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Day: April 15, 2014

Baseball team rebounds from losses, beat Lions

Celt Mickey Walker delivers a pitch in McNary’s game with  Newberg High School Wednesday, April 2. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Celt Mickey Walker delivers a pitch in McNary’s game with Newberg High School Wednesday, April 2. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Late innings were not kind to the McNary High School varsity baseball team last week.

The Celtics lost a 4-3 contest to Newberg High School when the Tigers put up a three-run seventh inning Wednesday, April 2. A 8-7 loss to Oregon City High School in 10 innings followed on Thursday, April 3. The team bounced back and took a win over West Linn High School Monday, April 7.

“The games last week were ones that we thought were winnable, but it came down to missing opportunities that would have made the difference. We were relying on offense production only part of the game and it wasn’t working,” said Larry Keeker, McNary head coach.

McNary had as much as a 3-1 lead against Newberg before the wheels came off. The first McNary run came when Travis Klampe scored on a ground out by Connor Suing in the bottom of the third inning. Jordan Barchus made it 2-0 by scoring on a Jacob Wood sacrifice fly.

Newberg shrunk the lead to 2-1 with a run in the top of the sixth inning, but Celt Jacob Vasas scored on a single by Tristan Mistkawi to keep the team ahead 3-1 in the bottom of the frame. Timely hits by Newberg lifted the team over McNary.

Klampe led at the plate going 2 for 2 with an RBI and a run scored. Mickey Walker pitched five innings with seven strikeouts and four hits.

Against Oregon City, McNary battled back from a 2-0 deficit, but the Pioneers paced the Keizer team throughout the game.

The Pioneers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, but McNary responded with five runs in the top of the sixth.

Suing got things started with a bunt and beat the throw to first. Barchus singled, and Suing made it to third on the play. Connor Goff singled scoring Suing, and pinch runner Ben Cummings took over for him at first base. Hayden Gosling drew a walk that loaded the bases and Barchus scored when Klampe was hit with a pitch. Wood put a sacrifice fly in the air and reached first on an error while scoring Cummings. Tim Hays scored Gosling on another sacrifice fly, and Mistkawi singled to bring Klampe home. The teams exited the field on a pop fly to centerfield by Suing, but the Celts had a 5-2 lead.

Oregon City came back to the plate and scored five runs of its own keeping their two-run lead.

A two-RBI double by Gosling in the top of the seventh knotted the game at 7-7, and locked the teams in a stalemate for two innings.

A Goff single put Celt Mickey Walker on third in scoring position with two outs at the top of the 10th, but a ground out to first base ended the team’s stand. A wild pitch by Suing in the bottom of the frame put the Pioneers in a winning position with a man on third and a single by Oregon City’s Jalen Satter brought in the go-ahead run.

Barchus had the most productive day at the plate, going 2 for 5 with a RBI and two runs scored. Klampe pitched five innings with six strikeouts, and four runs on two hits. Suing pitched four innings with four runs on five hits and five strikeouts.

In the West Linn game, Keeker said it was as though a different team had taken the field.

“We had our best overall performance this season in terms of pitching defense and offense. We executed sacrifice bunts, squeeze bunts, we had RBI base hits that were crucial. And Jordan (Barchus) pitched a dandy of a game.,” he said.

Barchus allowed only five hits in a complete game effort, but Keeker said it was first-pitch strikes that made the difference. Barchus had 10 of them.

“We have to throw strike one early in the count, if we do it makes it all a lot easier,” Keeker said.

McNary had a 2-1 lead at the top of the third, but the Lions tied it in the bottom of the fourth.

“Our offense did a good job of putting the ball in play against a better-than-average pitcher. It was a matter of getting the timing down, and the entire team did a good job of adjusting,” Walker said.

Lion pitcher Kramer Lindell has already signed on with the University of Washington Huskies to continue his career this fall.

After a scoreless inning on both sides of the field, Wood took a base when he was hit by a pitch in the second at-bat of the inning. Mistkawi singled to centerfield putting McNary runners at first and second. A Hays single to right field scored Wood and moved Mistkawi to third. Cole Thomas came in as a courtesy runner for Hays at first.

“Our offense came together and played a complete game. We didn’t do that last week and it bit us in the butt,” Barchus said.

