Boys routed 10-1 by Grizzlies
By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
It was going to be a grind no matter how they cut it.
After surging to a play-in game win, the McNary High School varsity baseball team drew McMinnville High School (23-7), the No. 1 team out of the Pacific Conference, for the first round of the state playoff tournament Monday, May 23.
The Celts fell 10-1 ousting the team from the playoff brackets. Missing their starting pitcher, McNary sent Justin Burgess to the mound and Burgess responded to the challenge keeping the Grizzlies scoreless through three innings.
“Justin has been getting better and better throughout the season. He’s got tremendous natural ability, god velocity and a really good breaking ball, he just hasn’t had much experience,” said Larry Keeker, McNary head coach.
When the Grizzlies unloaded for four runs in the fourth inning, Garren Robinett relieved Burgess to end the inning. Robinett struggled in the fifth and handed the ball off to DJ Harryman as the Grizzlies doubled their lead to 8-0. Harryman and Travis Marks held McMinnville to two runs in the sixth, and the Celtics scraped out their only run in the top of the seventh.
McNary won, 11-4, a play-in game with Glencoe High School Tuesday, May 17, to clinch a spot in the playoffs.
Glencoe scored two runs in the first inning of that game on a pair of fielding errors, but the Celts responded with two of their own to knot the game at two apiece.
It didn’t look much better for McNary in the second inning as Glencoe put up two more runs, but again the Celts responded to tie the game at four.
A combination of figuring out Glencoe’s hitting strategy and McNary’s Spencer Rice battening down the hatches helped the Celts silence Crimson Tide bats.
“Glencoe is a very aggressive team at the plate and they were swinging at the fastball early in the count,” Keeker said.
“My fastball was moving and dipping in the first two innings so I started holding it differently they started hitting more ground balls and our infielders made plays,” Rice added.
Rice threw 86 pitches in the complete game effort. At the dish, Burgess walloped a double and a triple while Kyle Knight and Robinett notched doubles.
McNary ended the season with a record of 14-10, one of the best records for a boys team in the 2010-11 school year. The team will return more than half a dozen seniors next year. The team will lose catcher Jared Van Cleave, Knight and Rice to graduation.
Lady Celts fall 3-1 to Sunset
Of the Keizertimes
Jeff Auvinen, head coach of the McNary varsity softball team, expected the outcome of the Lady Celts first-round playoff game to come down to a battle of wills, but it didn’t have anything to do with the other team.
“This team is of the mind that they can turn it on and turn it off, I’m not of that opinion and we’ll see whose right,” Auvinen said of the Celts in advance of the game.
To the chagrin of all involved, Auvinen proved to be correct as the team was ousted from the playoffs in the first round, the result of a 3-1 loss to Sunset High School Tuesday, May 24.
McNary produced a mere four hits as the team struggled to dial in on the pitches of Sunset’s Jessie Moore. In the first six innings, the Celts managed to get only one runner on base.
McNary’s sole run was a homer by slugger Hailey Decker.
After finishing second in the Central Valley Conference, McNary had a week off from must-win games, but the teams performance during two non-conference games was what had Auvinen in such a quandary over the team’s playoff prospects.
“We didn’t pitch well, we didn’t hit well, we didn’t field well. We didn’t do much of anything very well,” he said.
McNary lost to West Albany High School 7-6 Tuesday, May 17, but squeaked out a 4-3 win over Cleveland High School the following day.
“We didn’t do as well as we wanted to in either game and I think we just got lucky against Cleveland,” said Celt Brook Ross. “Our biggest problem is consistency from inning-to-inning and game-to-game.”
The Bulldogs leapt out to a 4-0 lead in the first two innings, but McNary clawed its way back into the game with a single run in the third and two more in the fifth. At the top of the seventh, McNary trailed 5-3 when Decker blasted a three-run homer that lifted the team over West Albany, 6-5.
“Hailey had a huge day and kept us in it,” Auvinen said.
Decker went four for four at the plate with four RBIs.
A dropped throw allowed two Bulldog runs to score sealed McNary’s fate in the seventh.
“We probably should have won that game, it just ame down to a mental error,” Auvinen said.
Cleveland’s batters got the better of Celt pitcher Jordyn Hanson in early innings and a numerous fielding errors added to hemorrhaging of Warrior runs.