Hawley pitches gem, leading McNary to victory

McNary freshman Carter Hawley gave up just two hits in five innings in McNary’s 10-0 win over Dallas (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

Prior to their game against Dallas, McNary head coach Larry Keeker challenged his pitching staff to work on being more efficient and throwing a higher percentage of strikes.

Carter Hawley was the one that proved that he was up for the task.

The freshman right-hander needed just 55 pitches to get through five innings, giving up no runs and two hits while striking out five as the Celtics run-ruled Dallas by a score of 10-0 on Monday, May 3.

“Throwing 55 pitches in five innings is a really efficient game for us. Carter definitely had the best outing he has ever had. He has always been a good strike thrower and today he did a really good job of being all around the zone,” Keeker said.

Hawley said that was one of the biggest keys for him was getting ahead in the count early — he threw first-pitch strikes to 10 of the first 11 hitters he faced.

“I knew that I needed to throw more first-pitch strikes and I was able to execute that goal,” Hawley said.

Hawley showed that he was in the zone right from the first pitch, striking out the first three batters he faced. However, as the game went along, Hawley relied more on pitching to soft contact and relying on his defense rather than attempting to overpower the Dragons lineup — Dallas only got one ball into the outfield for the entire game.

“I felt like I got a lot of ground balls and we were able to field them cleanly and get outs,” Hawley said. “It is easy when I have such a good defense behind me. I have a lot of trust in those guys.”

After putting up a goose egg in the bottom of the first, McNary scored a pair of runs in the second inning. Trevor Thompson and Griffen Hubbard began the frame with sharp singles and Ben Allen knocked them both in with a two-run double down the left field line.

The Celtics extended their lead to 7-0 in the bottom of the third. Thompson began the rally with an RBI-single after Dallas gave up two free passes to begin the inning. Hayden Kaiser would later score on a wild pitch and Noah Fischer would knock in a run on a sacrifice fly to right field.

Then, with two runners in scoring position, McNary shortstop Gunner Smedema walloped a two-run double to the fence in left field to give McNary the seven-run lead.

Smedema missed the beginning of the year due to a hand injury he suffered during football season, but he showed, both offensively and defensively, that he is a crucial part of the Celtics team when healthy.

“Gunner is really getting back into the swing of things. He has more pop then you might think. He had a nice day in the field and a nice day at the plate,” Keeker said.

“It sucked being out and not being 100 percent, but it feels great to be back,” Smedema added.

After Hawley retired the side with three straight ground balls in the top of the fifth, McNary got back on the bats in the bottom half of the frame.

Logan Ready, Ben Allen and Jacob Allen all started the innings with hard-hit singles. Moments later, an RBI-bloop single from Eben Mayer made the score 8-0. Aaron Nease and Kaiser each drew bases-loaded walks to score the ninth and 10th runs, effectively ending the contest.

“I liked the fact that we didn’t swing at a lot of bad pitches today. Our offensive production up and down the lineup was pretty good,” Keeker said.

McNary returns home on Friday, May 7 to take on Crescent Valley at 5 p.m.

Matt Rawlings: [email protected]