By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– The Sprague Softball team gave the Central Valley Conference Champions in McNary all they could handle in the Celtics 9-5 victory on their Senior Night Wednesday night. At one point of this one leading McNary 5-4 going into the bottom of the sixth inning thanks in part to strong play across the board for the Olys.
Playing as one, points Stella Puckett, was the key factor as McNary built themselves a 4-2 lead. Piecing together just enough to get around the stingy Olympian defense across the way from them, this game was eerily similar to the two squads first match-up on April 22 at Sprague where Sprague pushed the Celtics to the brink in McNary’s 12-9 win that day. And it was the fifth inning in which Sprague made their move, making the Celts make a move of their own to beat them.
Calling their bluff perhaps as the Olys hopes to have catch McNary in a celebratory lull after clinching the title the night before against South as in straight succession, a Alexis Congdon bases loaded walk, a Olivia Borzy RBI Fielder’s Choice and a Kaylee Lundenn double, had turned a two-run deficit into a one-run lead for the away team going into the fifth inning.
“We just started to play better as a team. Communication and everything was just clicking for us until the sixth inning…but I’m really proud of how we played. That’s all we can do,” Puckett said. “We were trying to stay ahead. We were fired up and tried to use it for the next inning.”
Sprague held strong in the fifth defensively. Seemingly the turning point in this one was that sixth inning.
It was Senior Night afterall for the five seniors on McNary. They weren’t about to see it be spoiled in this way. And after a strong defensive sixth inning, the Dam broke for the Celts. It was the bottom of the sixth inning where two quick home runs, Ali Martinez’ second home run of the day as a solo blast to tie it and a Karah Miller two-run shot two batters later had swung momentum back into McNary’s favor thanks to their two underclassmen not wanting to let their seniors down now leading 7-5. Aspynn Westby and Natalie Macik each drove in a run to push the lead to 9-5 before the inning ended and their defense closed out the win coming down the stretch of the regular season.
“It was just really the energy in the dugout. I feel like it died out in the middle of the game and it was really a big win to bring it backup and keeping our energy high throughout the game,” McNary’s Samathna Carpenter said. “After yesterday winning league champs, it was great to see how we can keep our energy high and string hits together to pull the win through.”
The Celtics close out the season at West Salem and Jesuit before hosting Westview to close out the regular season May 16 The Olympians host North Salem before closing out the season May 16 at South Salem.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald