Celt Tim Hays launches a pitch during McNary’s game with Canby High School Monday, April 2. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School freshman baseball team started the season with eight pitchers, four catchers and two second basemen, but the limited specialties haven’t kept them from winning.

“We’ve had them play positions they’ve never played before and they’ve done a good job of adapting to the positions I’ve put them in,” said Louis Tiller, head coach of the team. “I’m proud of this team and they’re a really good group.”

The Celts’ most recent win came on Monday, April 2, in a homestand against Canby High School. McNary won 14-3.

“We had strong pitching and good patience at the plate with a lot of walks that helped out,” Tiller said.

Jordan Emmerich went 2 for 2 on the day with four RBIs and three runs scored. Cole Thomas made the most of his only hit, which brought in two runs. He was walked on his other two at bats.

Tim Hays led the team on the mound with two strong innings. Robbie Johnson followed him and Nick La Fountaine and Mickey Walker finished off the Cougars.

Despite starting the season with a throng of specialty players, the team is adjusting well to new roles, Tiller said.

“We have some trouble on first-and-third situations right now, but we’re working on routine plays and making sure we’re fundamentally sound,” he said.

He credited lead-off hitter Jacob Vasas and clean-up man Hays with keeping the Celtics rounding the bases.

“Mickey Walker has been performing well at pitching and at short stop, and Ben Cummings working hard at becoming a strong outfielder,” Tiller said.

The entire pitching staff has kept games close leading to a 4-1 record.

“I’m really pleased with the unselfishness of the kids and their willingness to play in different positions,” Tiller said.