By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It’s been so long since the last time the McKay baseball team broke into the win column in league play.
May 6, 2014 to be exact. A 3-1 victory over Sprague.
But, after a 20 game stretch of losses, roughly 700 days in total, it all came to an end with a 6-5 victory Wednesday afternoon versus West Albany.
Noah Tavera was on last year’s squad that went 0-16, and he knows that there’s excitement behind this win.
“We’ve been working hard, we’ve been grinding,” said the junior. “Getting better and better each game, every time we came out, we get better and become a complete team.
“I mean from last year to this year, we’ve just been one. We’re bonding all the time, being friends. I think this year’s group and next year’s group is going to be a very strong team.”
Similar to the night before versus West Salem, confidence was riding high for the Royal Scots with a sizable lead on their opponent.
But, like the night before, McKay gave up unnecessary runs with two outs in the Top half of the sixth inning to allow the Bulldogs to climb back into the game after holding a 6-1 lead,
Unlike the night before however, up 6-5, reliever Austin Brown and his defense took a deep breath and settled coming out of the dugout for the seventh inning.
The Scots came out ready as they were prior to the Top of the sixth inning as Brown produced strikes and set-up outs. The last went to Tavera.
Brown said it was more of a confidence between the sixth and seventh innings.
“I believed in myself more that last inning and I believed in my teammates” said Brown on the inning.
Tavera said that the adversity at the end of the game is just a matter of mentality when you face it.
“We’ve been through this before, we’ve fallen apart,” said Tavera. “We’ve came back up, it’s just a matter of your mentality. You just got to have that mental approach that you can come back and beat these guys.
“We came out and attack strong and got comfortable, but we knew we had to keep attacking and we kept it through the game.”
As the team converges just north of third base, along the third baseline following the win, McKay Head Coach Jerimy Kelley knew that this battling through of adversity is just a part of the culture change for the program.
“Last year we had a similar situation with them, we were up four in the seventh (inning),” started Kelley. “Same situation, we brought in Austin late in the game and we let it get away and we wounded up losing the game.
“I think this is a part of our process of learning how to win and changing the culture of our program. We have to experience adversity and be able to preserver through that and the boys did a great job of that today.”
PHOTO GALLERY (PICTURES BY JEREMY MCDONALD)