By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The McNary High School varsity softball team drew two tough teams in succession last week and chalked up a pair of losses as both games unspooled in a single inning.
Tough pitching and a 10-run fourth inning on the part of the South Salem High School Saxons led to a 12-0 loss for the McNary in its league-opening contest.
“It felt like the errors were compounded in that one inning. We kept making little mental errors, but we can eliminate those,” said Lady Celt Madi Oliver.
The Lady Celt’s Hannah Carr was the only batter to get a hit off South’s Katie Donovan. The Saxons made their run in the fourth inning by stringing together hits and taking advantage of McNary’s defensive errors.
“Our defense is usually fine, but in both games last week we had one inning that messed up the whole game,” said McNary junior Megan Ulrey.
It was an uncharacteristic off-game by the Celtic line-up, but the Saxons are the only team in the Oregon School Activities Association 6A classification hanging onto an unblemished record (9-0).
“I think we got a little too into our heads at the plate,” Ulrey said. “We need to work on having a plan every time we go up to bat.”
The battle for the Central Valley Conference is likely to be a heated one this season. The CVC has three-Top 10 teams in the latest rankings: South, Sprague High School (No. 5) and McNary (No. 8).
Prior to the contest with South, McNary faced No. 3 Tualatin High School Wednesday, April 9. The Keizer team lost 8-1 after a breakout five-run second inning by Timberwolves.
The Lady Celts’ only run came on a Carr single that scored senior Dani Saunders from third base. Carr led the team at the plate going 2 for 3.
Ulrey was pulled from the circle in the second inning making way for Oliver. Oliver closed out the game with four hits and three walks.
Last week might have been a stumble, but Ulrey knew the team could bounce back.
“Once we get back to hitting everything seems to go well,” she said.