McNary second baseman Abbi Covalt camps under a fly ball in the Celtics first round playoff game against North Medford (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).
All season long, the McNary softball team had prided themselves on playing sharp in the field, and being an explosive offense — averaging nearly 10 runs a game over the course of the year.
But in their second round playoff game, the Celtics were unable to rely on their strengths that had gotten them this far.
Although 10 Celtics reached base, none were able to score as McNary was shut out for the first time since the month of March. McNary also committed five errors in the contest in their 9-0 loss to #3 Sheldon on Wednesday, May 22.
“It just wasn’t our day,” McNary head coach Kevin Wise said. “We made way too many errors, and that gave (Sheldon) a chance to continue innings.”
McNary had a threat going in the top of the first when Abbi Covalt reached on an error, which was followed by a sharp single by Taylor Ebbs. But the Celtics couldn’t take advantage as Sheldon pitcher Camille Leach retired the next two hitters to get out of trouble.
McNary pitcher Faith Danner would not be as fortunate in the bottom half of the frame as the Irish got a pair of runs on four hits to take the early 2-0 lead.
Sheldon increased their lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the second thanks to an RBI-single by Jordan Henderson and a solo homer from Emma Neuman.
“When we got down 4-0, we just started pressing more than we normally do,” Wise said. “It just never felt like we were in it.”
However, it’s not like the Celtics didn’t have their chances.
McNary had a runner in scoring position in each of the first four innings, but the Celtics could never find a way to manufacture a run.
“It just seemed like every time we would get runners in scoring position, (Sheldon) would make a play on us to end the inning,” Wise said.
Even with the loss, this McNary team was able to see how special this season was. The Celtics finished the year with a 20-9 record, a Mountain Valley Conference title and a thrilling playoff victory over North Medford on Monday, May 20.
What’s even more encouraging for this program is how bright their future is. McNary will return eight of their nine starters in 2020, and six of those players received all-league honors.
“I told the girls after the game how much it sucks to lose, but that there are some big things coming for this team,” Wise said. “They have been right there with some of the best teams in the state this year. I’m so excited for what is to come.”