Lady Celt Hailey Decker pops a ball to left field during McNary’s game with West Salem High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

After a week that included two losses – the team’s only two of the season – the Lady Celts of the McNary High School varsity softball program was looking for a bit of retribution this week.

McNary faltered in a 8-0 loss to South Salem High School and a 3-1 loss to West Salem High School, but rematches with both opponents were on tap.

“I think it gives us a better idea of how good they are and we sort of underestimated them,” said senior Brooke Bauer. “Coming back we’re going to bring a little more heat. We all need to just come together as a team.”

After losing to the Saxons on Monday, April 23, McNary rebounded in a major way to seal up a five-inning, 10-0 shut out over the Sprague High School Olympians.

The star of the game was sophomore Dani Saunders, but she shared the spotlight with teammate Olivia Yarbrough.

Saunders had a three-run homer in the first inning and a two-run double in the second. Yarbrough went three for three with a double,  two RBIs and two runs scored.

The next day, the Lady Celts lost, 3-1, to the Titans.

“It was a tough luck game with West Salem. We had eight hits and they had eight hits, and we had a bunch of balls that were struck really well, but hit right at people,” said Jeff Auvinen, McNary head coach.

The Lady Celts had runners in prime scoring positions in nearly every inning, but couldn’t drive them home.

“They had two people on the team who just seemed to be right in front of it every time,” Saunders said. “It hurts at the time, but we use it as a drive to be better than we were before.”

McNary bounced back again to take a 16-0 win over McKay in a game where Bauer and Hailey Decker both hit home runs.

“Brooke slapped a homer to deep left field. Hailey had a big homer and a five-RBI day. Paige Bouska scored four times, and it was good to end the week on the big win,” Auvinen said.

On Monday, April 30, the Celts met North Salem High School and walked away with a 19-0 win in five innings.

Kianna Villareal notched four hits, including a home run and a double, and four RBIs in the game that included a nine-run fourth inning. Bouska had three hits, including a double, and four RBIs for McNary. Yarbrough and Saunders also hit doubles against the Vikings.

“We hit really well and when one person started hitting we all kind of stepped it up and getting the rallies going,” Bauer said. “We also have a good sense of friendship on the field that leads to getting things done.”