Celtic softball’s West Salem walk-off win

Teammates mob Kayelee Schwab after her game-winning walk-off double in the eighth inning against West Salem on Tuesday, April 26, at McNary High School. (Joshua Manes/Keizertimes)

Kayelee Schwab’s eighth inning walk-off double that brought home Ali Martinez sealed the day for McNary softball Tuesday against West Salem High School.

Schwab was 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs in the 4-3 win for McNary (10-3, 2-0), including the game winner in extra innings with one out and a runner on third.

“I honestly was like ‘I need to get a friggin hit,’ and then I did,” Schwab said. “And honestly I knew if I didn’t someone behind me would have.”

Schwab only needed a ball in the air deep enough for Martinez to tag. She sent a 2-0 pitch over the West Salem center fielder’s head and off the wall, leaving no doubt that Martinez would score.

The hit was the culmination of a quintessential small-ball inning. A lead-off single from Martinez. Karah Miller sacrificed her over to second with the bunt. On the first pitch to Schwab, Martinez stole third, her second steal of the game. The next pitch, Schwab sent everyone home.

It was a perfect sequence in an otherwise sloppy game for the Celtics. Base running mistakes and infield miscues slightly marred the victory for head coach Kelly Parsell.

“We didn’t look our best,” Parsell said. “We’re a lot better in every aspect, from energy to effort to just simple softball skills. We’re better than that, but they did pull through a big win and anytime you win like that it’s something to be celebrated.”

Things looked like they could get out of hand early on for McNary. In the top of the first, West Salem scored two, and were still threatening with runners on the corners and only one out. But starting pitcher Lacey Vasas responded, retiring the next two batters.

The Celtics were outhit 12-9 in the game, and Schwab was the only batter with multiple hits for them. But they found a way to grind out a victory and remain undefeated early in league play.

Parsell wasn’t ready to celebrate yet though, pointing out that some of the team didn’t seem to have their “A game” today.

“But that’s no excuse, especially for a lot of those things,” Parsell said. “It’s a mental thing. We’re going to continue to work on making sure our effort is always 100% there. Whether or not our hard skills are there we’re going to make sure we’re bringing everything we’ve got.”

Vasas may be one of those players that might admit to not being on her A game. Even though she went 8 innings, struck out 6 and only allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, Vasas called the game one of her worst she’s pitched in her entire life. She did allow 12 hits to the Titans.

“I felt angry mostly,” Vasas said. “It wasn’t even just pitching. I had so many errors that were just so easy to get. I just wasn’t in it today. But I felt better having the team behind me.”

Vasas threw 122 pitches, with a 62% strike rate. Parsell said she thought she was having issues with the strike zone all day.

“I think she powered through it and that last inning there was a strike that wasn’t called her way and I was hoping she would stay tough and push through and she did,” Parsell said. “She’s a really tough player and this is a testament to it.”

McNary has two doubleheaders to close out the week. McCay High School comes to town on Wednesday (results not available at time of print), and Summit High School makes the trip on Saturday.