Lacey Vasas delivers a pitch against Sheldon in the quarterfinals of the 6A softball playoffs on Friday, May 27. at McNary (JOSHUA MANES/Keizertimes)
In the battle of the Emerald Isle namesakes, it was the McNary Celtics shutting out the Sheldon Irish in the quarterfinals of the 6A softball playoffs on Friday, May 27.
Lacey Vasas led the way from the rubber for No. 4 McNary in the 2-0 win, shutting out a powerful No. 5 Sheldon offense that had scored 16 runs in each of the first two games of the postseason.
“Lacey pitched her heart out,” Parsell said. “She came in nervous of course, but used those nerves really well.”
Vasas went the full seven innings, allowing five hits while striking out four.
But things didn’t start out so smoothly for Vasas and the Celtics.
The first two batters reached base for Sheldon. Tori Leyba singled the first pitch of the game up the middle, and then Meara Sain took a five-pitch walk.
Celtics catcher Heather Ebner called time, and went out to talk to her pitcher.
“I asked her if she was nervous, said take a deep breath and then I asked her what she was having for dinner, calm her down a little bit, get her mind off the game” Ebner said.
The talk worked. Vasas responded with a pop out, a fielder’s choice and a strikeout to end the inning.
The Celtics played a clean game defensively. Parsell called it the best they’ve backed up Vasas defensively all season. And on top of committing no errors of their own, they took advantage of Irish mistakes.
In the first inning, Ebner knocked Vasas in from second on an error by Sheldon first baseman Ella Swangard.
Ebner advanced to third on a passed ball, and then scored on a Brookelynn Jackson single to center.
Those two runs proved to be enough for the Celtics. And in such a tight game, Parsell credited the win to the energy the team brought. And credited some of that energy to getting rained on in practice the day before, forcing the team inside.
“We went in and the girls practiced all those cheers they had because they knew there are two things we can control, our focus in the game and our energy that we bring,” Parsell said. “And if you ask me, I think our energy won that game.”
The Celtics will need to find the energy again when they move on to the semifinals against No. 1 Tigard on the road Tuesday, May 31. The Celtics defeated the Tigers 2-0 back on April 1 at Tigard
Brookelynn Jackson (30) cheers after the final out of the game in the 6A quarterfinals against Sheldon on Friday, May 27, at McNary. (JOSHUA MANES/Keizertimes)