By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary didn’t get the softball result it wanted, falling to West Albany 7-4 on Friday, May 4.

But head coach Kevin Wise liked the Lady Celts’ improved approach at the plate.

“Last time when we played them there we didn’t hit well at all,” Wise said of the 10-0 loss at West Albany on April 13. “I think today we had a lot better approach and I think we did a good job of putting balls in play, at least a lot better than last time. I was really happy with the change.”

West Albany struck first at McNary, scoring one run in the top of the third on a double to left field after an infield error.

But the Lady Celts answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning.

After Alexa Cepeda hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Abigail Covalt from third, Haley Bingenheimer tripled down the right field line to drive in Nadia Witt and give McNary a 2-1 lead.

West Albany took the lead for good in the fourth, scoring two runs on back-to-back singles with two outs. The Bulldogs added to their lead in the fifth with four runs, including a three-run home run to center field.

Nadia Witt tripled to lead off the bottom of the seventh and scored on a ground ball by Bingenheimer to get McNary within 7-4 but the rally and the game ended with another ground out.

“Really putting up four runs on a team like that is honestly pretty good because she’s (Mahayla Gamble) a really good pitcher,” Wise said. “They’re a really good team. Losing is always hard. I just want them to build off this. We had good approaches at the plate and defense was really pretty solid. If we play like this and get a couple of more hits to drop in, I think the results will probably be different.”

Witt was 2-for-3 and scored two runs. Covalt had a double and drew two walks. Kate Ronning also doubled in the loss.

Senior Emma Kinler missed her sixth straight game with a concussion.

“Nothing against the kids that have stepped in because they’ve done an awesome job but when you have a senior compared to a freshman in games like this, there’s just experience,” Wise said. “When these kids get to be, even next year and then juniors and seniors, they’re going to be lights out.”

The Lady Celts suffered another loss on Tuesday, falling at McMinnville 14-4.

McMinnville took the lead early, scoring four runs in the first inning

McNary chipped away, getting within 4-2 after Faith Danner doubled to drive home Taylor Ebbs and Ronning in the top of the second. Ebbs then doubled to lead off the top of the fourth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Danner to right field.

But the Bulldogs added to their lead with four runs in the fourth and six in the fifth to run-rule McNary.