McNary pitcher David Allen gave up six runs on eight hits in the Celtics 8-2 loss to West Linn (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).
Despite ending their regular season with multiple injuries and five straight defeats, the McNary baseball team was still able to earn an OSAA playoff berth.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, they were matched up with #5 West Linn, who showed why they have been one of the best high school baseball programs in the state for the last five years.
McNary only had three players reach base for the entire contest as the Celtics saw their season come to a close with their 8-2 loss against West Linn on Monday, May 20.
David Allen, McNary’s ace, was on the hill for the Celtics in his first ever postseason outing. Allen proved over the course of the year that, no matter who they’re playing, he could keep his team in the game if he had his best stuff.
However, the Lions were able to get to the McNary right-hander in the bottom of the first.
After getting the first out, Allen issued back-to-back walks, then gave up a single to load up the bases.
Allen got up 0-2 in the count on West Linn’s Zach Bell, but he left the following pitch out over the plate, and the Lions designated hitter crushed the ball over the wall for a grand slam, putting the Celtics in an early 4-0 hole.
“It takes the wind out your sails a little bit when they hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first,” McNary head coach Larry Keeker said.
Although he bounced back to throw scoreless frames in the second and third innings, Allen gave up a two-run bomb to JJ Hoover in the bottom of the fourth, extending McNary’s deficit to 6-0. Allen finished his night after five innings, giving up six earned runs on eight hits.
On the offensive side, the Celtics were faced with the tough task of facing one of the top pitchers in the state in Jonathan Kelly — who will be pitching at Xavier University next spring.
In his five innings of work, the West Linn righty didn’t give up a hit and retired 15 of the 16 batters that he faced.
“(Kelly) was better than anyone we faced all season,” Keeker said. “Not only did he have a plus-fastball, but he threw breaking ball pitches for strikes whenever he wanted to. We were outmatched quite frankly.”
McNary was actually being no-hit for the first six innings of the contest, but senior captain Ty Covalt finally provided a bright spot for the Celtics in his final high school game.
After Riley Gates drew a leadoff walk, Covalt sent the first pitch he saw deep over the wall for a two-run homer to put the Celtics on the board — it was McNary’s only hit of the game.
It was also Covalt’s first dinger of his high school career.
“I was really happy for Ty,” Keeker said. “It was fun to see him do something positive because not much else was going right in that game.”
McNary finished the season with a record of 10-15 and was 5-7 in Mountain Valley Conference play, finishing fifth.