beach. Alyssa Duennos reached base all four times with two walks and two grounders that became fielder's choices, and scored three runs. Dedra Foster had two hits, two walks and two RBIs.
Pounder had a two-run single among her two hits against Toledo.
Bandon visits Reedsport on Friday and hosts Siletz Valley on Tuesday.