Bedoya leads Celtics to victory

McNary pitcher Devon Bedoya threw six scoreless innings to help the Celtics defeat Reynolds 5-0 on Monday night (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

With a pitching rotation that hasn’t been set yet, Devon Bedoya proved that he can be a reliable arm for the McNary baseball squad. 

In his first start of the season, the senior right-hander threw six scoreless innings for the Celtics, giving up just three hits and three walks while striking out six as McNary defeated Reynolds in their home opener 5-0 on Monday night.

“I just made sure to throw strikes and trust my defense,” Bedoya said. 

Bedoya wasn’t overpowering by any stretch, but his ability to hit his spots and be in command of both of his pitches allowed him to be successful.

“Devon obviously pitched a fantastic game for us,” McNary head coach Larry Keeker said. “He was around the plate and forced them to swing the bat.”

Without the benefit of a hit, McNary took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Jamison Martin led off the frame by reaching on a catcher’s interference. After advancing the third on a pair of groundouts, Martin scored moments later on a wild pitch to give McNary the early lead.

However, offensive production was a difficulty most of the night for this Celtic team. McNary only had four hits for the game and struggled to get base runners in the first five innings. 

“Moving forward, we’re hoping to be more competitive at the plate,” Keeker said. “It just seemed like we weren’t in a very good rhythm.”

But with Bedoya’s dominance on the mound, the Celtics didn’t need much offense.

After Bedoya retired the first eight batters he faced, Reynolds had a threat going in the top of the third with back-to-back two-out singles. But Bedoya was able to get out of the inning after McNary shortstop Jacob Jackson made a terrific bare-handed play on a slowly hit ground ball in the infield grass.

“I had my fastball going early, but I lost it a little bit. So I came back to my off-speed stuff,” Bedoya said. “I had a good day with all my pitches.”

Coming into this year, one of the goals that McNary had was to clean up their play in the field — the Celtics averaged more than three errors a game last year.

McNary appeared to be ahead of schedule in that department as they made play after play for their senior pitcher and ended the game with no defensive miscues. 

“Our defense was solid,” Keeker said. “We made the plays that we needed to make.”

“When you pitch well and play good defense, you always give yourself a chance.”

With the score still 1-0 in the top of the sixth, Bedoya walked the leadoff batter Alex Henderson, which brought up Reynolds third baseman Drexler Dickey.

Dickey laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Henderson into scoring position. Henderson then advanced to third after Spencer Verdeick grounded out for the second out of the inning.

Bedoya walked Nick Blegen in the following at-bat, but when Blegen got greedy and tried to swipe second, McNary catcher Ty Covalt gunned him down to get the Celtics out of the inning. 

Verdeick, who was the starting pitcher for Reynolds, had silenced the McNary bats for the first five innings. But in the bottom of the sixth, the Celtics finally broke the game open. 

Martin started off the frame with a sharp single — he was then subbed out for a pinch runner in Riley Gates.

After Gates advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, Verdeick tried to pick him off, but tossed the ball into the outfield, allowing Gates to score, giving McNary a 2-0 lead.

Later in the inning, a bases loaded walk from Covalt pushed the Celtics lead to 3-0.

Then, a two-out, two-run single by David Allen in the following at-bat gave McNary some insurance as they took a 5-0 advantage into the final frame. 

Bedoya gave up a double to begin the top of the seventh, so Keeker brought in Robert Benson to come in and close the game out. 

Benson got the first hitter he faced to pop-out, then struck out the next two batters to preserve the shutout.

“Robert did a great job of coming in and finishing it,” Keeker said. “He pumped the zone with strikes, and when you’re up by five, that’s exactly what you want to do.”