The McNary High School varsity softball team racked up 56 runs and allowed just seven in three games last week.
Sprague, McKay and North Salem high schools were victims of the Lady Celts’ offensive onslaught, but it wasn’t enough to carry the team to victory over the league-leading South Salem Saxons Monday, May 5.
The Celts lost to the Saxons for the third time this season, 11-4. The good news for McNary was the team more than doubled its hits over the team’s last contest.
“For us, the big games this week are West Salem and Sprague,” said Kevin Wise, McNary head coach. “Those games will have a lot more impact on where we finish in the league.”
The Titans and Olys were tied for second in the Central Valley Conference. McNary was a game behind them with the loss to South, but the team has the second-highest power ranking in the league.
A 12-0 win over Sprague Monday, April 28 was the Keizer team’s first victory of last week (covered in last week’s Keizertimes). The second-place Olys eked out a 13-12 win in the teams’ first contest earlier in the season.
“The girls wanted a little bit of revenge, but it was the pitching and defense that came along and kept the game out of reach,” Wise said. “After that, it just steamrolled.”
McNary cruised to a 23-0 win over McKay High School Tuesday, April 29. The Celtics put together back-to-back, nine-run innings in the first and second and Madi Oliver pitched a two-hitter throwing 12 first-pitch strikes against 17 batters.
In the first inning, Kimi Ito was the first to score on a ground out by Oliver. Villarreal doubled to left field scoring Dani Saunders. Ulrey turned a double into a triple on a fielding mishap and plated Kailey Fritts, who was running for Villarreal. Hannah Carr singled to score Ulrey. Another single by Ito scored Jordyn Tutor and Kinsey McNaught. Saunders tripled to score Ito and Oliver.
Carr, Ulrey and Ito ended the game with four RBIs each. Ito went 4 for 5 with two doubles. Oliver went 3 for 4 with a double.
The North Salem Vikings put up the biggest fight of McNary’s opponents. The Lady Celts’ lead was shaved to 4-1 in the bottom of the third, but a seven-run fifth inning put ample breathing room between the two teams.
Even if he hadn’t emerged as the state champion soloist in euphonium playing, McNary High School’s Tom Janssen certainly went into the state competition with the right attitude.
“After I played, I would have been happy either way. It was the first time I played such a tough piece in competition,” said Janssen, a junior.
The piece, Pantomime by Philip Sparke, had just about everything a performer could hope for.
“It has a slow section, a fast section and some in-between parts that work well to show what can be done with the instrument,” Janssen said. “ It’s a piece that is written to win, and I was really proud of the performance.”
Janssen took second place in the same competition last year, and faced many of the same players this time around. He came out on top with a total of 913 points and was the only representative of a Salem-Keizer school to claim a top spot. His closest competitior scored 903.
The euphonium, which on sight looks something like a small, reconfigured tuba, was first developed in the 1840s. It’s featured most prominently in bands. Janssen had a few years under his belt with the trumpet before becoming a euphonist. The switch was prompted by difficulty with the trumpet after getting braces, which he no longer sports.
“The mouth piece is bigger and it isn’t pushing against the braces,” he said.
Before turning to brass instruments, Janssen started on the piano and that made the transition even easier.
“I knew both clefs because of piano lessons and it was just a matter of transposing the music,” Janssen said.
In addition to duties with the marching band, the jazz band and his solo performances, Janssen got the opportunity to fulfill another goal last fall. He played in the orchestra pit during the Celtic production of Urinetown.
“My understanding is that euphonium players don’t get to play in the pit very often. It’s a lot more fluid because you are accompanying the performers, but it was a lot of fun,” Janssen said.
Between three instruments, Janssen spends much of his time outside of school practicing on his own or taking private lessons.
“I don’t keep track of how much time I spend practicing,” he said. “I like getting a piece of music and just practicing until it’s as musical as it can be.”
That dedication earned him a state title, and now he gets to take a well-deserved bow.
In addition to Janssen, McNary’s Jeremy Morrison took second in trumpet, Hannah Raschko took third in trombone and Hyrum Kohler took fourth in viola.