By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
On a quote board in McNary’s dugout were the words “Make it happen.”
Against South Salem, the Lady Celts did just that, scoring seven runs in the first inning and seven more in the second to run-rule the Saxons 14-3 in five innings on Monday, April 9.
McNary’s first five hitters reached via single in the bottom of the first.
“That first inning the girls came out on fire,” McNary head coach Kevin Wise said. “We just kept finding holes.”
Haley Ebner drove in the first run of the game, scoring Nadia Witt on a line drive single to right field.
“That’s something that we want to keep working on,” Ebner said of getting off to the fast start. “Obviously, if you score first you control the momentum of the game. We’ve been talking about it a lot and I’m glad that we lived up to it today.”
The Lady Celts had eight hits, all singles, in the bottom of the first, and finished the game with 16 hits.
Emma Kinler had McNary’s only extra base hit on a double to center field to score Alexa Cepeda and Ebner to give the Lady Celts a 14-0 lead in the bottom of the second.
“I felt like I wasn’t really hitting all that well so I just went up and there and I was like I’m just going to hit it hard, I don’t even care where it goes and it happened,” Kinler said. “I just really wanted that hit.”
Kinler was 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs and three RBIs. Witt was 4-for-4 with a run and RBI.
McNary stole five bases in the game. Kate Ronning swiped two.
“We have a lot more speed than probably what we’ve had in the past. Not that we haven’t had fast girls but now as a whole we’re a pretty quick team,” Wise said. “We’ve talked to the girls a lot about being aggressive and they’re stepping up and doing it. It puts a lot of pressure on defenses. I love it. I hope they keep doing it.”
South Salem scored all three of its runs in the top of the third, taking advantage of two infield errors.
“We had a little communication problem in the infield, just being young,” Wise said.
Faith Danner pitched all five innings for McNary, allowing just two hits.
South Salem played without Maygen McGrath, a senior who has signed with the University of Montana. McGrath sprained her ankle last week.
“She’s a phenomenal player,” Wise said. “Not to take away from the rest of their girls but that kid she’s really, really good.”
McNary defeated North Salem 20-2 on Friday, April 6.
The Lady Celts scored 13 runs in the top of the first and five in the second.
McNary had only 10 hits but drew 18 walks in five innings.
Witt was 2-for-4 with a triple, three runs and two RBIs in the rout. Ebner was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and two RBIs. Taylor Ebbs scored four runs and drove in five. Kinler and Cepeda each scored three runs.
The competition is about to get much tougher for the Lady Celts. McNary plays at West Albany on Friday, April 13 and then hosts McMinnville Tuesday, April 17. Both games begin at 5 p.m.
“I think we’re definitely hitting our stride,” Ebner said. “We still have a little bit of work to do but we are adjusting well and playing together well. I’m excited.”