Josh Grossman comes into first base after a sharp single (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).
The McNary Youth Baseball 12U Junior Federal squad was in need of a confidence boost.
The team had lost three straight and didn’t score more than three runs in any of those contests.
Luckily for the Celtics, the bats came alive in this one.
Tyson Smith led the way for McNary, going 3-for-3 with four RBIs as the Celtics defeated Lebanon 13-3 in four innings on Monday, June 3.
“We have been preaching to these guys to be more aggressive and to play harder, so to getting a game where we can get the ball in play and run the bases will hopefully give these guys confidence moving forward,” Celtics head coach Kyle Hughes said.
Lebanon got a pair of runs in the top of the first off of McNary pitcher Cash Martin to take the early lead. But the Celtics would come back with a strong response in the bottom half of the frame.
After Hudson Hughes led off the inning with a free pass, Martin and Josh Grossman followed with back-to-back singles, putting the Celtics on the board.
Smith would then follow with a two-run double to the game in right center field, scoring Martin and Grossman and giving the Celtics the lead.
“I was just looking to swing the bat,” Martin said. “They were throwing strikes and if you swing the bat and make contact, you know it’s going somewhere.”
Rylan Landreville also had an RBI-hit in the frame to put McNary up 4-2.
Martin had some command issues on the mound in his first inning of work, but seemed to get into a groove in the top of the second when he retired the side in order.
“Cash is our number one guys and he’s not scared of anything,” Kyle Hughes said. “He just gets up there and he’s ready to go.”
Lebanon responded with a run in the top of the third, but the Warriors committed a costly error in the bottom half, allowing two McNary runners to score, putting the Celtics on top 6-3.
After Lebanon loaded up the bases with two outs in the top of the fourth, Coach Hughes brought in Smith to get the final out of the inning.
Despite falling behind 3-1 in the count, Smith got the Lebanon hitter to ground into a fielder’s choice to get out of the stressful situation.
“I didn’t want to give them a free run. You just got to believe in your arm,” Smith said.
Then, it the bottom of the fourth, McNary broke the game wide open.
A pair of singles by Landreville and Nathan Holland got the threat started for McNary. After back-to-back walks, Hudson Hughes reached on an error and Martin lined an RBI-single into center field to put the Celtics up 9-3.
Two batters later, a two-run single from Smith extended McNary’s lead to 11-3.
Jayden China brought in McNary’s 12th run of the game and Smith would end the game via run-rule moments later after scoring on a wild pitch.
The Celtics will host Lebanon once again on Monday, June 10 at 6 p.m. at Keizer Little League (Field #7).