By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The last time North Salem defeated McNary was on April 28, 2015, a year before players like starting pitcher Will Tsukamaki and starting shortstop Cameron Kallhoff were even in High School (they were eighth-graders the last time the Vikings defeated the Celtics).
Early on in the game, both Tsukamaki and McNary’s David Allen were dealing as both team’s couldn’t land a run until Tyler Covalt’s RBI single that brought Collin Wentworth home for the brief 1-0 lead entering the bottom of the fourth inning.
During the bottom half of the inning, Kallhoff belted his second-ever home run off the netting of the batting cages in left field to tie the game up at one apiece as Jake Mason handed North Salem their first lead of the game off a RBI double to make the game 2-1 entering the fifth inning.
“We have some people who haven’t had a lot of Varsity experienced and it’s good for us returners to be a little bit of mentors to them because it’s a lot of pressure to some people and it’s hard to perform when your under pressure,” said Kallhoff as his squad faced the challenge in front of them competing with McNary. “I thought we did a good job of staying together as a team and letting everyone know that they’re doing a good job.”
Allen settled back in on the bump as did his defense around, and outside of a crazy play involving a error in the infield that resulted in a run during a bases loaded situation, McNary kept the Viks off the board for the remainder of the game outside of that one crooked number in the fourth inning; but their bats couldn’t crack Tsukamaki and his defense to do any further damage on the scoreboard.
“It’s tough but I mean they wanted it more than us. I thought we were prepared coming in but it’s a baseball game, anything can happen,” said Covalt on the frustrations of the game. “But yeah, we’ll come back out tomorrow hot. It’s yesterday, can’t control that.”
With that mindset of not dwelling on the past, the Celts will turn around and host the Vikings Wednesday in Keizer for Game two of the series at 5pm.
“We just have to forget about this. Just play fresh, play crisp, trust our mechanics, simple as that,” said Covalt. “So this never happened, it’s one in the books and can’t re-do it so come out hot.”
For North Salem, outside of Reyes Luna who was a freshman on that team that last defeated McNary, the win is great and all but it’s a great confidence booster for the squad as they look to sweep the Celtics Wednesday on the road.
“It was nice, my freshman year our team was pretty good and we just didn’t find a way to beat them and it’s good to finally see a ‘W’ on the scoreboard against McNary,” starts Kallhoff. “I think we can do a lot of things differently, I think we panicked a little bit when people get on base and I think we need to do better job just relaxing and going with the flow.
“I thought it was good, like I said a couple of people panicked when they see people on second and third and I thought Will did a good job just trying to get balls in the strikezone and try to get some outs. I thought it was good because experience is the best teacher and we’re always going to try to get people exposed to certain things because the more your exposed to something, the more comfort your going to feel in that situation.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald