Celt Travis Klampe winds up for a pitch in the Celts’ game with West Salem High School Tuesday, May 1. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

North Salem High School continued to be a thorn in the side of the McNary High School varsity baseball team.

The Vikings picked up their third win, 4-3, of the season over the Celtics. McNary managed to knot the game at 3-3 in the fifth inning, but North plunged ahead with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Twelve strikeouts didn’t help the Celtic effort, but McNary’s Justin Gardner doubled in the outing.

The game was another notch in what’s become an uneven season for the Celts, who hoped to get things going again on the heels of a 22-9 win over McKay High School.

“Our goal was just staying strong for the whole game and we showed we were able to do that against McKay,” said McNary senior Garren Robinett.

Robinett homered and tripled in the game with McKay leading the team in an offensive onslaught. Jon Stong, Conor Suing and Robinett shared duties on the mound allowing 13 hits between them, but the Celts put runs on the board in every inning including five in the second and fifth innings and seven in the sixth. Gardner and Sterling Becktel doubled in the game.

Prior to the game with the Royal Scots, the Celts fell to Sprague High School in a 4-2 loss.

“That was a game we should have won and we were in it,” said Robinett. “The first inning we started strong, we just couldn’t get anything going after that.”

While the team’s hopes for a Central Valley Conference title have slid out of view, it could improve their current standing in the league, fifth, by winning the rest of its games.

“We just need to focus on one game at a time instead of the big picture,” Robinett said. “We can win out the rest of the year and there’s no shame in finishing second or third.”