EUGENE -- After 23 seasons as the softball coach at Oklahoma State, Sandy Fischer was reluctant to come out of retirement and start a new high school program at Ridgeview of Redmond in 2013.
“I turned them down a couple of times,” Fischer said. “But I had some very persistent parents that asked me to apply for the job.”
Six years later, Fischer and the Ravens are standing at the mountaintop.
Behind junior pitcher Allicitie Frost, top-seeded Ridgeview dispatched No. 7 Dallas 5-1 in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 5A final Saturday at the University of Oregon.
Frost pitched a five-hitter with 15 strikeouts and two walks and had two of her team’s six hits as the Ravens finished the season 24-2. Quarterfinalists the last two seasons, they climbied to another level in 2019.
“We’ve been much better,” Frost said. “I think it’s more that we’re complete. The chemistry this year, I just saw that we could make it all the way."
The Ravens attributed much of their rise to the expertise of Fischer, who took the reins and molded a collection of talent that was fostered by assistant coaches Rick George and Shane Nakamura.
“It’s a really nice blend,” Fischer said. “We don’t have the population in central Oregon where we can pick and choose. We have two high schools in a small town, so it makes it harder. I think it’s the dedication of the staff, and it’s totally the dedication of these kids buying in this year.”
Count Frost, who as a sophomore transferred from Bend to Ridgeview, as among those who bought what Fischer has been selling.
“She means a lot to us,” Frost said. “We’re so close to her. We’re so lucky to have her. She pushes us hard every day. I love her so much.”
In Saturday’s game, Frost and Dallas senior pitcher Kaelynn Simmons were in a scoreless duel until the Ravens began to hit in their second time through the order.
Ridgeview scored three runs on four hits in the third inning, getting an RBI single from senior Natalie Hill and a two-run double from sophomore Marley Sargent.
The Ravens made it 5-0 an inning later when senior catcher Lorena Vasquez hit a towering drive over the left-field fence for a two-run homer. The team’s No. 9 hitter, Vasquez had not hit a homer all season until connecting in the semifinals and final.
“She’s been working all year for that moment,” Frost said of Vasquez. “She didn’t get that many at-bats this season, and just coming in clutch these two games, it’s just a big deal for her. I’m so proud of her.”
Said Vasquez: “I’ve been struggling, no doubt. It was nice to be up and just go into the batter’s box being more comfortable and not stressing about, ‘Oh, I’ve got to get this so we can get on the board.’”
Frost took it home from there, giving up only an RBI single to sophomore Madeline Doig in the sixth inning.
Frost grew up in Redmond, attended Bend as a freshman to play with her sister, Montessah, and came back to join many of her former classmates at Ridgeview.
“We were blessed to get her last year,” Fischer said. “She’s worked really hard. She got her pitches right over the winter, and added some confidence in a couple different pitches, the changeup in particular.”
Dallas (23-6), going for its first title, entered on a 15-game winning streak but managed just five hits off Frost, two by Doig.