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The Braves overcome wet and slippery conditions in defeat of Cheesemakers at Banks High.

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Banks' Hayden Vandehey tags out Tillamook's Tyson Wilkes during the Braves' game versus the Cheesemakers April 5 at Banks High School.Rain or shine, the Braves come to play.

Despite a heavy drizzle for the bulk of game, the Banks Braves baseball team made relatively quick work of the Tillamook Cheesemakers, defeating the visitors from the coast 11-1 in the second of a home-and-home April 5 at Banks High School.

On a day more fit for fall football or soccer, the Braves battled wet and slippery conditions to plod their way to a second consecutive win over Tillamook, scoring 23 runs to the Cheesemakers' one over the two games played over a three day span.

"We needed to get this game in and everything sort of worked out," said Banks head coach Joe Baumgartner. "Thank goodness for our tarp."

The Braves' Tyler Lilly kept Tillamook in check, allowing just one run over 4.1 innings of work, finishing with five strikeouts while walking just two in the less-than-ideal conditions to be on the bump.

"Considering the situation I think Lilly did a good job," said Baumgartner. "It was a struggle, there's no footing and the ball was slippery, so he did a good job."

The 6-foot-3 junior got in spot of trouble in the first, but was able to escape with an inning-ending double play, and for the most part cruised through the middle innings before a throwing error led to his departure in the fifth.

"Obviously we turned that inning ending double play in the first and that was really big," Baumgartner said. "Then he got in a rhythm, struggled a little bit later and he'll be kicking himself about that throw to second, but Thomas came in and threw really good."

The "Thomas" Baumgartner referred to was Thomas Cook, who in addition to closing the game on the mound, threw a Cheesemaker out at second from his spot in left field and later homered down the left field line on a day far from conducive to long balls.

"Thomas had a great day. That throw he made was great, and that was an impressive homer…but I thought it was going to be foul by a mile," the coach said with a smile.

Cook finished the game 2-for-2 with two RBIs, while junior shortstop Hayden Vandehey contributed a single and a double with three RBIs, including the game-ender with the bases loaded in the fifth.

Banks scored three runs in the first, one in the second, three more in the third, then two apiece in the fourth and fifth to end the game by 10-run rule. In all, Baumgartner was happy with the effort and believes his team is growing with every game.

"We came out and were a little flat, but we had a really good week and the kids are starting to come together," said Baumgartner. "We're doing a good job in all phases of the game. Pitching has been strong, defense has been good, and we've had timely hitting. That's the nature of the beast and how you win games."

Now, after three consecutive games and four in six days, the Braves await a two game set with Scappoose, starting with a home game Monday, April 9, followed by an April 12 game at Scappoose. The Indians currently have a 7-5 record, but despite their mediocre performance to this point, Coach Baumgartner expects two tough games against what he sees as a very formidable opponent.

"We've played three games in three nights and that's a tough deal for high school kids," Baumgartner said. "Now we have a gigantic series next week with Scappoose and they do a good job over there, but I feel good about where we are and how far we've come."


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