Erik Sorenson makes it home. (KEIZERTIMES/Dee Moore)
An early double play and later home run hit by Ethan Patterson were highlights of the June 13 game against the West Salem Titans. Patterson’s bat connected solidly with the ball sending it deep into right field shocking the Titan’s fielder and sending him scrambling.
The Celtics controlled the home field during the top of the first inning preventing the heavy hitting Titans from scoring. The team’s potential was on display but they were unable to get past the Titan’s strong offense to score any runs though the bases stayed loaded.
West Salem gained eight runs in the second inning by loading the bases and slipping past McNary’s defense taking advantage of the team’s youthful simple mistakes.
This early show of strength by West Salem dominated the game and undermined the Celtics’ confidence for the rest of the evening which ended with the Celtics losing 16-8.
“We didn’t pitch as well as we have lately. We also didn’t play defense as well as we have earlier this summer and as a result we gave West Salem a pretty big lead. I thought we battled back with the play. We had some pretty good at-bats up and down the lineup. Ethan Patterson’s home run was certainly a highlight. We turned a double play early in the game that was really, really good,” said head coach Larry Keeker.
“But, the fact of the matter is when you give up 16 runs it’s difficult to win a baseball game. We had to use a lot of young pitchers today against a pretty good team. It was a good experience for them. They are going to learn that against good hitters you’re going to have to keep the ball in a good location, you can’t throw it over the middle of the plate belt high or they are going to hit it and West Salem is good enough that they are going to make you pay for not pitching well,” Keeker said.
Hayden Kaiser put the Celtics on the board with their first run in the bottom of the second and Erik Mayer adding a second run to the Celts total for a 2-7 score. Zane Aicher brought in a third run bringing the second inning to a close with 3-7 score.
McNary took the mound at the top of the third only 3 down but West Salem continued to broaden its lead over the course of the next four innings thanks to several defensive mistakes and youthful pitchers. Though the Celtics continued to compete and slowly increase their runs on the board, the Titan’s had a choke hold on the game.
“I was proud of our guys. They competed. They got down quite a bit and they’d keep battling and everybody got a chance to get in the game tonight, so that was good. We are a pretty young team and there’s still a lot of growing. That’s the first time we’ve been beat all summer, so we’ve had a really good summer so far, it’s just that today the team we were playing was a little bit higher caliber and we are pretty young program right now. It’s going to be a learning curve for them,” Keeker said.
McNary pitcher Danny Okada.