By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– McNary’s Brookelynn Jackson put it best after her game-winning hit Tuesday afternoon. Her and her Celtic teammates wished they didn’t have to wait as long as they did to get the ball rolling offensively as Jackson sent a blooper to shallow Center Field to clinch the Celtics second win of the season and handing the Dallas Dragons just their first in five games played for the traveling squad.
But hey, it was one of those defensive battles that you’d hope for early in the season between McNary and Dallas in Keizer. A good test to rise to the occasion and challenge another going into Spring Break with the Celtics stringing back-to-back, one-out singles by Asypnn Westby and Lacey Vasas. Vasas laid down a good drag bunt, forcing an error at first that scored Westby to tie the game and sent Vasas to second. Heather Ebner advanced her to third following an intentional walk to Ali Martinez, thanks to a ground out leading into Jackson’s hit that won the game for the hometown squad.
“I mean I wished we didn’t wait until the seventh inning, but I think we knew what we had to do and it was a matter of when we would piece it together and I’m glad we figured it out,” Jackson said. “We need to learn from it and get our lead runner on, and I think that was our biggest struggle. We can do a lot more with that lead runner on, so just trying to get our lead runner on and moving them around.”
McNary struck first with a Martinez solo home run in the third inning, but that was followed by a Brook Dunkin triple in the top half of the fourth that tied it up at one. Dunkin would soon score off a pass ball to hand the Dragons the lead going into the second half of the game.
Kadence Morrison and Vasas dueled, with their defenses backing them up in the process. Morrison finished with five strikeouts to Vasas’ six as both teams will have one more game this week, McNary to Gresham and Dallas to Bend before the two go into Spring Break Tournaments next week. For the Dragons, who’ll head to Medford next week for the Medford Spring Break Invitational, confidence is there that they’ll learn from this as they prepare to wrap-up non-league play over these next few games.
“It didn’t end the way we wanted it to end, but we just need to continue to learn from this, get better from this defensively from it and not make the same mental mistakes that we were making,” Dunkin said. “We got Bend on Friday then Medford on Monday/Tuesday after and it’s big for us to use those things and mistakes that we made to do better. We just need to close the door on them, play to win and not to lose.”
Morrison and Madi Ruman each had a hit in the defeat to go with the hit that Dunkin had. Natalie Macik also contributed a hit for the Celtics, who will head to the Jesuit/Mountainside Tournament next week for Spring Break.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald