By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary (1-2) celebrated its first win of the season, defeating Willamette 8-5 on Friday, Match 16.

The Celtics broke the game open in the bottom of the third.

After David Allen singled and then stole second to start the inning, Ryan Thompson and Robert Benson both drew walks to load the bases with no outs.

With two strikes, Lance Becktel then drove in Allen and Thompson with a base hit to left field to give McNary a 2-0 lead.

“I was looking to stay alive in that at-bat,” Becktel said. “I was looking for anything close to RBI and I hit the ball and it lucked out for us. We’ve been waiting for this today. We really wanted it. After struggling at the plate the first two games, it felt good to finally let it all go and start hitting the ball.”

After Collin Wentworth hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Benson, Becktel scored on an infield error to stretch the lead to 4-0.

The Celtics scored two more runs in the fifth.

Allen reached on an infield single, stole second, got to third on a passed ball and then came home on a wild pitch. Thompson drew another walk and scored on a single by Benson.

“I thought we had really good base running and took advantage of some balls that were in play that they didn’t make plays on and we took some extra bases,” McNary head coach Larry Keeker said. “Scored a couple of runs on ground balls that were thrown over to first and they couldn’t complete the play and we were able to score on that. I thought our base running was pretty good.”

Willamette got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth, scoring two unearned runs on four infield errors.

“Our defense needs to get better,” Keeker said. “Our pitching staff is not built to withstand a lot of free bases so we have to play good defense for us to be successful this season. We’re going to have to get better in that area. We just can’t afford that many extra base runners.”

Devon Bedoya, who transferred to McNary from Salem Academy, started on the mound in place of Kyle McCallister, who missed the game with an illness. Bedoya went five innings, allowing two hits and three walks, to earn the win.

“It was my 6A debut,” Bedoya said. “It felt nerve-racking but I kept calm and played some catch with Ty (Covalt) and Ty did a good job back there (catcher). I just stayed focus and kept rethinking what our coaches told us over and over again and cleared my mind and just worked.”

The Celtics answered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth as Thompson had a RBI single.

Benson got the final six outs to finish off the Wolverines.

“We’re encouraged,” Keeker said. “I like the guys’ attitudes right now. We’re learning how to compete.”

McNary is playing in the Volcano Stadium tournament March 28-31.

The Celtics open with Aloha on March 28 at 6 p.m.