McNary second baseman Abbi Covalt throws out a runner at first in the Celtics 6-4 loss to Tigard (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings
The McNary softball squad had every chance to get back into the game, but at the end of the day, they couldn’t cash in on multiple opportunities.
After digging themselves into a 4-0 hole, the Celtics came back to cut the lead to one later in the game and even brought the tying run to the plate with no outs in the top of the seventh. McNary, however, couldn’t take advantage as they fell to Tigard 6-4 on Friday, March 22.
Taylor Ebbs and Kate Ronning had two hits apiece to lead the Celtics.
Tigard got their first run off McNary pitcher Faith Danner in the bottom of the first on a two-out wild pitch, but the Tigers were able to break the game open in the bottom of the second.
After starting the frame with a line-out, Tigard loaded the bases back-to-back singles and a hit-batter.
It looked like Danner might get out of the inning with no damage as she got the next batter to ground into a fielder’s choice. But Maddie Hoover’s two-run single to center field put the Tigers on top 3-0.
Danner would surrender another RBI-hit to the following batter as Tigard took a 4-0 lead into the third inning.
“(Danner’s) movement pitches just weren’t breaking. They were left out over the plate,” McNary head coach Kevin Wise said “With a good team like Tigard, you can’t do that.”
After not getting a base knock in the first two frames, the McNary offense woke up in the top of the third.
With one out in the inning, nine-batter Kamryn Miller began the McNary threat with a single to center, putting McNary back at the top of the lineup.
Alexa Cepeda followed with a double down the right field line to give the Celtics two runners in scoring position.
Ronning kept the rally going with an RBI infield single — and slid head first into the bag to beat the throw.
Ebbs nearly tied the game in the next at-bat as the sophomore launched a towering fly ball that hit off the top of the wall in right field. She had to instead settle for an RBI-double that cut the lead to 4-2.
Ronning scored on a wild pitch two batters later to get the Celtics within one.
After a rough first two frames, Danner seemed to settle in as she was able to toss three straight scoreless innings to keep the deficit at 4-3.
The Celtics had a golden opportunity to take the lead in top of the fifth as one-out singles from Ronning and Ebbs gave McNary runners on first and second with the heart of the order coming up.
Cleanup hitter Abbi Covalt squared around to fake a bunt to try to free up Ronning and Ebbs for a double steal. But Tigard anticipated the play-call and rotated their shortstop over to third to nail Ronning trying to steal third.
“Thinking back on it, I probably should have had (Covalt) bunt instead of fake bunt,” Wise said. “But we also felt like we wanted to start pushing the issue and stealing a little bit. If it worked, it would have been a huge boost for us.”
Covalt ended up walking, but Hannah Ebner grounded out to end the inning.
Tigard got a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth on consecutive RBI-doubles to go up 6-3 entering the final frame — which ended up being crucial as McNary put themselves in a position to score multiple runs in the top of the seventh.
Tigard pitcher Sophia VanderSommen gave free passes to Miller and Cepeda to start the inning, putting McNary in business. Ronning tried to get aboard via bunt to load the bases, but was thrown out at first.
An RBI-groundout by Ebbs brought in Miller in to make the score 6-4. But VanderSommen got Covalt to groundout to third to end the game.
“We left too many people on base,” Wise said. “We need to figure out how to manufacture those runs a little bit better. But I liked the resiliency that we showed.”