By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary hadn’t scored a run in 12 innings when Taylor Ebbs went to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the first.

Her strategy?

“Just have fun.”

“I’ve been putting myself in too much pressure lately,” Ebbs said. “I think we’ve just been trying to do too much.”

That approach paid off as Ebbs hit a high inside pitch to right field to score two runs and the Lady Celts broke out of a slump to defeat Sprague 6-2 on Friday, April 20.

“That (first) inning could have potentially been a little bigger,” said McNary head coach Kevin Wise, after the Lady Celts left the bases loaded. “I was just happy getting a couple on the board.”

The Lady Celts could’ve had a big second inning as well. But after Abbie Covalt singled and Nadia Witt doubled to lead off the inning, Sprague pitcher Shae Barna retired three batters in a row, stranding the runners at second and third.

McNary was able to add four more runs in the bottom of the fifth.

After Haley Ebner and Emma Kinler led off the inning with singles, Kate Ronning hit a line drive to right field to load the bases. Faith Danner then knocked in two runs with a ground ball to left field.

Haley Bingenheimer added a RBI single and Covalt hit a sacrifice fly to center field to stretch McNary’s lead to 6-0.

Sprague scored its only two runs in the top of the seventh.

Danner pitched all seven innings to earn the win from the circle.

The Lady Celts finished with 14 hits. Witt was 4-for-4 with a double.

“They had more fun today,” Wise said. “When we’re a little more loose, it just goes a lot better, especially with our younger girls.”

The win came after McNary was shut out 3-0 at West Salem the day before. The Lady Celts had only three hits in the loss.

“We were just getting up and trying to hit home runs,” Wise said. “The girls at West (Salem) and our girls, most of them have played together for a long time. We all get a little too amped up and trying to do too much. I think we were a little tight.”