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Day: March 13, 2018

Celtics shut out in game one

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary’s baseball season got off to a rocky start.

The Celtics were held to one hit in an 11-0 five-inning loss to Roseburg on Monday, March 12.

“We need to get a lot better,” McNary head coach Larry Keeker said. “I thought our at bats weren’t that bad the first time through the lineup against this guy (Zack Mandera). I thought we had some pretty good AB’s out of guys. We just didn’t have much to show for it. We had some balls that were hit pretty well. We just missed them or hit them at people.”

The Celtics fell behind early after Roseburg scored four runs in the top of the first inning on a walk, three infield errors and a wild pitch.

McNary senior Collin Wentworth delivered the Celtics only hit of the game in the bottom of the first.

Senior Carl Rumbaugh, who started on the mound for McNary, walked and then hit a better to begin the second. A double them gave the Indians a 6-0 lead.

Rumbaugh’s first start of the season ended after pitching a scoreless third. He allowed four walks, two hits and recorded two strikeouts.

“Carl didn’t have a typical start,” Keeker said. “Usually he’s a lot more reliable in terms or being around the zone and obviously when he did get some ground balls for us, when you don’t make the plays, we’re giving them extra outs. The reality is we’re going to have to get much better on the hill and we can’t afford that many errors. So we’re going to have to play better defense. Our pitchers, they’re not the kind of staff that are going to strike a bunch of guys out so we have to play defense.”

McNary got a runner on base through a walk or hit by pitch in the second, third, fourth and fifth but couldn’t drive them home.

In relief, McNary senior Lance Becktel pitched a perfect fourth, getting two ground balls to Wentworth at shortstop and a fly ball to right field. But Becktel ran into trouble in the fifth, starting the inning by hitting a better and then allowing an infield single and base hit to left field.

Becktel got a ground ball to third for a force out at home but two more infield errors followed by two hits led to five more runs.

Robert Benson worked a one-out walk in the bottom of the fifth but the Celtics hit into a double play to end the game.

Mandera pitched all five innings for Roseburg.

“That pitcher that we faced has been a starting pitcher for them for three years and has been really good in their league,” Keeker said. “He wasn’t a guy that was dominant but he certainly was around the zone most of the time and he forces you to put the ball in play, which we did and they were just able to play defense behind him.

The Celtics are back home Friday, March 16 against Willamette.

“It was a disappointing start but there’s a long way to go,” Keeker said. “We’ll bounce back. I have confidence in these guys.”

 

Lady Celts in it to win it

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary’s goals are to repeat as Greater Valley Conference champions and then play for the 6A softball state championship at Oregon State University in June.

But in order to get there the Lady Celts will have to take it one game at a time.

“Last year we took it day-to-day and that’s where we want to focus again,” McNary head coach Kevin Wise said. “These girls are very driven and losing that (state quarterfinals) game last year, it’s been a thorn in their side since last year and they want to go all the way.”

The Lady Celts return seven starters from last season, including three seniors, Nadia Witt, Haley Ebner and Emma Kinler, who have all played on the varsity team since they were freshmen.

“All three of them are just super good kids,” Wise said. “They got up really early this morning (March 1) and all of the girls that made varsity, they went and kidnapped them and that’s how all the girls found out they made varsity and they all went out to breakfast. That’s the kind of senior leadership we have.”

Witt, who has signed with University of California, Riverside and was voted Greater Valley Conference Player of the Year in 2017 as well as First Team All-State, hit .600 last season with four home runs, 14 doubles, 28 RBIs and 38 runs.

“They were astronomical,” Wise said of Witt’s statistics. “Last year there was a little less pressure on her because we had her playing at shortstop her first couple of years and that’s not her normal spot. She went back to the outfield and she just relaxed I think and then we also put her at leadoff, which is also her normal spot.

“I expect a lot of the same or maybe even better. I don’t want to put those kinds of expectations on her. For me, my expectations for her are to just work hard, be a great leader for her younger teammates. She’s already doing that.”

Ebner, who moved to first base after playing second as a freshman and catcher as a sophomore, was also voted to the All-GVC First Team last season after hitting .465 with two home runs, 30 RBIs and 33 runs.

She has committed to Eastern Oregon University.

“Haley can play anywhere you put her,” Wise said. “Her softball knowledge is off the charts.”

Kinler, a Second Team outfielder, drove in 27 runs last year and scored 22.

Faith Danner, a junior who has started in the circle since she was a freshman, is back.

“I feel like she’s in a better spot this year and she’s working hard on a couple of pitches, especially her rise ball,” Wise said. “She knows she kind of struggled with it last year and left it a little too meaty. We want it to get up a little higher and she’s worked really hard on that. She has good movement anyways.”

McNary returns three sophomores, Alexa Cepeda (outfield), Haley Bingenheimer (shortstop) and Courtney Roberts (catcher), who all started last season as freshmen.

But this year’s freshmen class, which includes five players, Kate Ronning, Taylor Ebbs, Kamryn Miller, Abigail Covalt and Shaylee Custer, are more talented than any Wise has coached.

“This freshmen class is probably the most athletic class that I’ve ever had, since I’ve been a coach,” Wise said. “They’re fast. They’re smart. I think last year we had more power, maybe, and this year all these kids can hit and run. It’s exciting.”

The influx of talent has brought more competition.

“We go into every year just saying it’s a competition and you’ve got to work hard to earn your spot,” Wise said. “We just leave the door open. If a younger kid comes in and takes your spot, that’s what it is. I think it helps because the girls want to compete and they want to work hard and they want to drive each other and have success on and off the field.

“The only things we know for sure are Faith pitching and Courtney catching. Haley Ebner is probably going to be at first again and Nadia at center. But other than that, you’ve got to compete.”

The Lady Celts will find out how good they are early when the team that knocked them out in the state quarterfinals last season, Oregon City and All-State pitcher Morgan Hornback, come to McNary on March 23.

“I felt like if we would have played them 10 times, we probably would’ve beat them eight of 10 times, but it just wasn’t our day,” Wise said. “I think they’ve already circled that one on the calendar. They’re ready. They want that one back. But let’s take care of those games before that and then we can worry about them.”