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Celtics lose play-in game, ending season

Of the Keizertimes

Errors plagued McNary’s baseball team all season.

On Tuesday, May 15, errors ended it, as the Celtics committed nine errors in a 15-11 loss to Centennial in a state playoff play-in game.

After a clean first inning, a single, infield error and hit batter loaded the bases with zero outs for the Eagles. Carl Rumbaugh then walked in the first run of the game.

But McNary had chances to get out of the inning without giving up more runs. Rumbaugh got a ground ball to first base but Ryan Thompson’s throw home hit the Centennial runner in the helmet.

Rumbaugh then got a fly ball to left field but Robert Benson couldn’t catch it in foul territory, extending the inning.

The Eagles took advantage, scoring seven runs to put McNary in an early hole.

“We haven’t been a great fielding team all year so it kind of showed up again tonight,” McNary head coach Larry Keeker said. “We’ve made some improvements in fielding but tonight obviously our defense was subpar. When you’re giving up that seven spot in the second, it’s an uphill battle from there.”

But the Celtics fought back, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second. After Noah Bach walked and Dave Alfaro singled, Benson tripled to get McNary on the board. Thompson, who reached on a fielder’s choice, then scored on a Centennial error.

The Celtics added two more runs in the bottom of the third to get within 7-5.

But the wheels continued to fall off in the top of the fourth.

With runners at second and third after a base hit and another error, Rumbaugh struck out back-to-back hitters. But Centennial answered with a RBI single and double to stretch its lead to 9-5.

Pitching in relief, Kyle McCallister got a fly ball to the mound but misplayed it, allowing two more runs to score.

The Eagles continued to give McNary chances, committing seven errors of their own.

“We had a ton of opportunities,” Keeker said. “Really quite frankly it wasn’t a very good baseball game. It just really wasn’t. Neither team played well defensively. Offensively, I guess you’ve got to give our guys some credit because I thought we had some really good swings. We had some balls that were hit hard right at people. The bottom line is we also left some guys on base.”

After Jacob Jackson reached on an error to lead off the bottom of the fourth, Lance Becktel drove him home with a triple. Ty Covalt then delivered a sacrifice fly to get the Celtics within 11-7.

But McNary had three more errors in the top of the fifth, including failing to turn a double play and catching a ball at home plate, that accounted for two more runs.

Alfaro and Collin Wentworth delivered RBI hits in the bottom of the sixth as the Celtics scored three runs to get within 13-11.

But Centennial scored two more runs in the top of the seventh on another error and Covalt grounded into a double play in the bottom of the inning, ending McNary’s season.

“The good news is the kids kept battling and we gave it a shot,” Keeker said. “We just couldn’t stop them. They scored 15 runs. It’s hard to win when you give the opponent 15 runs.”

Alfaro was 3-for-4 with a RBI.

Covalt and Wentworth were both 2-for-4 with a RBI. Benson was 1-for-3 with three RBIs.

McNary finished the season 12-15.

“I’m proud of the seniors. We’ll miss those guys,” Keeker said. “Now we’ll take a couple weeks off and on to summer ball and start to get ready for next year.”