Heather Ebner watches her fifth inning home run sail into left-center field in the 3-2 win against South Salem on May 11 at McNary. (JOSHUA MANES/Keizertimes)

A fifth inning home run from Heather Ebner lifted McNary softball over South Salem High School in a home win on Wednesday. 

The two-run shot gave McNary the 3-2 lead that held up for the Celtics over the final two innings. 

Ebner’s big swing came on a 1-2 pitch with Brookelynn Jackson on second. Off the bat it looked like a sharp line drive heading towards the left-center gap. But the ball kept carrying, and cleared the wall. 

“I thought that it would have at least hit the bottom of the fence, I thought it was too low,” Ebner said.

The high emotion of the fifth inning home run was a stark contrast to that of the fourth inning. South Salem took a 2-1 lead with the help of three McNary errors, and then in the bottom half of the inning, McNary loaded the bases with no outs and came away empty.

Head coach Kelly Parsell was impressed with Ebner’s swing and ability to shorten up her approach.

“The ball flight of that was incredible,” Parsell said. “A perfectly hit ball, line drive over the fence, opposite direction.” 

Ebner knocked in all three runs for McNary, going 2-for-3 on the day. 

In the first inning, she brought home Lacey Vasas with a double to center field. 

Vasas, the starting pitcher, was unaccustomed to batting in the lead-off spot, but doubled on a 1-2 pitch with a line drive into left field.

“I got everyone excited on that hit,” Vasas said. “It’s better scoring before them because it gives you more confidence.”

The win moves McNary to 8-0 in league play and are now ranked No. 2 in the 6A classification by OSAA. They are tied in the win column with Bend High School (8-1), with the two schools slated to meet for a doubleheader in Bend on Saturday. 

Before that, McNary heads to Sprague High School on Friday for a game, weather permitting. The Celtics have six games still scheduled, with May 19 the last day for any potential rescheduled games to be completed.