By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
SALEM—Two big errors led to two big innings as McNary was swept by South Salem, falling 12-4 on Friday, May 4 and then 11-1 on Monday, May 7.
In game one, the error came in the top of the second.
After walking the bases loaded, McNary pitcher Kyle McCallister got a ground ball to short to get out of the inning unscathed but Jacob Jackson couldn’t turn the double play. Only one run scored on the error but with new life the Saxons responded with five hits, including a double and home run to take a 7-0 lead.
McNary pitchers continued to struggle finding the plate as Devon Bedoya walked four South Salem batters in the third as the Saxons scored two more runs.
The Celtics scored three runs in the fourth. Jackson singled to lead off the inning and then scored, along with Ty Covalt, on a double to center field by David Allen. Collin Wentworth then scored on a ground ball by Ryan Thompson.
McNary put one more run on the board in the fifth when Wentworth was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. The Celtics left two runners on base in both the sixth and seventh innings.
In game two, the error came in the fifth.
McNary entered the inning tied 1-1. After getting ahead of South Salem’s No. 9 hitter 0-2 but failing to put him away and allowing a two-out single, Carl Rumbaugh got a ground ball to first base to get out of the inning but Thompson couldn’t handle it, allowing two runs to score.
“We have to have kids make big plays in big moments,” McNary head coach Larry Keeker said. “And when you don’t do that, you’re giving that other team a chance and against a good team, it’s really risky at that point to actually get out of it.”
After a home run gave South Salem a 5-1 lead, the Celtics had another chance to get out of the inning but Jackson overthrew Thompson at first on a ground ball to short. The Saxons made McNary pay, scoring six more runs to end the game in five innings.
“We just opened the door and they went right through it with 10 runs,” McNary head coach Larry Keeker said. “We just never stopped the bleeding.”
The Celtics scored first on Monday as David Alfaro doubled with two outs to drive in Noah Bach and give McNary a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth.
Rumbaugh didn’t allow a hit until Aaron Zavala and Ryan Brown hit back-to-back doubles to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth.
McNary couldn’t cash in on a Jackson double in the top of the fifth as Wentworth grounded out with runners at the corners to end the inning.
“That (fifth) inning was really hard to swallow because of the way we battled for the first four and two thirds against one of the best pitchers in the league in Ryan Brown,” Keeker said.
Jackson was 2-for-5 with a double and run scored in the series. Allen was 2-for-6 with a double and two RBIs. Covalt went 2-for-5 and scored a run.
McNary closed the regular season on Wednesday and Thursday against McKay.
The playoffs are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 15.