By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It’s East meets West. A Civil War amongst brothers. A battle between two schools separated between a few turns and three miles along a stretch of Market and Lancaster.
One end, you have the youth in revolt in the Royal Scots of McKay. On the other end, the seniority and hunger of the Vikings of North Salem High School to prove themselves as much as their brethren Scots.
To call Monday’s Greater Valley Conference game a battle would be an understatement between these two teams. It was borderline madness as one play, one run decided the faith of both teams.
It was North Salem 5, McKay 4 when Ethan Yarnell of the Viks made the final out in Left field.
“It was intense, they’re a good ball club,” said Vikings Starting Pitcher Cameron Jolly on the game. “They can swing it very well. I like them, they’re a good team. It’ll be interesting next time.”
For the Scots, they know they’ll get North again the next time they play to end the season.
“It was an intense game. We played hard,” said McKay’s Noah Tavera. “It’s just the little mistakes on the bases that killed us, but we got to keep our head focus and we could have them. So we’ll just come around next time, we know what to expect.”
The Scots held the Vikings to without a run to start the game as they posted two themselves. One off a wild pitch and another from a Alan Cornejo RBI double for a 2-0 lead entering the second inning.
Noah Boatwright got the North Salem bats going in the second however as his Vikings took a 3-2 lead entering the bottom half of the frame before McKay tied it back up entering the third at three-apiece.
Emotions hit an all-time high in the third inning however, as both dugouts were given warnings for excessive noise while play was going on.
After settling back in and focusing on themselves, the game slowly turned into a defensive showcase despite both sides have bases loaded situations heading into the fifth inning.
McKay’s Center Fielder, Ryan Bangs was a fixture for the Scots defense Monday, spoke to the fact how he liked how his defense stepped up to the figurative plate against their rival.
“It felt pretty nice the way we played on defense today,” he said. “The last couple of games, we haven’t played a complete game on defense so it just felt nice to come out and put a full game together pretty much on defense.”
The lone blip on the maps of both defenses that resulted in a score came in the top half of the fifth inning when North’s Sean Alvarado scored off a McKay miscue on defense following taking third on a Scot error for the final lead change of the game.
McKay had their chances though in the bottom of the fifth, sixth and seventh but couldn’t capitalize as Jolly got out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth thanks to a double play down to the third base line.
For Jolly, he was glad his team was focused the whole time.
“It was an intense game, it feels really good to come out and come back,” Jolly said. “I was glad that our team was in it for the whole time, sometimes we fall off. Coming back and staying really strong until the very end was great, we needed this win.”
The game, one of four for both teams this week, marked the end of the first half of GVC-play, and though McKay sits at 4-12 and 1-7 in play, Tavera is confident that the record doesn’t reflect his team.
“I think we could do better, I think we can compete with every team,” Tavera said. “I know our record don’t say it, but I believe that we’re probably better than three-fourths of the league but we just got to put our minds to it.”
For Lee’s Vikings squad, 7-10 and 3-5 in league play isn’t what they expected either, but knows they can easily flip that 3-5 into 5-3 or better in the second half of league.
“We felt like we’ve got beat three times,” said Lee. “Then we lost two, one-run games and those kind of hurt us because if we were 5-3 instead of 3-5, we’ll be sitting right there in second or third place.
“We’re ready to go, we’re ready to come back and get after it and see if we can flip our record and go 5-3 or better in the second half. That’s our focus, play consistent baseball.”
McKay will be at home versus West Salem Tuesday, a team in which they had a 4-1 lead on before losing 5-4 late to start league play. For North, it’s on the road to McNary Tuesday. The Celtics defeated the Viks 11-2 in their first meeting this season.
PHOTO GALLERY (PICTURES BY JEREMY MCDONALD)