Gosling drew a walk loading the bases, and a single by Suing brought Mistkawi home. Walker bunted and scored Thomas for the final run of the inning and a 5-2 lead. The Celts added their final run in the next inning when Mistkawi doubled to drive in Goff for the 6-2 win.

Both Walker and Barchus were anticipating how the team’s new momentum might drive it heading into the Central Valley Conference games.

“If our team plays up to our potential we can do great things and this week I really want to see if we can continue the momentum,” Walker said.

Parks grant program is detailed

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Coming up with the matching grant program was step one.

On Tuesday, members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board hashed out details.

In February, chair Brandon Smith proposed using the money the board gets each year as a matching grant program to help citizens get parks projects done. In recent years the Parks Board has had $20,000 to spend. This year’s amount will be determined during the annual budget process, which starts early next month.

The idea behind Smith’s program is proponents of qualified projects would see their contribution towards a project matched. For example, a group willing to put in $500 worth of labor for a project could receive $500 in equipment in a matching grant.

“We’re trying to define the program,” Smith said at Tuesday’s meeting. “Nothing is set in stone yet. We want to create a public-private partnership, to improve the quality of the park system. Instead of dedicating budget to one or two projects, we want to leverage those limited funds to engage motivated residents to work on parks they are most familiar with.”

Smith envisions groups or individuals submitting projects.

“Hopefully we’ll have a number of proposals to look at,” he said.

The program is modeled after a similar program in Salem. Richard Walsh shared those details, with Smith pointing out parts he wanted to differ on.

“Salem has a lot of red tape with their process, a two-year process,” Smith said. “I want to avoid that. My thought is we’ll have the budget ready July 1, so let’s do it this summer.”

Parks Board members agreed there shouldn’t be a minimum or maximum amount for the projects, though the cost couldn’t exceed the Parks Board budget.

“I don’t see why we should have a minimum,” Roland Herrera said.

When Smith and Herrera presented the idea to the Keizer City Council last month, mayor Lore Christopher opined projects should be limited to ones already in park master plans.

“My personal opinion is that’s a pretty big limitation,” Smith said. “There could be a significant number of things not in a master plan like a guy mowing on the weekends who wants a few bucks for gas. Or there could be an Eagle Scout project not necessarily in a master plan. Perhaps a consideration could be additional weight given to a master plan project.”

One of the main questions during discussion was whether project applications would be looked at once a year, once a quarter or each month. Part of Walsh’s reason for asking was he wanted to know what would happen if the money was exhausted halfway through the year, leaving no funds available for projects coming up later.

“I envision this being on the agenda each month,” Smith said. “Maybe we have one (qualified project) next month, but a better one comes in the next month. This first year, simple, let’s see how it goes. If something like that happens, maybe we amend it and do it quarterly next year.”

Another timing question regarded whether projects would have to be completed within a certain amount of time. William Criteser suggested applicants be asked to give approximate start and end dates.

“I like the idea of lighting a fire under people,” Tanya Hamilton said.

Smith suggested the grant application include the name of the organization or individual applying, contact information, a short project name, a project description including labor and materials needed, an estimated completion timeframe, involvement of volunteers, impact on the community and if recognition is requested.

Public Works Director Bill Lawyer asked if city staff would be purchasing materials, or if project requestors would buy equipment and get reimbursed by the city.

“For goods $5,000 or less, city staff can just go purchase things,” Lawyer said. “Is the city going to provide materials or provide the funding? If we provide the funding, we would need to set up a criteria of how we’re going to give them the money. If we purchase, it can be simpler. The reimbursement process is a much stronger process. We can hold onto the materials.”

Smith acknowledged that might be necessary just to protect funding assets.

“That brings up a good point: what if we fund a project that never gets done?” Smith said. “What if somebody wants to build a fence, has the city buy $3,000 in material for them and it doesn’t become a fence. We don’t have any recourse at that point.”

Lawyer championed the idea of making the program one of reimbursement.

“I cannot think of a grant program that is not reimbursement,” he said. “A project needs to be completed before we can submit for reimbursement. If we set it up as reimbursement, we can guarantee the project will get done. The other thing is, with this grant program you’re stewards of the money. Reimbursement is probably being the best steward.”

Parks Board members agreed unanimously to make the program one with reimbursement.