By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– Central’s bats came to life late in their game with McNary Tuesday afternoon on the road with seven of their eight runs coming over the span of the fifth (two runs), sixth (two runs) and seventh (three runs) to put the Lady Celtics in a tough spot entering the bottom of the seventh inning down 8-4.
“Before the inning in our little huddle, ‘We said now-or-never. Do-or-Die’ so we just wanted to make our adjustments because we struggled doing that throughout the game,” said McNary’s Haley Ebner. “But we forced ourselves into making our adjustments and it’s now-or-never.”
As the Panthers did the top half of the inning before, the Celtics began to get runners on base and got runners on base with Taylor Ebbs on second and Alexa Cepeda on third when they started to bring in runs.
Error brings in one, a Kate Ronning single that was followed up with a Emma Kinler two-run single to cut it to a 8-7 game with one out and Ebner coming to the plate with runners on first and second that advanced to second and third off an error.
Ebner takes ball one before ripping a shot to left field that brought home Ronning to tie the game and Kinler got the sign to take home, scoring the game-winning run before the ball got to home-plate.
For the senior, seeing everyone in front of her making their adjustments to swing the momentum back their way was a good confidence booster as her RBI hit capped a five-run comeback inning for the 9-8 victory entering playoffs.
“Well, I definitely struggled to make my adjustment, but I saw when everyone made their adjustments it was time for me. I knew when it came off the bat that I was going to get home so it was exciting,” said Ebner of the hit. “It was super exciting and that everyone had good energy which kind of helped feed into our at-bats.
“(Central) definitely exposed some weak spots in our defense that we need to work on throughout the week and keep the momentum up and energy up during the week for the Franklin game and hopefully have the same result.”
As McNary prepares now for Franklin Monday to open the 6A Playoffs, Central closes the regular season before entering the 5A postseason against the number 1 6A team in the State in Tualatin
“We just need to push through mentally with our fielding, we need to clean up errors. I mean they had a good hitting game in the seventh inning,” said Sydney Nash, who went 4-for-4 with 3RBIs for Central. “We’re going to see tough teams and a lot tougher than them, we just got to keep pushing through it.”
Peyton Shimanek went 1-for-4 with 2RBIs in the loss.
McNary’s Faith Danner had five strikeouts as Ebbs went 3-for-4, Cepeda went 2-for-3 and Nadia Witt went 2-for-3 with a Home Run and 2RBIs.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald