By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
It was a game Jesuit High School players and coaches likely expected to win, but the McNary High School varsity baseball team had other plans.
On Monday, May 26, the Celtics, ranked 28th in the state, toppled the seventh-ranked Crusaders 7-2. A two-hit performance by the Central Valley Conference’s newly-named Pitcher of the Year Mickey Walker bought the Celts enough time to stage a seventh-inning come-from-behind win. It was the team’s first win on the road since April 3.
“We just got it going in our favor. We took advantage of that, but even before we had some good at bats against a tough pitcher,” said Larry Keeker, McNary head coach.
Walker struck out 10 batters, threw 15 first-pitch strikes and had no errors in the complete game effort. Jesuit put two runs on the board with walks in the bottom of the first inning, but Walker silenced Jesuit sticks all but once the rest of the game.
“I knew that I needed to calm down and trust myself. I was a little nervous for the game and I was trying to overthrow a little bit,” Walker said.
Keeker said it was an admirable showing for the junior.
“He was under duress early and you could see by his body language that he was frustrated, but he got himself out of the inning and he was able to settle in,” Keeker said.
McNary was still down 2-0 in the top of the seventh inning when the team strung together the offense it had been sorely missing in contests away from Vic Backlund Field.
Connor Goff started things off by reaching base on an error in the first at-bat of the inning. He was replaced on the base by Ben Cummings as a courtesy runner.
“I had been struggling and I wanted to put the ball in play. I did it and started running,” Goff said.
Connor Suing drew a walk advancing Cummings to second and both runners moved over a base on a passed ball.
A single by Tim Hays scored Cummings, and Brent Vasas came in to run for Hays. Senior Travis Klampe grounded out, but moved Vasas to second. Then Matt Aguilar plated the tying run on a squeeze bunt single. A double by Jacob Wood scored Suing and Aguilar to put the Keizer team up 4-2. After a Walker single, Wood scored on an error by Jesuit’s catcher and McNary had a 5-2 lead.
Hayden Gosling doubled to drive in Walker from third and Goff capped off the run he started with a double that plated Gosling. Goff was caught out trying to turn the hit into a triple.
Jesuit got one man on base in the bottom of the frame on a walk, but left him there on a fly out that ended the game.
Jordan Barchus went 2 for 4 on the day. Wood and Gosling made the most of their one hit each with doubles.
With the win, the Celtics advanced to the second round of the playoff tournament with a game against Lake Oswego High School Wednesday, May 28, past press time.
“We need the energy we brought in that seventh inning (Monday), and the attitude we had going into that game,” said Goff.
With another win, the Celtics would face a third-round opponent Friday, May 30.
“We’ve had some success with (Lake Oswego) in the past, but there is a lot of new blood on both teams. We’re more worried about ourselves. We’re not going to change what we do,” said Keeker.
Varsity baseball falls to Lake Oswego
The McNary High School varsity baseball team had the early lead in its second-round playoff game, but it couldn’t hold on for the win.
The Celts faced Lake Oswego High School on the road Wednesday, May 28, and lost 4-2. The loss closes the shutters on another season for the team.
McNary’s Tim Hays came through in a big way for the team in the top of the fourth inning. Hays smashed a line drive to centerfield scoring Hayden Gosling and Connor Goff, but the Lakers answered with one of their own in the bottom of the frame.
Lake Oswego put its final runs on the board in the fifth inning.
The Celts outhit the Lakers 5-3, but the Lakers’ arrived at the right time. Goff went 1 for 3 with a run scored. Hays went 1 for 3 with two RBIs.
Travis Klampe pitched four innings with three hits and two runs allowed. Jordan Barchus closed out the game.