Ridgeview High welcomed home its first state champion softball team — and the first in the sport for any Central Oregon school — with a rally Tuesday at the school.

The Ravens earned the Class 5A championship with a 5-1 victory June 1 against Dallas, ending the 2019 season 24-2.

“I’ve been here four years,” senior team captain Natalie Hill said after the rally in the Ridgeview gym. “To actually accomplish it — it’s so fun to get to be here.”

Hill’s teams won the Intermountain Conference all four years, but the Ravens’ postseason run was cut short in the first round of the playoffs as a freshman and the quarterfinals the last two seasons.

The four-time all-IMC player (the last three on the first team), said the best part of the ride was the sisterhood with her teammates.

IMC Coach of the Year Sandy Fischer credited her players and staff, which includes former Oregon Ducks softball star Marnie McCall Fisk and former Portland State player and Texas-El Paso assistant coach Aubrey Nitschelm, with getting them to the top.

“As you can see, this was not me,” Fischer told the parents, students and staff in attendance. “This was a group of very dedicated people who saw tremendous potential in these young ladies. We put it to them very early that they can win a championship, and we would never say that if we really didn’t believe it.”

The Ravens even got a shout out during a recent ESPN Women’s College World Series broadcast. Redmond School District athletic director Kevin Bryant said that, during a game involving Oklahoma State, announcers mentioned that Fischer, a former Cowgirls coach, would be bringing her high school team to the state championship game.

In the title game, IMC Pitcher of the Year Allicitie Frost continued her strong work, striking out 15 batters in the victory at Jane Sanders Stadium at the University of Oregon. Frost also played on the Ravens volleyball team, which lost in the state title game earlier this school year.

After Ridgeview did not get a hit the first time through the order, Sage McVay got the offense going with a triple in the bottom of the third inning. Hill drove McVay in, while Marley Sargent drove in two more runs in the inning.

Lorena Vasquez capped the scoring with a two-run home run in the fourth inning.

Ridgeview reached the championship game for the first time with a 5-3 May 28 victory against West Albany in the semifinals.

The title represents the second sports state championship for Ridgeview, which opened for the 2012-13 school year. The Ravens won the 2013 Class 4A state football title (the school also won state band that year).

With Frost and several other all-league players expected back, Hill hopes Ridgeview can add another banner to the gym in 2020.

“It will definitely be hard, but they have a good enough team to do it,” she said.

After the Redmond High boys tennis team ended a six-year drought for team sports titles for Redmond schools on May 18, the Ravens softball team claimed the second championship for the district in two weeks. The two teams, along with Ridgeview state individual champion golfer Isaac Buerger, are scheduled to be honored with a downtown parade starting at 5 p.m. Thursday. It will start at the corner of NW Sixth Street and Birch Avenue, and will move south down Sixth to SW Glacier Avenue, where it will turn west and end at Redmond High.

— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@redmondspokesman.com

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